FAQs for patent in Cambodia

Definition of Invention under Patent Law of Cambodia

According to Article 3 of the Patent Law of Cambodia, an invention is defined as an idea of an inventor which permits in practice the solution to a specific problem in the field of technology. An invention may be, or may relate to, a product or a process.


Definition of Utility Model under Patent Law of Cambodia

According to Article 69 of the Patent Law of Cambodia, utility model means any invention which is new and industrially applicable and may be, or may relate to, a product or process.


Which kinds of protection can be sought for an invention under Patent Law of Cambodia?

According to Article 5 of the Patent Law of Cambodia, an invention shall be granted a patent if such invention meets the criteria of novelty, inventive step and industrial applicability. An invention shall be granted a utility model certificate if such invention meets the criteria of novelty and industrial applicability.


Where to file a patent application in Cambodia?

Patent applications should be filed at the Department of Industrial Property of the Ministry of Industry and Handicraft.


Can foreign patent applicant directly file a patent application before the Department of Industrial Property of Cambodia?

No, he cannot. According to Article 116 of Cambodia Patent Law, where an applicant’s ordinary residence or principal place of business is outside the Kingdom of Cambodia, he shall be represented by an agent residing and practicing in the Kingdom of Cambodia and fulfilled the prescribed requirements.
A Cambodian patent agent must be appointed by the applicant, through a Power of Attorney (POA), to act on the applicant’s behalf in filing and prosecuting his inventions in Cambodia. The POA must be notarized, and can be submitted on filing or within a period of 02 months from the filing date.


Which classification systems are applied for Cambodia Patent?

The International Patent Classification, as adopted under the Strasbourg Agreement of March 24, 1971, and updated in its subsequent editions shall be applied.


Are there any subject matters being excluded from the patent protection in Cambodia?

Yes, there are. Under Article 4 of the Patent Law of Cambodia, the following subject matters shall not be the subjecs of patent:
– discoveries, scientific theories and mathematical methods;
– 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, as well as diagnostic methods practiced on the human or animal body; thisprovision shall not apply to products for use in any of those methods;
– pharmaceutical products;
– plants and animals other than micro-organisms, and essentially biological processes for the production of plants or animals;
– plants varieties.


What are the protection criteria for an invention to obtain a Cambodia patent?

To be patentable, an invention must meet the criteria of worldwide novelty, inventive step, and industrial applicability. In particular, such criteria are defined as follows:

Novelty
According to Article 6 of the Patent Law of Cambodia, an invention is new if it is not anticipated by prior art. Prior art shall consist of everything disclosed to the public, anywhere in the world, by publication in tangible form or by oral disclosure, by use or in any other way, prior to the filing or, where appropriate, the priority date, of the application claiming the invention.
An invention shall not be considered to lack novelty if: (i) the public disclosure occurred within twelve (12) months preceding the filing date or, where applicable, the priority date of the application; and (ii) the public disclosure was by reason or in consequence of acts committed by the applicant or his predecessor in title or of an abuse committed by a third party with regard to the applicant or his predecessor in title..

Inventive Step
According to Article 7 of the Patent Law of Cambodia, an invention shall be deemed to meet inventive step if, having regard to the prior art relevant to the application claiming the invention, it would not have been obvious to a person having ordinary skill in the art.

Industrial Applicability
According to Article 8 of the Patent Law of Cambodia, an invention shall be deemed to meet industrial applicability if it can be made or used in any kind of industry.


To whom do the patent rights belong under the Patent Law of Cambodia?

According to Article 10 of the Patent Law of Cambodia, the patent rights shall belong to the inventor. However, if the invention is made in execution of an employment contract, according to Article 14 of the Patent Law, the patent rights shall belong, in the absence of contractual provisions to the contrary, to the
Employer.


Can an inventor be anonymous in his Cambodia patent?

Yes, he can. According to Article 15 of the Patent Law, the inventor shall not be named in the patent if in a special written declaration signed by him and addressed to the Registrar he indicates that he wishes not to be named.


Can a computer software be patentable under the Patent Law of Cambodia?

Yes, it can. According to Rule 44 of the Prakas (Declaration) on the procedure for the grant of Patents and Utility Model Certificates of Cambodia, a computer software can be patentable if it is:
– process inventions, which in whole or in part, consist of steps that are performed by computer and are directed by a computer; or
– product inventions consisting of elements of a computer-implemented invention, including in particular:
+ machine-readable computer program codes stored on a tangible medium such as a floppy disk, computer hard drive or computer memory; and
+ a general purpose computer whose novelty over the prior art arises primarily due to its combination with a specific computer program.

Applicants who have filed patent applications for computer programs and computer-related inventions shall be considered as having waived from their right of seeking copyright protection, if available.


What is the time limit for entering a PCT application into the national phase in Cambodia?

Cambodia follows the the time limit of 30 months from the earliest priority date for entry into the national phase for international applications filed on or after December 08, 2016.


What is the deadline to submit Khmer translation of patent specification?

Khmer translation of a patent specification must be submitted within 06 months from the filing date.


How to execute the power of attorney (POA) from an applicant to a Cambodia patent agent?

The POA needs to be signed and notarized.


What is the deadline to submit an original Power of Attorney for a Cambodia patent application?

A copy of the POA is acceptable at filing date but the original must be submitted within 02 months from the filing date.


What is the deadline to submit the certified copy of priority application and the Khmer translation thereof?

If the application claims a prior filing date under the Paris Convention, a certified copy of the priority application is required and it must be submitted within 03 months from the date of request made by the Registrar. Where a certified copy of the priority documents is in a language other than Khmer language, it must be translated into Khmer language and be submitted to the Registrar within 06 months from the request date.


How to amend a Cambodia patent application?

According to Article 24 of the Patent Law of Cambodia, the applicant may, up to the time when the application is in order for grant, amend the application, provided that the amendment shall not go beyond the disclosure in the initial application.


How to file a divisional patent application under the Patent Law of Cambodia?

According to Article 25 of the Patent Law of Cambodia, the applicant may, up to the time when the application is in order for grant, divide the application into two or more applications (“divisional applications”), provided that each divisional application shall not go beyond the disclosure in the initial application. Each divisional application shall be entitled to the filing date and, where applicable, the priority date of the initial application.


What is the deadline to file a response to an Official Action issued by the Department of Industrial Property of Cambodia?

The applicant shall be given 02 months from the date of Notification on Result of Examination as to Form, and 05 months from the date of Notification on Result of Examination as to Substance to submit his response.


Can a patent application be converted into an application for Utility Model Certificate, and vice versa, under the Patent Law of Cambodia?

Yes, it can. According to Article 75 of the Patent Law of Cambodia, at any time before the grant or refusal of a patent, an applicant for a patent may, upon payment of the prescribed fee, convert his application into an application for a utility model certificate, which shall be accorded the filing date of the initial application. Similarly, at any time before the grant or refusal of utility model certificate, an applicant for a utility model certificate may, upon payment of the prescribed fee, convert his application into a patent application, which shall be accorded the filing date of the initial application.
The conversion cannot be done more than once.


Is it possible to receive the refund for application fee in case of withdrawing a Cambodia patent application?

No, it is impossible. According to Rule 22.2 of the Prakas (Declaration) on the procedure for the grant of Patents and Utility Model Certificates of Cambodia, the application fee shall not be refunded if the patent application is withdrawn.


How long is it for the validity term of a patent and a utility model certificate in Cambodia?

According to Article 45 of the Patent Law of Cambodia, the validity term for a patent is 20 years, counted from the filing date. Meanwhile, according to Article 73 of the Patent Law of Cambodia, such a term for a utility model certificate is 07 years counted from the filing date.


How to proceed with paying the annual fees in Cambodia?

According to Article 46 of the Patent Law of Cambodia, in order to maintain the patent or patent application, an annual fee shall be paid in advance to the Registrar for each year, starting one (1) year after the filing date of the application for grant of the patent. A period of grace of six (6) months shall be allowed for the late payment of the annual fee on payment of the prescribed surcharge. If an annual fee is not paid, the patent application shall be deemed to have been withdrawn or the patent shall lapse.


How to invalidate a Cambodia patent?

According to Article 65 of the Patent Law of Cambodia, any interested person may request the competent Court to invalidate a patent.
According to Article 66 of the Patent Law, the invalidation ground can be anyone of the following:
– the subject matter of patent is improper,
– the patent does not meet criteria of novelty, inventive step, or industrial applicability;
– the patent’s exploitation is contrary to public order, morality, or prohibited by law;
– insufficient description, improper claims or insufficient drawings;
– the owner of the patent is not the inventor or his successor in title.


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