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August 29, 2023

Cambodia Tightens Trademark Rules with Multiple-Class and Affidavit Stipulations

Cambodia recently tightened its trademark procedures by restricting the filing of separate single-class applications for a mark covering multiple classes, and tightening the deadline for filing affidavits of use or non-use. The latter requirement is especially consequential for existing registered trademark owners, as disregarding it could result in removal of the registered mark from Cambodia’s trademark registry.

Multiple-Class Applications

Cambodia’s Ministry of Commerce announced on August 1, 2023, that the Department of Intellectual Property Rights will now only accept a single application for a trademark covering more than one international class.

This means that multiple-class applications are mandatory for applications covering more than one class. Previously, trademark applicants were allowed to file separate single-class applications for the same mark covering multiple classes. The new rule, which took effect immediately, aims to reduce unnecessary paperwork and facilitate the trademark registration process.

Period for Filing Affidavits of Use or Non-Use

On August 11, 2023, the Ministry of Commerce issued a notification stating that trademark registrants who miss the deadline for filing an affidavit of use or non-use will no longer be allowed to file an affidavit after the deadline or at the time of filing the trademark renewal, as had previously been allowed.

This is in line with the Sub-Decree Concerning the Filing of an Affidavit of Use or Non-Use, which requires registered trademark owners to file an affidavit of use or non-use of the trademark within one year following the fifth anniversary of the mark’s registration or renewal.

Importantly, the notification announces that registered trademarks will be removed from the registry if the trademark owner fails to file an affidavit of the mark’s use or non-use within the required time period.

This announcement applies to both domestic registrations and international registrations made under the Madrid Protocol.

Although the notification does not explicitly state an effective date, trademark owners would be prudent to assume they should file any necessary affidavits of use or non-use that are past the legally required time period as soon as possible or face potential removal of their trademark registration from the registry.

For more details on these regulatory changes, or on any aspect of protecting intellectual property in Cambodia, please contact Tilleke & Gibbins at [email protected].