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Online trademarks go live

Sok Chan / Khmer Times Share:
Local businesses have been urged to register their trademarks to protect their brands. KT/Chor Sokunthea

The Ministry of Commerce is urging local and foreign businesses to register their trademarks in Cambodia via a new online system.
 
Commerce Minister Pan Sorasak said the system will serve both the public and private sector and make it easier for organisations to protect their intellectual property.
 
“We call on all local and foreign businesses to register their trademarks online to protect their brands and prevent possible conflicts,” Mr Sorasak said.
 
The minister said the new e-filing system will manage all services related to trademarking and save businesses time and money, as well as helping eliminate corruption.
 
Cambodia is the fifth country in Asean to launch online trademark registration after Singapore, Malaysia, Philippine, and Indonesia.
 
Since 1991, Cambodia has manually registered about 70,000 trademarks. Most of those trademarks are in the field of food, beverages and the restaurant business, Mr Sorasak said.
 
Yo Takagi, assistant director-general of global infrastructure at the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), said online filing systems make it easier for individuals and small and medium sized enterprises to register trademarks without physically going to the Commerce Ministry.
 
WIPO experts helped develop the e-filing system, assisting Cambodian officials with developing the customised software for more than 20 months.
 
“E-filing is the first step in opening up a much more modern trademark registration system and helping reduce the bureaucratic burden on businesses in Cambodia,” Mr Takagi said.
 
“Automated trademark registration will help people in Cambodia establish brands that can be protected in the global market, because this system is linked to an international system, which covers more than 110 countries.”
 
Op Rady, director of intellectual property at the Commerce Ministry, assured businesses they can still opt to use manual registration if they aren’t ready to switch over to the e-filing system.
 
“We will keep manual registration until Cambodian people are fully aware of the online system,” Mr Rady said. “Branding is vital for marketing businesses.”
 
Tep Sokunvannary, a foreign lawyer at Rouse Legal, said the e-filing system will save her time in carrying out trademarking on behalf of clients.  
 
“We would also like officials to accept scanned documents as part of applications, rather than having to send them to the ministry,” she added.
 
Mr Takagi said WIPO will provide technical support to the government while people get used to the new system.
 
Intellectual property is protected by the law on trademarks and competition, which was adopted in 2002. The recognition of trademarks in the country has been steadily increasing since Cambodia became a full member of the World Trade Organisation in 2004.

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