The Commerce Ministry has received more than 5,000 applications from companies to register their trademark in the first three months of this year – the same as for all of last year – a senior ministry official said yesterday.
“Intellectual property rights (IPR) in Cambodia have improved a lot,” Ouk Prachea, the secretary of state for the ministry, told Khmer Times yesterday. “We are working hard to promote IPR to the public as well as businessmen.
“We have worked a lot on fake trademarks and we are continuing to work on it. And we ask them [business owners] to respect the IPR law.
“If they take other brand names from someone, they will face jail or they could be fined.”
Mr. Prachea said business owners could register manually or automatically. But it could take up to six months. The ministry is trying to speed up that process to make sure businesses are protected from fakes and fraud.
“It provides a lot of benefits to Cambodian people,” he said. “We provide a service to protect business under the law. Whoever registers a trademark, they are recognized by the law, which will protect them in case they have any issues.
“But if they don’t register, the ministry has no records and we can’t protect them.”
Mr. Hun Lak, vice president of the Cambodian Rice Federation (CRF), told Khmer Times last week the federation is speeding up the registration of trademarks for Cambodian rice with the ministry, mainly fragrant rices such as Romduol, Malis and Somaly.
Malis, or jasmine, will be the first and should be registered by May. It is a strategy to bolster rice exports, which the government and industry want to reach 1 million tons this year, Mr. Hun Lak said.
The prime minister set the target in 2010, which was to be achieved last year. But the industry, crippled by infrastructure problems and a poor cash flow, barely achieved half that.
Intellectual property protection helps prevent competitors copying or imitating a company’s products or services and avoiding investment in research, development and marketing to break into a new market, the ministry said.
Cambodia became the 95th member of the Madrid System overseen by the World Intellectual Property Organization, which gives local companies protection in 110 countries.
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