An agreement allowing European patents to be validated for Cambodia entered into force on 1 March 2018. Thus, certain patents granted by the European Patent Office (EPO) may soon be enforceable in Cambodia.
Validation procedure – pre-grant
Validation for Cambodia is deemed to be requested for any European patent application (including any international patent application which subsequently enters the European regional phase) that is filed on or after 1 March 2018. This request for validation is deemed withdrawn if the requisite validation fee (currently EUR 180) is not paid in due time.
Validation for Cambodia is not available for European patent applications that were filed before 1 March 2018, or for European patents resulting from such applications.
The validation fee is due within the same period set for paying designation and extension fees in respect of European patent applications. In other words, the validation fee can be paid within six months of the date on which the European Patent Bulletin mentions the publication of the European search report, or, where applicable, within the period for performing the acts required for an international application’s entry into the European regional phase. After this period, the validation fee can still be validly paid within a two-month grace period, provided that a surcharge is also paid within the two-month grace period.
Validation procedure – post-grant
Within three months of the publication of the mention of the grant of the application by the EPO, a request for validation in Cambodia must be submitted by a licensed Cambodian agent to the Cambodian Ministry of Industry and Handicraft (MIH). A publication fee (USD 30) and standard certificate issuance fee (USD 150) must also be paid to the MIH. Upon successful validation, the MIH will issue a patent certificate.
A European patent granted by the EPO and validated for Cambodia will have the same legal effects in Cambodia as a corresponding Cambodian patent.
Exception for pharmaceutical products
Notably, it is not currently possible to obtain Cambodian patent protection under this validation system for inventions relating to pharmaceutical products. This is because Cambodia currently holds a World Trade Organisation waiver allowing Least Developed Countries to avoid granting and enforcing Intellectual Property rights on pharmaceutical products.
Significance of this agreement
Benoît Battistelli, the President of the EPO, explained the significance of this agreement:
“The entry into force of the validation agreement with Cambodia extends the attractiveness of the European patent system beyond Europe. It represents a reduction of both processing times and costs for applicants and a reduction of the administrative burden for the Cambodian patent office. The accompanying technical co-operation between the EPO and the Ministry of industry and handicraft will contribute to the development of the Cambodian national patent system. The validation of European patents is also an important element of foreign investment strategies in Cambodia.”
Since 2010, the European Patent Organisation has signed validation agreements with four non-member states: Morocco, the Republic of Moldova, Tunisia, and Cambodia. All of these agreements are currently in force. Cambodia is therefore the first Asian country to recognise European patents in its territory. Such recognition is further proof of the global relevance of European patents. A single European patent application could now provide protection in up to 44 countries and a market of more than 650 million inhabitants.
This article is for general information only. Its content is not a statement of the law on any subject and does not constitute advice. Please contact Reddie & Grose LLP for advice before taking any action in reliance on it.