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Cambodia to Seek Patent Membership

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Cambodia is planning to be a member of the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) to protect the intellectual property rights of foreign products coming into the Kingdom. This, a high ranking government official said, will shore up investor confidence and attract more foreign investment to the Kingdom.

The Patent Cooperation Treaty is a treaty of more than 140 countries and allows for the filing of a single international application, which can then be converted into national applications in each PCT member country. This prevents the counterfeiting of foreign products in the country and also protects Cambodian products from being copied overseas, said a senior government official at a Patent Cooperation Treaty seminar yesterday.

Minister of Industry and Handicraft Cham Prasidh said Cambodia will send a proposal to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) seeking membership of the PCT, soon after the Kingdom ratifies its domestic patent laws to protect the intellectual property of foreign investors.

 “Investors who are coming to Cambodia to establish industries often come with very innovate equipment. They often produce original products that are different from others and they need to be protected from counterfeiters. Because of this they often request patent protection from us,” said Mr. Prasidh.

 The seminar is the last time for officials and relevant parties to learn about the PCT before the ministry submits a proposal to the government to facilitate Cambodia’s application to WIPO to be a treaty member, said Mr. Prasidh.

“As a PCT member, Cambodia can help facilitate the applications of foreign investors who wish to be protected in the country without the need for them to travel to Cambodia directly to file their documents,” he added.

“The membership will benefit Cambodia because at present trade authorities cannot process patent applications from potential investors and there is no way to check whether there are patent infringements [in other countries] from foreign investments. Being a PCT member will enable Cambodia to seek the assistance from the other 148 members to ascertain whether a patent application filed in the Kingdom can be accepted or not,” said Minister Prasidh.

Cambodia has a patent law dating back to 2003 but due to budgetary constraints, it has not been able to develop it further, revealed Mr. Prasidh. “Because of this, we have asked for support from Singapore and Japan to help us develop our intellectual property protection law.”

“We cannot wait anymore, so we need to learn from all. Both government officials, relevant ministries and the private sector already know why the PCT is important to Cambodia,” stressed Mr. Prasidh. “Next week we will submit proposal to the Cabinet Council to agree for the application to be filed seeking PCT membership.” 

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