This month, Cambodia became the fourth ASEAN country – after Vietnam, Singapore and the Philippines – to formally implement the Madrid System for the international registration of trade marks.
The Swiss-administered Madrid System allows trade mark owners to file for comprehensive trade mark protection in all of the System’s member countries concurrently, is gaining popularity across South-East Asia, with Thailand and Indonesia preparing to introduce it next.
What will change in Cambodia?
While Cambodia will not amend its former Law Concerning Marks, Trade Names, and Acts of Unfair Competition, it has assured that if any aspects of this law conflict with regulations stipulated by the Madrid Protocol the latter will take precedence over Cambodia’s preexisting laws.
In addition, the Department of Intellectual Property Rights in Cambodia (DIPR) has created a website outlining and clarifying IP rights in order to promote public awareness of the new laws and regulations. The DIPR website also explains how to file for both national and international registration of trade marks on online, and provides a mechanism for conducting national and international trade mark searches. Finally, DIPR plans to provide public training on how the system works, along with training for intellectual property agents.
Why is the new system better?
The new system now provides brand owners operating in Cambodia with a means to protect their products by filing a single application in one language that covers over 111 countries and territories, including the European Union, most developed countries and a large number of emerging and transition economies. This application can be filed at a national or regional office of any country that is governed by the Madrid System.
The process of registering a trade mark is also quicker than the DIPR’s former system, and mitigates the need to file an application in every country where trade mark protection is sought. Furthermore, it is expected that the new Madrid System will make it easier for Cambodian, and EU businesses to manage their trade marks. This is because changes, updates and trade mark renewals can be made using a centralised electronic system – a feature that will reduce administrative costs and simplify what was once a fairly clunky process.
Cambodia’s accession to the Madrid System provides exciting business prospects for Cambodian brand owners and those considering exporting their brands to Cambodia. With access to faster and cheaper international brand protection, it is hoped that Cambodia will experience a growth in confidence among brand owners – both domestic and international – which promises to spark greater innovation and stimulate economic growth.