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CAMBODIA: Foreign Geographical Indications Welcomed in Cambodia

Champagne, a sparkling wine made from grapes grown in the French region of the same name, and one of France’s most famous products, became the first foreign product to be awarded geographical indication (GI) status in Cambodia on April 29, 2019. This was followed closely by Scotch whisky, which is distilled and matured in Scotland in oak casks for three years or more. It was also awarded GI status in Cambodia in December 2019. A GI is a sign that identifies a product as originating from a specific venue or location and has given characteristics and qualities that are unique to its location or origin.

Cambodia also has three local products, namely, the Kampot pepper, Kampong Speu Palm sugar, and Koh Trung pomelo that enjoy GI recognition in Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, and the European Union. Applications for GI status in Cambodia for Kep flower of salt, Kratie pomelo, Phnom Srok silk, Battambang fragrant rice, Battambang oranges, Siem Reap prahok, and Kampot durian are pending.

Cambodia was the first country to join the Geneva Act of the Lisbon Agreement on Appellations of Origin and Geographical Indications (Geneva Act) in 2018. The Geneva Act allows for a single application with a single set of fees to be filed through the International Bureau of the World Intellectual Property Organization for registration of GIs across multiple jurisdictions, rather than through separate applications made in individual countries.

This is a welcome step by Cambodia toward developing a strong and mature intellectual property system to protect GIs for the benefit of consumers and producers alike, and the Cambodian Minister of Commerce Pan Sorasak has been quoted as saying, “We do hope to see more products from France and other foreign countries registering in Cambodia.”

By: Gladys Mirandah

A version of this article first appeared in the INTA Bulletin Vol. 75, No. 3.  For more information, please visit http://www.inta.org/INTABulletin/Pages/INTABulletin.aspx