12th March, 2018
The Kingdom of Cambodia, considered being one of the fastest-growing economies in the Southeast Asian region, is the first Asian country recognising European patents on its territory.
Signed in January and ratified in November 2017, the agreement on validation of European patents between the Government of Cambodia and the European Patent Organisation enters into force on 1 March 2018. From that date it will be possible to validate European patent applications and patents in Cambodia, where, after validation, they will confer essentially the same protection as patents granted by the EPO for the now 38-member states of the European Patent Organisation.
Validation in Cambodia is available from 1 March 2018 and is deemed requested for any European or international application filed on or after that date.
Regarding protection for pharmaceutical products, applicants should be aware of Cambodia being under the WTO’s waiver allowing Least Developed Countries to avoid granting and enforcing IP rights on pharmaceutical products until 2033, which also applies to European patents. However, until the end of the transitional period, applicants can benefit from the so-called "mailbox system", according to which patent applications for pharmaceutical products can be filed and, even though they remain unexamined as to their patentability until the end of the transitional period, following that period, protection may be granted for the remainder of the patent term computed from the filing date of the application. Cambodia expects the agreement to provide an incentive for owners of European patents to consider investing in Cambodia, thereby strengthening the country's economic development. For the European Patent System, the extension beyond the European market demonstrates a further increase of its attractiveness and global impact.