An applicant for a Cambodian patent must submit a Cambodian language (Khmer) translation of the application – a seemingly cumbersome and expensive process, which actually turns out to be much easier than at first glance.

Confronted with this requirement, many potential applicants hire a professional translation firm, often at great expense, to perform the translation before submitting the application to the Ministry of Industry and Handicraft. Given the technical sophistication of the document and terms of art in patent law, even the most experienced firm would struggle to render a decent translation. This can have grave consequences for the scope of protection granted in the patent, as a mistake could inadvertently narrow the claims or even potentially render the patent invalid.

We recommend against this.

Far simpler, and almost certainly cheaper, is to have the Ministry do the translation themselves. The initial application can be submitted in English, after which the Ministry will issue a quotation for the translation, based on the length and complexity of the document. After paying the fee, the Ministry’s trained staff will perform the translation and provide a draft for the applicant’s approval. The draft should be checked by a native-Khmer speaker with a firm understanding of patent law and the technical field, in order to ensure its accuracy. Once approved, the Khmer translation will form part of the patent application.