After overcome crisis, the economy of Cambodia has significantly developed since 1999. Nowadays, Cambodia has officially become the 148th member of Word Trade Organization (WTO).
Not only stabilizing economic, the Cambodia Government but also constantly strengthens International relationships and law system, especially in Intellectual Property sector. Cambodia has become a member of World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in July 1995 as well as Paris Convention for protection of industrial property in September 1998.
On December 31, 2002, Law on Patents, Utility Model Certificates and Industrial Designs in Cambodia has official validity, which helped contributing a legal ground to enforce IP rights, approaching investment and technology activities and integrating world economy. According to this law, Protection of patent objects “may be, or may relate to, a product or a process” . At the same time, this law also excludes some objects which are not protected as patent, such as: Discoveries, scientific theories; Schemes, rules or methods for doing business, performing purely mental acts or playing games; Methods for treatment of the human or animal body by surgery or therapy…, especially Pharmaceutical products. These are the exceptions of TRIPS agreement which Cambodia is allowed to apply till 2021 in the situation that Cambodia people hardly afford Pharmaceutical products.
Due to many barriers, not until 2015 that Cambodia could grant the first Patent in Cambodia, which marks a new development of this country’s IP system.
In the early of 21 century, Cambodia Industrial activity has traditionally centered on the processing of agricultural and forestry products and on the small-scale manufacture of consumer goods. Rice milling has been the main food-processing industry. However, the new technology is limited and they themselves are now producing by low technology.
Deriving from the above-mentioned economic development, the number of Patent Applications filed in Cambodia is shortage. According to a statistics, from 2010 to nowadays have not yet Patent is filed by Cambodian Inventor that most of applicants are foreigners.
Below is a chart shows the number of Patent in Cambodia filing of applications in the last 5 years:
The chart shows the number of Patent & utility model filing of applications from 2010-2014.
However, Cambodia still has advantages such as: having a great potential of resources, humans resources and especially their position, which have been predicted to be developed in near future, which led to Cambodia encourages foreign investment and offers incentives to investors. The main investing countries are Malaysia and Taiwan. They are mostly aimed at the textile industry, services (banks, tourism, and telecommunications) and the mining and agricultural sector.
Since that, Rate of GDP in Cambodia grew 7.20 percent in 2013 from the previous year. GDP Annual Growth Rate in Cambodia averaged 7.70 Percent from 1994 until 2013, reaching all time high of 13.40 Percent in 2005 and a record low of 0.10 Percent in 2009. So, recently, Cambodia is prioritizing to develop in technology, mechanization of agriculture and forestry which requires for Patent protection.
Nowadays, The Department of Industrial Property performs the evaluation of the patent application. However, the few personnel number: 6 Patent Examiners.
Besides, they also have not been faced up to the conflicts and comparison of patent rights like: China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong…. while Cambodia has a few of patent applications and disputes.
Under Law on Patents, Utility Model Certificates and Industrial Designs in Cambodia, time of patent examination are 32 months from the filing date. However, is not implemented in current. In 2007, the first patent application is filed in 2007. And the first patent was granted in Cambodia on March 4, 2015. Not only, this is considered as a big milestone for Cambodia IP system development in general and Patent system in specific, but also a good sign for enterprises or groups to invest more in Cambodia.
It is a long road but in the view of the down development of European, the issuance of the first Patent in Cambodia is a good sign in the situation that South East Asia countries is rising in the world economy.
Ageless IP Attorneys & Consultants
 Article 3, Law on Patents, Utility Model Certificates and Industrial Designs in Cambodia