On August 30, 2016, a new Prakas (declaration) on the Procedures for Registration and Protection of Certification Marks was enacted by the Ministry of Commerce. The declaration sets forth procedures and documents required for national and international registration, term of protection, invalidation and cancellation.
A certification mark refers to any name, symbol or any combination thereof that confirms that goods and/or services in connection with which it is used, are certified by the owner of the mark in respect to materials, origin, mode of manufacture of goods or performance of services, quality, accuracy or other characteristics.
In order to register, the applicant must have legal personality and competency for certifying the goods and/or services. The application form can be made in the Cambodian or English language, using the prescribed form, along with a statutory declaration/affidavit, a certificate of competency, and regulations governing use of the certification mark to the Department of Intellectual Property of the Ministry of Commerce.
The applicant also can claim the priority right of an earlier application filed by the applicant based on the Paris Convention. Further, a foreign applicant must be represented by a legal mark agent, accompanied by a registration certification or an application in their home country, and an original notarized power of attorney. The official fees will be determined in a joint declaration between the Ministry of Commerce and the Ministry of Economy and Finance. Currently, the official fees for ordinary trademark registration shall apply.
Article 4 of the Law concerning Marks, Trade Names and Acts of Unfair Competition and Article 10 of the Law on Geographical Indication will be used for examining certification mark applications. However, a geographical name can be registered as a certification mark only if it is used to indicate an origin of the goods or services.
The applicant has six months to respond to the Registrar if the application requirements are not fulfilled. As soon as it registered, the information of the certification mark and the regulations governing use will be published. Any interested person may submit a statement of opposition to the Registrar within ninety days from the publication date.
Term and Maintenance
The registration is valid for ten years from the date of filing the application and may be renewed for consecutive periods of ten years. The owner must report the list of products and producers to the Department of Intellectual Property annually. The report and the relevant documents in other language must be translated into Cambodian language and certified by a Cambodian mark agent or professional translator registered in Cambodia.
Failure to provide the annual report and the required documents to the Department of Intellectual Property within ninety days from the date of notification may result in cancellation of the registration.
Invalidation and Removal
The Registrar may invalidate a registration for the following reasons:
The registered owner fails to fulfill the requirements of the declaration;
The registered owner is not a legitimate owner.
The registered certification mark will be removed if:
The registered owner is no longer competent to certify the goods/services
The registered owner does not submit an application for renewal;
The registered owner has begun to use the mark with respect to goods/services certified;
The manner in which mark is used has caused it to become misleading;
The registered owner has failed to observe of the regulations governing use of the mark;
Amendment has been made to the regulations contrary to public order or morality;
The foreign certification mark is no longer being used or protected in the home country.
For more about the Cambodian trademark system, please refer to our Guide to Trademark Law in Cambodia.