The European Chamber of Commerce in Cambodia in partnership with the ASEAN IPR Helpdesk and the European Chamber of Commerce in Indonesia organized a Thematic Meeting on the Importance of Protecting Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) in the ASEAN region, as well as the introduction of the ASEAN IPR SME Helpdesk, last February 13, 2014.
In support of ASEAN small and medium enterprises (SMEs), this European Commission funded project provides free information and services for businesses to protect and enforce their intellectual rights property right (IPR) in the ASEAN region. This is practical, first-line, confidential advice to help make prudent business decisions in the ten countries which form the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), specifically: Brunei-Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.
The helpdesk also arranges training on ASEAN IPR protection and enforcement, tailored to the needs of SMEs. They provide business-focused guides and training materials on ASEAN IPR issues, as well as case studies, E-learning modules, event information, and webinars.
IP assets do not only limit itself to copyrights, patents, and trademarks, according to IP Adviser from EuroCham Indonesia, Mr. Jakub Ramocki, this also involves utility models, industrial design, and trade secrets.
The Cambodian Copyright Law grants the exclusive legal right to authors and other right holders to exploit their “works, production of cultural products, performances, phonograms, and transmissions of broadcasting organizations”. Although copyright in Cambodia arises automatically, it is recommended that businesses register the copyright with the Cambodian Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts.
Both nationals and foreigners may file a patent, utility model certificate or industrial design certificate application at the Department of Industrial property of Ministry of Industry, Mines, and Energy for approximately $160 (USD), and annual fee there after. These are the exclusive rights granted to inventors or their assignees to exploit an invention for a period of time, the invention which is new and industrially applicable and may be, or may result to, a product or process, and the composition of lines, colors, three-dimensional shapes, or material, provided that the compositions is new, respectively. However, an agent residing and practicing in Cambodia must represent foreigners.
The Cambodian Trade Mark Law provides trademark owners the right to prevent other from using identical or confusingly similar marks for their own goods and services. The filing fee for trademark registrations in Cambodia is approximately $130 (USD) per 10-year term.
“One thing that you should remember is that, IPs, trademarks, copyrights, belong to you. If your interest is jeopardized, you should always take an active approach and bring the issue to the authorities.” Mr. Sovath PHIN, a helpdesk expert and a qualified Trademark Agent in Cambodia shares with us.
There are three main avenues of enforcement that a business can consider when their IP assets are being infringed in Cambodia: civil litigation, criminal prosecution, and customs seizures. In many cases, however, private mediation via legal professionals is more effective and should be considered a viable option.
“Enforce your rights. Use different methods to cope with infringement, but no matter what strategy you take, be prepared and think before hand.” Mr. PHIN continues.