For very many years now, interested parties have been filing patent applications in Cambodia, but none of these patent applications have ever gone to grant until recently, when a first Cambodian patent was granted on the basis of the grant of a Singapore patent.  

This promising development is one of the outcomes of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) and the Ministry of Industry and Handicraft (MIH) of Cambodia that was endorsed earlier this year. Consequent to the signing of the MoU between IPOS and MIH, it is now possible for proprietors of Singapore patents also to obtain patent protection in Cambodia by means of a Singapore patent via a process that is somewhat similar to that found in some re-registration systems.  

Whilst the exact procedure for doing so is still in the process of being formalised and a formal announcement is expected in the near future, the speed with which the first Cambodian patent was granted — the first Cambodian patent was granted in less than two months after the MoU between IPOS and MIH was signed — is a testament to the political will to ensure the success of this scheme and bodes well for current and future users of the scheme.  

Uncertainties aside, for now at least the scheme appears to be a viable option for proprietors of Singapore patents with an interest in Cambodia but who either: (i) did not file a patent application in Cambodia at the outset for various reasons; or (ii) filed a patent application in Cambodia via the conventional route, but whose patent application is still in the queue for processing, subject to the yet to be decided time bar for doing so. For these, the current scheme affords a rare chance of a second bite of the cherry and is thus one that warrants consideration.