Under Cambodia’s new Patent Recognition Program (PRP), the Ministry of Industry and Handicraft (MIH) will recognize the examination results of a corresponding patent granted by the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO), and grant the patent accordingly. This program was established by the Prakas on Accelerated Patent Decisions under the Patent Recognition Program related to Patent Applications with the Korean Intellectual Property Office, which became effective on November 1, 2019.
In order to participate in the PRP, the following requirements must be met:
- There is a Korean patent application that has the same priority date or filing date (whichever is earlier) as the MIH patent application;
- The MIH patent application has a filing date after January 22, 2003;
- The corresponding Korean patent application has been granted by the KIPO; and
- The claims in the MIH patent application are the same as one or more claims in the corresponding granted Korean patent application.
- Provided all the requirements are met, the MIH will deliver an accelerated patent decision within three months from the date of requesting the PRP.
This program was developed after the MIH signed a memorandum of understanding on patent cooperation with the Korean Intellectual Property Office on August 16, 2019, with the aim of enabling applicants to request accelerated patent decisions on applications filed in Cambodia if their patent had previously been examined and granted in Korea.
Notably, pharmaceutical-related inventions do not benefit from the PRP, as they are not patentable under article 4 of the Law on Patents, Utility Model Certificates, and Industrial Designs. This is in line with the World Trade Organization’s Council for Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights’ (Council for TRIPS) decision that Cambodia, as a least-developed country, is not obligated to provide protection to pharmaceutical-related patents until 2033.
Between 2010 and 2018, around 30 Korean patent applications were filed with the MIH, but none have been granted. According to the MIH, Cambodia has so far granted 160 patents out of an estimated 930 applications. It is important to note that a majority of the granted patents were registered under the current facilitation programs the MIH offers in cooperation with the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS), the Japan Patent Office (JPO), the European Patent Office (EPO), and the China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA).
Korean patent holders are encouraged to participate in the PRP to register their new patents or expedite the grant of pending applications in Cambodia.