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Japan Patent OfficeJPO will Strengthen its Cooperative Relationship with Cambodia in the Field of IP

On November 27, 2014, Mr. Hitoshi Ito, Commissioner of the Japan Patent Office (JPO) had a meeting in Tokyo with the Deputy Minister/Secretary of State of Ministry of Commerce, Cambodia, and they signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) on Intellectual Property. Based on this MOC, the JPO will strengthen its cooperative relationship with Cambodia in the field of IP.

1. Background

The export amount from Japan to the ASEAN countries is the third largest, following that of the U.S. and China, and many Japanese companies consider the ASEAN economies as promising areas in which to expand their businesses. Therefore, the appropriate protection of Japanese companies’ intellectual property (IP) rights in the ASEAN region is becoming more important as they develop their businesses in the region.

To address this situation, the JPO and the ASEAN economies confirmed the enhancement of their cooperation in the field of IP at the 4th Japan-ASEAN Heads of Intellectual Property Offices Meeting on July 2, 2014, and also affirmed the progress in such cooperation at the Japan-ASEAN Summit Meeting on November 12, 2014.

Looking at the economic situation in Cambodia, the country’s economic growth has remained high, at 7% or more, for the three years since 2011. The foreign investment values in the country have also surged, as seen in the fact that 150 or more Japanese companies at present are developing their businesses in the country.

With the growing economic development in Cambodia, the number of patent, design, and trademark applications filed from other countries in Cambodia has been increasing. In particular, the total number of trademark applications filed in Cambodia grew from about 3,000 to about 5,000 over the five years from 2007 to 2012, among which those from Japan have increased more than five-fold. In addition, Cambodia is now preparing to accede to the Madrid Protocol,* and if the accession succeeds, applicants will be able to file international trademark applications in Cambodia, which could further increase the number of such applications.

Facing such an outlook, it is important for Cambodia to establish an efficient examination system and raise public awareness of IP, thereby improving the environment in which IP rights are protected appropriately.

As one of the efforts towards achieving these goals, on November 27, 2014, Mr. Hitoshi Ito, Commissioner of the JPO, had a meeting in Tokyo with H.E. OUK Prachea, Deputy Minister/Secretary of State of the Ministry of Commerce, which is in charge of the Cambodian trademark system, and a member of the National Committee for Intellectual Property Rights (NCIPR) which is in charge of the formulation of the Cambodian national IP strategies. And both sides signed the MOC for the purpose of fortifying Japan-Cambodia cooperation in the IP field.

Ratios of exports values from Japan to other countries (2013)
U.S., China, ASEAN, EU, ROK, Others
Source: Foreign Trade Statistics, Ministry of Finance

Changes in the number of trademark applications filed with Cambodia
Number, Year
Source: WIPO Intellectual Property Statistics Data Center

*Note: Outline of the Madrid Protocol
The Protocol Relating to the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks, called the “Madrid Protocol,” is an international agreement concerning trademarks, which was concluded in Madrid on June 27, 1989. Under the protocol, applicants of the member countries are able to secure the protection of their trademarks in the designated member countries if their trademarks are registered in the International Register by the International Bureau of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

2. Outline of the enhancement of the cooperation with Cambodia

The JPO and the NCIPR as well as the Ministry of Commerce, Cambodia, confirmed in the MOC the Japan-Cambodia cooperation in a variety of fields, including the following:

  1. Exchange of experiences and knowledge on industrial property policies, and improvement of laws, regulations, guidelines or manuals, consistent with international standards;
  2. Worksharing at the international level, exchange of experiences and knowledge on quality control and examiners’ training and sharing statistics data;
  3. Exchange of experiences on management and IT infrastructures/systems;
  4. Exchange of information on development of IP exploitation by the private sector including SMEs;
  5. Exchange of information to promote awareness of IP; and
  6. Advance of the capabilities of examiners and officials.

Based on the MOC, the JPO will deepen dialogues with the NCIPR and the Ministry of Commerce of Cambodia and formulate an Implementation plan concerning their cooperation in FY2014. It will also advance meticulous, tailor-made collaboration and cooperation with Cambodia to meet the current status of the establishment of the IP system and operation in Cambodia, thereby improving the development of an environment in which Japanese companies’ intellectual property rights are protected appropriately.

Release date

November 27, 2014

Division in charge

International Cooperation Division, Policy Planning and Coordination Department, JPO

Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry
1-3-1 Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8901, Japan Tel: +81-(0)3-3501-1511
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