Recent Developments in Cambodia for Intellectual Property
There have been two recent developments in Cambodia in the intellectual property field. On 25 November 2016, the Government of the Kingdom of Cambodia deposited its instrument of Accession to the Geneva (1999) Act of the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs. The 1999 Act entered into force in Cambodia on 25 February 2017, and users of the Hague System will now be able to designate Cambodia in an international design application.
In addition, on 23 January 2017, Cambodia became the first country in Asia to sign a validation agreement with the European Patent Organisation (EPO). The agreement will come into effect once it has been adopted into Cambodian law, tentatively on 1 July 2017. Applicants for a European patent will now be able to submit a request for validation in Cambodia, where they will have the same effect as a national application and be subject to national law.
CAMBODIA NOW PART OF THE HAGUE SYSTEM
The Government of the Kingdom of Cambodia deposited its instrument of Accession to the Geneva (1999) Act of the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs on 25 November 2016. The 1999 Act entered into force in Cambodia on 25 February 2017. Similar to the Madrid system for trade marks, the Hague Agreement provides for multiple registrations obtained with one single international application filed with the International Bureau of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO).
Other countries which have joined the Hague System in South East Asia include Brunei and Singapore. Cambodia’s move may encourage other countries in South East Asia to take the step to joining the Hague System, as such a move is likely to help boost the economy in the respective country and the region generally as businesses will benefit from an easier and more cost effective method to obtain design protection.
CAMBODIA RECOGNISES EUROPEAN PATENTS
On 23 January 2017, it was a historical moment for Cambodia, as Cambodia became the first country in Asia to sign a validation agreement with the European Patent Organisation (EPO). The agreement will come into effect once it has been adopted into Cambodian law, tentatively on 1 July 2017. The EPO has 38 European countries (“member states”) to date. The EPO was set up to provide the member states with a single procedure for the grant of patents. Since 2010, the EPO has signed agreements with non-member states (“validation states”), namely Morocco, Republic of Moldova, Tunisia and now, Cambodia. These agreements are known as “validation agreements”. Validation agreements have only been entered into force in Morocco and the Republic of Moldova. Essentially, once an applicant for a European patent submits a request for extension and pays the extension fees for each of the validation states chosen, the European patent application can be extended to the validation states. In the validation states, the patent will have the same effect as national applications and will be subject to national law.
Such a bold move by the Cambodian government will allow businesses applying for a European patent to benefit from a simpler and more economical way of obtaining patent protection in Cambodia