10 Frequently Asked Questions About Trademark Registration in Cambodia

Given the increasing prominence and attractiveness of the Southeast Asian market, you have the plan to venture into one of the Southeast Asia countries, Cambodia. It is strongly recommended to register your trademark in Cambodia before you enter into the Cambodian market. Trademarks play an essential part to the identity of your goods and services as they help in delivering brand recognition and distinguish your company from the competitors.

Here are the 10 frequently asked questions that will help you to understand better on trademark registration in Cambodia.

1. What is registrable as a trademark in Cambodia?

In Cambodia, only visible trademarks which are capable of distinguishing the goods (trademark) or services (service mark) of an enterprise may be registered. This includes any distinctive devices, brands, labels, signatures, words, names, numerals, letters, holograms, three-dimensional signs and packaging.

Non-conventional trademarks, also known as non-traditional trademarks, which are non-visible such as sound, scent, taste, and textures are not capable of being registered in Cambodia. 

2. What is the rule for trademark in Cambodia?

The trademarks have to be registered with the Ministry of Commerce’s Department of Intellectual Property (DIP). Cambodia adopts the first-to-file system which grants the exclusive right and protection to the registrant who applies first. There is no requirement for the mark to be used or the intention to use it at the time of the application.
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3. Must I register my trademark in Cambodia when I have already registered it in another country?

The general rule for a trademark is that it has to be registered in the countries that you wish to be legally protected in. As IP protection is territorial in nature, it is limited to the territory in which it was obtained. For instance, if you have registered your trademark in one country, your trademark is only protected in that particular country, you cannot enforce your IP rights in another country where it is not registered. Thus, if you wish to protect your trademark in Cambodia, you have to register it in Cambodia.

4. What are the benefits to register my trademark in Cambodia?

The Cambodian Trade Mark Law provides trademark owners the right to prevent others from using identical or confusingly similar marks for their own goods and services. Once you have registered your trademark, you will have the exclusive rights and sole ownership over it as it becomes your asset. You may then license, franchise or even sell your trademark. If your IP right is infringed, you may take legal action against the unauthorized person who uses your trademark.

5. Do I have to translate my documents to file in Cambodia?

The applications and supporting documents may be submitted in either Khmer (the official language in Cambodia) or English. If the documents are not in the languages mentioned, a Khmer or English translation must be provided.

6. What are the information and documents that are required to file a trademark application in Cambodia?

The following information and/or documents have to be submitted:

  • Application form
  • 15 specimens of the trademark
  • Full name, nationality and registered address of the applicant
  • International classification together with specification of goods and/or services
  • A certified transliteration and translation (if documents are not in Khmer or English)
  • A notarised Power of Attorney (if filed by an agent)
  • Official fees to be paid upon filing
7. How long does it take for the process of trademark registration in Cambodia?

It will take approximately 9 to 12 months to process the application and if there are no oppositions or rejections from the trademark examiner or third party, a trademark registration certificate will be issued. In real practice, the estimated time wholly depends on the workload of the trademark office.

8. How long does a trademark registration last in Cambodia?

A trademark in Cambodia will be valid for a term of 10 years from the date of filing once it is registered.

9. Do I have to renew my trademark protection?

You must renew your trademark registration if you do not want to lose your rights. The registered mark is renewable for consecutive periods of 10 years indefinitely.  The application for renewal may be made within 6 months preceding the expiry of registration. In case you fail to submit the renewal application within that 6 months preceding the expiration, a 6 months grace period is allocated after the expiry date for the renewal.

It is compulsory to submit an Affidavit of Use or Non-Use after 5 years from the date of registration and during each renewal. An Affidavit of Use is submitted in cases where the trademark has been used in Cambodia whereas an Affidavit of Non-Use is submitted if the trademark has not been used in Cambodia but you intend to use it in the future. Failure to submit the affidavit will lead to automatic cancellation of your trademark registration.

10. Do I have to engage an agent to register my trademark?

For domestic applicants, you have a choice to apply for registration on your own or engage an agent to register on your behalf. The rule is different for foreign applicants. Foreign applicants must be represented by an IP agent residing and practicing in Cambodia.

A power of attorney (POA) is required and must be notarized by a notary public or certified by a lawyer if an agent is engaged to register the trademark on your behalf.

Get expert help and advices now!

The 10 questions that we have addressed above should have given you a clearer picture on the trademark registration in Cambodia. You are advised to seek assistance from a reputable IP firm like Pintas to help you through your trademark registration in Cambodia.