Cambodia is one of the fastest-growing economies in Southeast Asia and is set to become the first Asian country to recognise and protect European Patents. Indeed, Cham Prasidh, the Senior Minister of Industry and Handicraft, on 23rd of January signed an agreement on the validation of European Patents in Cambodia with the EPO President Benoît Battistelli.
The agreement is scheduled to come into effect on the 1st of July 2017: on said date Cambodia will be placed among eight non-European countries that recognise the European Patent. Three other countries have recently signed such validation agreements: Morocco, Moldova and Tunisia (though the last one is still waiting to come into force). The Cambodian agreement will allow companies and individuals to obtain patent protection in up to 43 European and non-European countries with a single European Patent application.
It should be noted that pharmaceutical patents will likely be exempted from protection during the transitional period: Cambodia expressed the wish to make for the moment use of the WTO (World Trade Organisation) waiver regarding these kind of patents.
EPO President Battistelli said that the new validation agreement with Cambodia is positive news for the development of the European Patent system because «it extends its attractiveness beyond the European market and its immediate neighbourhood. The recognition of the European Patent by an Asian country demonstrates its global impact, also in the context of a least-developed economy».
On its perspective, Cambodia sees the agreement as an incentive for owners of European Patents to consider investing in said country, thereby a good opportunity to strengthen its economic development. The country is currently modernising its Intellectual Property system in order to boost the economy and attract foreign direct investment.