As reported previously, the European Patent Office (EPO) President and the Cambodian Minister of Industry and Handicraft signed a Validation State Agreement on 23rd January 2017, and it has now been announced that this Agreement will come into force on 1st March 2018.


From that date, it will be possible to obtain patent protection in Cambodia by validating European patents and patent applications (including PCT regional phase applications) filed on or after 1st March 2018. This validation must be effected by paying the relevant fee of EUR180 within six months from the date on which the European Patent Bulletin mentions the publication of the European search report. For Euro-PCT applications, the fee will be due at the time of entering of the PCT regional phase before the EPO. A two-month grace period is available if these deadlines are missed, although a 50% surcharge must then be paid. A Khmer translation of the specification must also be filed.


Please bear in mind that, under the Law on Patents in force in Cambodia, pharmaceutical products are excluded from patent protection.  Cambodia currently benefits from the WTO waiver allowing Least Developed Countries (LDCs) to avoid granting and enforcing IP rights on pharmaceutical products until 2033. This waiver will also apply to European patents providing protection for pharmaceutical products, for which validation is sought in Cambodia. Applicants can, however, benefit under Article 70.8 TRIPS from a so-called "mailbox system".  According to this provision of the Cambodian legislation, applicants may file patent applications for pharmaceutical products, but such applications will not be examined 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, calculated from the filing date of the application.


Should you require any further information in this matter, please do not hesitate to contact us.