The Department of Intellectual Property Rights in Cambodia has updated the country’s trademark law, especially concerning filing and maintenance.
It issued two notices—one on August 1, 2023, the other 10 days later on August 11—that dealt with single multi-class applications and affidavits of use/non-use, respectively.
The First Notice (No. 2501/R/DIP)
The First Notice mandates that from August 1, 2023, a single multi-class application be filed for a trademark with goods and services in more than one class, instead of multiple single-class applications.
Practically, since the notice is silent on the ability to divide the application, in the event of a partial refusal, further prosecution of the application in the remaining classes where there are no objections will be held up until the partial refusal is resolved to the examiner’s satisfaction. This necessarily increases the time it will take to register a trademark and the cost of doing so.
The notice does not expressly stop trademark owners with goods and services in more than one class from filing separate single-class applications over several days. As such, and if single-class applications are a trademark owner’s preferred route, the trademark owner could consider filing single-class applications over a period of days but must remember to allocate enough time for the filing program, especially if the trademark owner wants to claim priorities.
The Second Notice (No. 2652/R/DIP)
The Second Notice mandates all trademark owners to file an affidavit of use/non-use within one year following the fifth anniversary of the registration date, or renewal date, as the case may be. Failure to do so will result in the automatic removal of the trademark from the register. The implication of this Notice also means that there is no longer a grace period to accommodate the late filing of the affidavit of use/non-use.
While no trademarks have been removed from the register for failure to observe this notice to date, given this announcement, trademark owners should review their trademark portfolio in Cambodia and ensure they are complying strictly with the abovementioned deadlines to avoid jeopardizing their trademarks.
This article was first published by the International Trademark Association on inta.org.