International Instruments Concerning the Protection of IPRs

The Kingdom of Cambodia has accessioned to the following bilateral and multilateral international instruments:

Firstly, on the part of practical implementation of intellectual property enforcement, Cambodia has taken part into the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) on July 25, 1995 and become a party of the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, on September 22, 1998 which has shown strong commitment under the obligations of Paris Convention to protect well-known marks by enforcing laws to suppress many cases of infringements and setting up effective mechanism to protect right-holders in exercising their Intellectual Property rights in Cambodia.

Under the TRIPs, Cambodia will to be members of: -PCT (Patent Cooperation Treaty), Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, Geneva Convention for the Protection of Producers of Phonograms against Unauthorized Duplications of their Phonograms, The International Union for the Protection of New varieties of Plants (UPOV
Convention) and the Nice Agreement Concerning the International Classification of Goods and Services for the purposes of the registration of Marks.

Secondly, we are also creating a favorable credible condition for trade and investment through a bilateral agreement with the United States of America on trade relation and the protection of Intellectual Property that is a core agreement to bring the GSP and MFN treatment to Cambodia. The purpose of the Agreement aims at two major points: 1/ to develop mutually
beneficial trade relations between the two countries; and 2/ to provide adequate and effective protections and enforcement of Intellectual Property rights. Among the 27 Articles of the Agreement 14 Articles are related to the obligation of both parties to protect IPR.

Furthermore, as a member of ASEAN, Cambodia automatically accessed to all Asian’s Framework Agreements, which also include the ASEAN Framework Agreement on the Intellectual Property Cooperation on April 30, 1999. Through its membership of this agreement, Cambodia has played an important role in the ASEAN Working Group on Intellectual
Property Cooperation by participating in the enhancement of Intellectual Property Protection and actively implementing the Intellectual Property rights in Cambodia, which is an essential factor, implied gradual strengthening of the development of this field in the region. It is also to encourage closer cooperation in the field of Intellectual Property and related fields in order to establish a solid basis for economic progress, the expeditious realization of ASEAN Free Trade Area, and prosperity among the member states of ASEAN. Moreover, it was the first meeting jointly attended by Cambodia (IPD) to discuss the ASEAN Regional Trademark and Patent Filing System and to contribute to the ASEAN countries the Common
Form for Patent Application and finalize the ASEAN Common Form for Trademark Application in order to standardize Mark Application Form among the ASEAN countries. Pursuant to the Memorandum of Understanding on Intellectual Property Cooperation between the Ministry of Commerce of the Kingdom of Cambodia and EC-SEAN Intellectual Property
Rights Program on February 2003 and Trade Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA)–CAM-USA on August 2006

IV. Existing Problems in Enforcement and protection of IPR
he problem of protecting and enforcing IPRs is an important national and international concern. On a national level, we must make sure that our registration procedures for patent, trademarks and copyrights are streamlined, efficient, rapid and fair to both Cambodians and also foreign investors who come to register their Intellectual Property here. An equally important issue for Cambodia is to make sure that our country becomes a party to major international treaties on IP and that we fulfill our obligations under those treaties. Cambodia must take its rightful and proper place in the regional and global treaties and organizations, including those which are especially concerned with Intellectual Property.

While all the relevant laws in Cambodia provide that each intellectual property agencies is responsible and able to take action (ex officio) on infringement of Intellectual Property rights, it is the lack of knowledge and know-how of the officials that have prohibited an effective enforcement effort. In most cases, the intellectual property officials can not distinguish the infringed products from the authentic ones. In most cases, the relevant intellectual property officials have to be accompanied or guided by the rights owners.

At the same time, even though Cambodian intellectual property laws stipulate that all disputes on Intellectual Property must be settled in the Cambodian court, there is not special court for Intellectual Property. And though, the legal personnel may be quite competent in the body of the laws, it is the complexity of the reality and the commercial circumstance of
Intellectual Property that have created difficulties and obstacle for a proper performance of Cambodian justice system. Even though, the present level of Intellectual Property related cases is low, it is however, a matter which is needed to be dealt with in a hope that when the Intellectual Property system in Cambodia is functioned, the juridical system would be ready to handle all the related cases.

There is also coordination problem when there are a number of agencies enforcing the Intellectual Property laws and regulations. This makes the enforcement process longer than it should be. Even though, the Cambodian government has established the coordinating committee, the Committee on Suppression of Intellectual Property Infringement, the actual implementation of the laws is still without a clear direction and coordination.

In support of intellectual property creation, protection and exploitation, every country should attach high importance in strengthening its national infrastructure in order to develop intellectual property awareness and expertise, especially Cambodia is paying attention to the protection of Intellectual Property rights as we use the internet, using the technology and facility solely for the objective of development, and not using the technology for criminal purposes, which is contrary to morality, tradition and good customs of the nation.

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