On September 21, 2017, the State Intellectual Property Office of China (SIPO) and the Ministry of Industry and Handicrafts of the Kingdom of Cambodia (MIH) signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Intellectual Property Cooperation (hereinafter refer to the MOU) explicitly indicating that invention patents in-force which are granted by SIPO can be validated before MIH and gain patent rights directly in Cambodia. On March 2, 2018, a briefing held by SIPO introduced the relevant procedures and requirements about the validation to help Chinese patentees prepare for the coming operation. And on March 29, 2018, the first batch of 20 Chinese invention patents have been validated before and obtained Cambodian patent certificates from MIH.

According to the MOU, invention patents granted by SIPO are recognized by Cambodia as of March 28, 2018. Namely, the validation procedure is very simple where the patentee of a Chinese invention patent in-force requires for the validation, the MIH will conduct only formality examination and issue the patent certificate.

The following are requirements for validating Chinese patents in Cambodia:

Which Chinese patents can be validated in Cambodia

To validate Chinese patents in Cambodia the following requirements shall be met:

1. the Chinese patent shall be an invention patent (not utility model or design patent);

2. the filing date of the Chinese patent shall be later than January 22, 2003 (exclusive);

3. the Chinese patent is granted and in-force.

January 22, 2003 is the date on which the Patent Law of Cambodia took effect, i.e. the date on which the patent system of Cambodia has been established.

Patent term of the validation patent in Cambodia

The term of a Cambodian patent is the same as that of a Chinese invention patent, which is 20 years. The patent validated before MIH based on a Chinese invention patent under the MOU will be 20 years reckoned from the filing date of the Chinese invention patent.

In other word, no matter when the patent is validated before MIH, it will be naturally terminated on the same date on which the term of the Chinese invention patent expires.

Documents needed for validating a Chinese invention patent before MIH

1. an application form;

2. a certified copy of the Chinese patent documents issued by SIPO;

3. a certified copy of the patent register issued by SIPO;

4. English translation of the patent documents; and

5. Khmer translation of the patent documents.

Notes: the above documents 1-4 shall be submitted at the time of filing the validation request with MIH; and document 5 can be submitted within 6 months from the date on which the validation request is filed.

Examination on the validation of the Chinese invention patents before the MIH

MIH conducts ONLY formality examination on the Chinese invention patents and no substantive examination is conducted. MIH may notify the applicant to make rectification if it finds any problem; the applicant shall respond within 2 months.

Once the formality requirements are met, generally, MIH will approve the invalidation within 20 days. The patent number and patent certificate will be issued at the same time.

Linkage effect between the Chinese invention patent and the corresponding Cambodian patent

Where the Chinese invention patent is terminated due to that the applicant does not pay the annuity, the Cambodian patent will not be affected and continue to be valid as long as the requirements for maintaining the Cambodian patent are met.

When the Chinese invention patent is invalidated or the patent documents are changed, and all subsequent legal remedy procedures are closed in China, MIH shall invalidate or make corresponding amendment to the counterpart Cambodian patent.

The applicant is obligated to inform MIH of the latest legal status change of the Chinese invention patent application.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.