What is trademark?
According to Article 2 of Cambodia Trademark Law, a “mark” is any visible sign capable of distinguishing the goods (trademark) or services (service mark) of an enterprise. Such signs include words, names, characters, numerals, logos, devices, labels, signatures, slogans, colors (and colors combinations), shapes, three dimensional signs, and holograms.
What is a collective mark?
According to Article 2 of Cambodia Trademark Law, “collective mark” is any visible sign designated as such in the application for registration and capable of distinguishing the origin or any other common characteristic, including the quality, of goods or services of different enterprises which use the sign under the control of the registered owner of the collective mark.
What is a trade name?
According to Article 2 of Cambodia Trademark Law, “trade name” means the name or/ and designation identifying and distinguishing an enterprise.
Where to file a trademark application in Cambodia?
All trademarks should be applied for and registered with the Ministry of Commerce’s Department of
Intellectual Property Right.
Can foreign trademark applicant directly apply for the trademark registration before Trademark Office of Cambodia?
No, he cannot. According to Article 58 of Cambodia Trademark Law, foreign mark applicants must be represented by a Cambodian trademark agent residing and practicing in the Kingdom of Cambodia. A Cambodian trademark agent must be appointed by the applicant, through a Power of Attorney (POA), to act on their behalf in filing and registering their trademarks and service marks in Cambodia. The POA must be notarized, and can be submitted on filing or within a period of two months from the filing date.
Can a trademark application cover multi classes?
Yes, it can. Single trademark application covering multi-classes is accepted with the provision that the official filing fee must be paid for each class. In Cambodia, the official fees are not reduced for each additional class in the same trademark application but remain the same as if the first one.
Which classification systems are applied for Cambodia Trademark?
The Nice 10th Classification System is applied in Cambodia in registrations for trademarks. The Vienna Classification system is used for figure trademarks.
What are required documents/information to file a trademark application?
Required information includes the following
– Full name, registered address and nationality of the applicant;
– Description of the mark: meaning, color claimed, transliteration or translation of the characters of the mark into English if these characters are not in English;
– A list of goods/services and the International Classification of respective goods/services (if known);
– Country, application number and filing date of the original foreign application from which the priority is claimed (if a priority is claimed).
Required documents include the following
– A notarized Power of Attorney – POA from the applicant;
– 15 specimens of the mark (the size of each specimen is not smaller than 15mm x 15mm and not larger than 80mm x 80mm);
– Documents for claiming priority and English translation thereof (if any).
The notarized POA can be submitted on filing or it can be submitted within two months of the application date.
What are requirements for a specimen of mark?
The specimen of mark must meet the following requirements:
– Size: not larger than 8 cm x 8 cm
– Quantity: 15 additional reproductions (specimens)
– The specimens must clearly show all features of the mark to be protected, and must be able to be clearly reproduced.
In which cases a mark cannot be validly registered?
According to Article 4 of Cambodia Trademark Law, a mark cannot be validly registered in the following cases:
(a)-if it is incapable of distinguishing the goods or services of one enterprise from those of other enterprises;
(b)-if it is contrary to public order or morality or good custom;
(c)-if it is likely to mislead the public or trade circles, in particular as regards the geographical origin of
the goods or services concerned or their nature or characteristics;
(d)-if it is identical with, or is an imitation of or contains as an element, an armorial bearing, flag and other emblem, a name or abbreviation or initials of the name of , or official sign or hallmark adopted by, any State, intergovernmental organization or organization created by an international convention, unless authorized by the competent authority of that State or organization;
(e)-if it is identical with, or confusingly similar to, or constitutes a translation of, a mark or trade
name which is well known in the Kingdom of Cambodia for identical or similar goods or services
of another enterprise;
(f)-if it is identical with, or confusingly similar to, or constitutes a translation of a mark or trade name
which is well-known and registered in the Kingdom of Cambodia for goods or services which are not identical or similar to those in respect of which registration is applied for , provided that use of the mark in relation to those goods or services would indicate a connection between those goods or services and the owner of the well-known mark that the interests of the owner of the well-known mark are likely to be damaged by such use; or
(g)-if it is identical with a mark belonging to a different proprietor and already on the Register, or with
an earlier filing or priority date, in respect of the same goods or services or closely related goods or
services, or if it so nearly resembles such a mark as to be likely to deceive or cause confusion.
What happen if a trademark application is deemed to be invalidly registered? And how to overcome this?
If a trademark application is deemed to be invalidly registered , the registrar will issue a notification on provisional refusal of mark registration, and give the applicant a period of 60 days to submit the response.
The applicant or their appointed mark agent must lodge a response within the prescribed time limit. Another 45-day extension of time can be obtained with the prescribed fee. Failing to submit the response or taking required action, the mark application will be lapsed and the application fee will not be refunded.
Is it possible to receive the refund for application fee in case of withdrawing the trademark application?
No, it is impossible. According to Article 15 of Sub-Decree on the implementation of the law concerning marks, trade names and acts of unfair competition of Cambodia, the application fee shall not be refunded if the application is withdrawn.
How long does it take from the filing date until a trademark registration certificate is granted?
It would take a period of 9-12 months from the filing date to obtain a certificate of trademark registration in Cambodia. A notice of acceptance of mark registration will be issued when the mark application is deemed to comply with the protection criteria and the certificate of mark registration will be granted after the registration fee has been paid.
When an affidavit of use or non-use must be submitted?
The trademark owner should use his trademark in Cambodia. Within one year following the fifth anniversary of the date of registration of the mark, or the date of registration of renewal when the registered mark has been renewed, an Affidavit of Use/Non-Use is required to be lodged with the Cambodian Trademark Office. If no Affidavit of Use/Non-Use is lodged, the trademark may be vulnerable to cancellation at a third party’s request.
How to proceed with the renewal procedure for Trademark in Cambodia?
According to Article 12 of the Trademark Law of Cambodia, the trademark registration certificate is valid for ten years from the date of filing mark application and may be renewed for consecutive periods of ten years. The renewal mark application may be submitted to the Cambodia Trademark Office within six months prior to the expiry of the registration. A grace period of another six months is available in case the Trademark owner or his/her legal representative fails to submit the renewal mark application within six month preceding the expiry of the registration. So that the registration of renewal can be accepted, the trademark owner or his/her legal representative must submit the request for affidavit of use/non-use in the sixth year, before or together with a renewal application.
How to proceed with the opposition procedure for Trademark in Cambodia?
According to Article 10 of the Cambodia Trademark Law, as soon as a mark has been registered, it will be published in the Official Gazette. Within 90 days after the date of publication in the Official Gazette, any interested person may lodge to the registrar a notice of opposition to the registration of the mark with supporting evidences for the fact that one or more of the registration requirements have not been met.
The applicant shall be noticed of such opposition by the registrar, and shall be given 45 days from the date of notice to submit a counter-statement or to take necessary action. Failing to respond to the registrar’s notice within the prescribed time limit, the applicant shall be deemed to abandon the registration.
A copy of the counter-statement submitted by the applicant shall be provided by the registrar to the opponent. After hearing the parties and considering the case, the registrar shall decide if the registered mark is legitimate.
How to proceed with invalidation procedure for a registered trademark in Cambodia?
According to Article 13 of Cambodia Trademark Law, any interested person may, at any time, lodge a request in writing to Ministry of Commerce for invalidation of the registered mark on the grounds that it is indistinguishable or it is contrary to public interest as prescribed in the Article 2(a) and Article 4(a-g) of Trademark Law. The trademark owner shall be noticed of such invalidation by the registrar, and shall be given 45 days from the date of notice to submit a counter-statement or to take necessary action. Failing to respond to the registrar’s notice within the prescribed time limit, the trademark registration shall be deemed to be invalidated and such invalidation shall be pulished on the Official Gazette. The Registrar’s decision is subject to appeal to the Appeal Board of the Ministry of Commerce or competent court within three months from the date of the decision.
How to proceed with removal procedure for a registered trademark in Cambodia?
According to Article 15 of Cambodia Trademark Law, any interested person may, at any time, lodge a request in writing to Ministry of Commerce for removal of the registered mark on the grounds that up to one month prior to filing the request or after its registration, the mark has not been used by the registered owner or a licensee during a continuous period of five years. In addition, the registered mark also can be removed if the trademark owner or his/her representative fails to submit the request for endorsement of affidavit of use or non-use .The Registrar’s decision is subject to appeal to the Appeal Board of the Ministry of Commerce or competent court within three months from the date of the decision.
In which cases a registered mark will be cancelled?
According to Article 14 of Cambodia Trademark Law, a registered mark can be cancellec by Ministry of Commerce in the following cases:
(a)-The applicant does not apply for renewal of the registered mark within the period prescribed under Article 12.(b) and (d) of Cambodia Trademark Law;
(b)-The owner of the registered mark requests the removal.
(c)-The owner of the registered mark has not complied, within 90 days, with the conditions or
restrictions prescribed under Article 8 of Cambodia Trademark Law;
(d)-The owner of the registered mark ceases to have an address for service in the Kingdom of Cambodia.
(e)-It is convinced upon evidence that the owner of the registered mark is not the legitimate owner.
(f)-It is convinced that the registered mark is similar or identical to a well known mark owned by third party.
What is a trademark infringement?
According to Article 24 of Cambodia Trademark Law, an infringement of a registered mark is the use of the trademark by any person other than the owner of the mark without the authority of the owner. A person infringes a registered mark if the person uses as a mark a sign that is substantially identical with, or confusingly similar to, the mark in relation to goods or services in respect of which the trademark is registered.
Cambodia Trademark Law defines 3 types of trademark infringement, namely the infringement of a registered mark, the infringement of a registered well-known mark and the infringement of an unregistered well-known mark. In particular:
– Infringement of Registered Mark, according to Article 24 of Cambodia Trademark Law means an unauthorized use of a registered mark or a sign which is identical with or confusingly similar to a registered mark, in relation to any goods or services for which it has been registered.
– Infringement of Registered Well-Known Mark, according to Article 25 of Cambodia Trademark Law means a use of a sign which is identical with or confusingly similar to a well-known mark have been used without the agreement of the owner of the well-known mark. Such use must be in relation to goods and services identical with or similar to the goods or services for which the well-known mark has been registered or in relation to goods and services which are not identical with or similar to those in respect of which the well-known mark has been registered and the use of the sign in relation to these goods or services would indicate a connection between those goods or services and the owner of the well-known mark and that the interests of the owner are likely to be damaged by such use.
– Infringement of Unregistered Well-Known Mark, according to Article 26 of Cambodia Trademark Law means a use of a sign which is identical with or confusingly similar to an unregistered well-known mark without the agreement of the owner provided that the sign is used in relation to goods or services identical with or similar to the goods or services for which the mark is well-known
What is the suspension of customs clearance and how to apply for it?
The suspension of customs clearance can be applied to any counterfeit goods. Counterfeit goods may include any goods/packaging that bear, without authorisation, a trade mark which is identical to a registered trade mark, or goods/packaging which cannot be distinguished from a registered trade mark. However, it should be noted that border control measures are only available in clear-cut cases of infringement.
The customs authority will suspend clearance of the goods for a defined period and this period may not be extended for more than 10 working days. If the applicant wishes to destroy the counterfeit goods, civil court proceedings must be initiated within 10 working days of suspension of the goods because the customs authorities may only destroy counterfeit goods with a court’s approval. The customs authority will release the goods if the applicant does not initiate court proceedings.
An application for suspension of customs clearance should be submitted to the customs authority and must contain:
• A statement showing prima facie evidence (evidence which supports the claim) of counterfeit;
•A description of the goods;
•Proof of trade mark registration;
• The applicant’s information.
Applications and supporting documents may be in Khmer or English (documents in other languages are accepted if translated into Khmer or English).
The authorities will on a case by case basis require the applicant to pay a security deposit or provide other assurance for the suspension. The customs authorities must notify the applicant within 10 working days from the submission of the request if the application has been accepted, rejected or reserved for further consideration.