Patents of Invention and Utility Models

– Law on Patents, Utility Model Certificates and Industrial Designs dated January 22, 2003.
– Prakas on the Procedure for the Grant of Patent and Utility Model Certificates dated June 29, 2006.
– Law on Amendment on the Articles 37, 38, 109 and 136 of the Law on Patents, Utility Model Certificates and Industrial Designs dated November 22, 2017.
– Prakas on Public Service Fee of Ministry of Industry, Science, Technology and Innovation dated July 9, 2020.

Membership in International Conventions

– Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), since July 25, 1995.
– Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, Stockholm Act, since September 22, 1998.
– WTO’s TRIPS Agreement, since October 13, 2004.
– Bilateral Trade and IPRs Protection Agreement (BTA) with the U.S.A., 1996.
– Memorandum of Understanding on IP Cooperation with Thailand, March 5, 1997.
– ASEAN Framework Agreement on Intellectual Property Cooperation, April 30, 1999.
– Memorandum of Understanding on the Cooperation in Industrial Property between the Ministry of Industry and Handicraft (MIH) and the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS), dated January 20, 2015.
– Joint Statement of Intent on Cooperation for facilitating Patent grant of Cambodia-related patent applications between the Ministry of Industry and Handicraft (MIH) and the Japan Patent Office, May 4, 2016.
– Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), since December 8, 2016.
– MOU on bilateral cooperation on intellectual property between the Ministry of Industry and Handicraft (MIH) and the State Intellectual Property Office of the People's Republic of China (SIPO) (now "China Intellectual Property Organization or CNIPA"), September 21, 2017.
– Validation of European Patent dated March 1, 2018.

Filing

Applicant: the right to a patent belongs to the inventor(s) or the employer if the invention is made in execution of an employment contract (if not otherwise agreed). This right may be assigned, transferred by succession. 

Appointment of an agent: the applicant must be represented by a patent attorney registered before the Office.

Patentability criteria: novelty (worldwide), inventive step, industrially applicable.

Subjects excluded from patent protection: (a) discoveries, scientific theories and mathematical methods; (b) schemes, rules or methods for doing business, performing purely mental acts or playing games; (c) methods for treatment of the human or animal body by surgery or therapy, diagnostic methods practiced on the human or animal body (this provision shall not apply to products for use in any of those methods); (d) pharmaceutical products until 2033; (e) plants and animals other than microorganisms, and essentially biological processes for the production of plants or animals; (f) plants varieties.

Priority: applied to applicant(s) from member countries of the PCT, the Paris Union and WTO and as provided in the Paris Convention.

Filing requirements for an application (to be sent to local agent):
1. 2 application forms;
2. Power of attorney (notarized);
3. Description, claims, drawings, abstract;
4. Deed of assignment, agreement of right to file application (notarized);
5. Priority documents (with certification).

Note: the Khmer translation of the application filed and the supporting documents shall be submitted within six months from the filing date of the patent application.

Electronic signatures: are not accepted (only wet signatures).

PCT applications: Cambodia is now a contracting party of the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) and accepts PCT applications and applies PCT Regulations. Time limit for entering the national phase: under both chapters I and II: 30 months. Conversion: an  international  application  for  a  patent  may  be  converted  into  a utility  model and  vice-versa,  after  the  applicant  has  complied  with  the  requirements  for  entry into the national phase.  Conversion may be requested at any time up to the grant or refusal of the patent or utility model.

To accelerate the grant of patent protection, to date, Cambodia signed bilateral agreements with other countries such as:

Singapore – Memorandum of Understanding on the Cooperation in Industrial Property between the MIH and IPOS dated January 2015, whereby both parties have agreed to cooperate and assist each other in technical issues. Under this agreement, the Cambodian Registrar recognizes and grants patent protection to the same application, which has been granted protection in Singapore.

Japan – Joint Statement of Intent on Cooperation for Facilitating Patent Grant between Japan and Cambodia dated May 4, 2016. This Joint Statement allows Cambodia to recognize the search report of the Japan Patent Office and grant the protection of the same application without other examination on the patentability of the same application.

European patent – Agreement on Validation of European Patent dated January 23, 2017. It is possible to request validation of European patents and patent applications filed on or after March 1, 2018 in Cambodia (including PCT applications containing a designation for a European patent) conferring essentially the same protection as patents granted by the EPO. European patent validation requirements: (a) the validation fee must be paid to the EPO within six months from the date on which the European Patent Bulletin mentions the publication of the European search report. The subject deadline can be extended for two more months against payment of a surcharge; (b) a Khmer translation of the specification must also be filed.

China – Memorandum of Understanding on Intellectual Property Cooperation between the State Intellectual Property Office of the People's Republic of China (now "China Intellectual Property Organization or CNIPA") and MIH dated September 21, 2017. This MOU allows the same application granted for protection in China to validate its protection in Cambodia. The same application granted for protection based on this MOU has the same filing and the valid period of the patent application in both Cambodia and China.

Korea – Memorandum of Understanding on the Patent Cooperation between Cambodia and Korea dated November 18, 2019, allows applicants to request the acceleration of patent applications filed in Cambodia, if there is a corresponding patent granted by the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO). The applicant needs to meet all requirements set out in the Prakas No. 228 to be eligible under this MOU.

United States of America - Memorandum of Understanding on the Patent Cooperation between Cambodia and the United States to recognize the search report of the United States Intellectual Property Office (USPTO). This MOU is to accelerate the patent application in Cambodia. The MOU was signed in October 2020 but the Ministry in charge is preparing the Prakas to implement the agreement.

Examination

The filed application will be subject to a formal and substantive examination. For the substantive examination, the Registrar may request the applicant to furnish the following documents in respect of the international/foreign application for the same invention: (1) a certified priority document; (2) International Patent Classification (IPC); (3) a copy of any search or examination report; (4) a copy of final decision granting or refusing to grant. The official time frame to examine and grant the patent is six months. 

Opposition – invalidation: it is impossible to file any opposition during the examination process; however, it is possible to file a request for invalidation of a granted patent. The law does not provide any official time frame for filing invalidation.

Protection

Duration: if granted, the patent shall expire after twenty years from the filing date of the subject application.

Maintenance – annuities: to maintain the patent or patent application, an annual fee shall be paid in advance to the Registrar for each year, starting one year after the filing date of the application. A grace period of six months shall be allowed for late payment of the annual fee on payment of the prescribed surcharge. The patent application shall be deemed to have been withdrawn or the patent shall lapse if the annual fee is not paid in the prescribed deadline.

Modification and Protection after Grant

Scope of exclusive exploitation: in case of a patented product: (a) making, importing, offering for sale, selling and using the products; (b) stocking such product for the purposes of offering for sale, selling or using. In case of a patented process: (a) using the process; (b) doing any acts as referred to a patented product in respect of a product obtained directly by means of process.

License and compulsory license: without the agreement of the patent owner, the Minister in charge will designate a government agency or a third party to exploit the invention if (a) the public interest (national security, nutrition, health or the development of other vital sectors of the national economy) so requires; or (b) a judicial body has determined that the manner of exploitation of the patent owner or his licensee is anti-competitive. This exploitation is subject to an adequate remuneration.

Non-voluntary license: on a request submitted after the expiration of a period of four years from the date of filing of the patent application or three years from the date of grant of the patent, whichever period expires last, the Minister may issue a non-voluntary license if the patented invention is not exploited or is insufficiently exploited in the Kingdom of Cambodia.

Recordal of change: any change (name/address of the owner, assignment, license, etc.) shall be recorded with the Registrar, otherwise the change will have no effect against third parties.