While plenty of information on the law covering industrial designs in Cambodia has been published, little is available about what exactly has been filed. In this post, we're taking a closer look at the 714 registrations that have been granted so far, to give an idea of how the system has developed over the years, what it is being used for, and where it might go from here.
As a preliminary matter, the database of Cambodian industrial design registrations is available through the Design View Database. This does, however, exclude registrations obtained through the Hague System (available here), of which there are currently 119 designations of Cambodia.
The following statistics are based on the Design View records, which only cover granted applications (meaning those currently registered and already expired). Thus, currently pending applications are not shown, which accounts for the lower counts in recent years in the graphs below.
Since the inception of the implementing regulation for industrial designs in Cambodia came into effect in 2006, there have been a total of 714 registrations granted, as shown here:
While the last few years seem to show a decline, this in fact is only a result of the statistics showing registrations - not pending applications. As the Registrar processes the applications filed in 2018 and 2019, the numbers will increase. We conclude there is an upward trend, and estimate over 100 filings for 2018 and 2019 once all are processed.
Turning to the types of industrial designs in registered in Cambodia, this is shown in the Locarno Classification. Just two classes, covering transportation (essentially scooters) and packaging/containers (mostly bottles), account for nearly half of all registrations.
Of the 32 Locarno Classes, only 18 have any registrations at all. There are no registrations covering such common items as lighters, cosmetics, tools and hardware.
If one simply scrolls through the list of registrations, it is apparent that one applicant is filing scores of applications for similar products - fully 104 for scooters and their parts. Two examples are below:
Sure enough, Honda Motor Company is top of the list of applicants, as shown below:
Honda's closest competitor in the scooter market, Suzuki, only holds six registrations. All are for the overall design of the bike, whereas Honda has taken the extra step of registering scores of individual parts for each model. This is presumably to counter third-party spare part distributors.
From the relatively modest 714 registrations, the distribution of classes and concentration within just a few applicants, our impression is that the industrial design system is still in its infancy in Cambodia. The registrations seem the result of haphazard decisions, rather than strategic decisions made by informed businesses. As the system evolves, we would expect to see more registrations by competing firms for similar products, and a broadening of the classes covered. With Cambodia's accession to the Hague System in 2016, foreign applicants have an efficient and cost-effective route to registration.
Finally, interestingly enough the database publishes the names of the individual designers, not just of the registration owners (this differs in most cases where the owner employs the designer). Holding the top spot, at 38 registrations, is Mr. Asok George, the Chief Designer for Volvo Trucks. Well done Mr. George!
For further information on industrial designs in Cambodia, please refer to our Guide to Industrial Design Law in Cambodia.