Recently, the Cambodian Ministry of Commerce issued an official announcement regarding the stricter requirement for the submission of a certificate of statement of use or non-use of trademarks after registration.
The certificate of statement of use must be submitted in the fifth year from the registration date to maintain the validity of registered trademarks in Cambodia. Previously, the enforcement and monitoring of compliance with the requirement for a statement of use of trademarks in Cambodian commerce were relatively lenient, allowing trademark owners to submit the certificate even after the fifth year, meaning they could file it late without causing the trademark to lose its validity.
However, this has changed. In Announcement No. 2652 dated August 11, 2023, the Cambodian Ministry of Commerce announced that the failure to submit the certificate of statement of use will result in the removal of the trademark from Cambodia’s intellectual property asset management system, effectively rendering the trademark entirely invalid.
This is an important positive development in enforcing, managing, and monitoring trademarks in Cambodia. Since Cambodia’s trademark registration system operates under the “first-to-file” principle without the need to demonstrate actual use or intent to use at the time of filing, the certificate of statement of use is essential to control trademarks that are not being used in practice for commercial purposes.
In Cambodia, the situation of registering trademarks with bad intentions without actual business use is becoming increasingly common, with the frequency rising over the years. The trademark registry managed by the Cambodian Intellectual Property Office has gradually been filling up with unused trademarks, leading to legal conflicts and unnecessary disputes and complications for businesses genuinely seeking trademark protection.
In light of this, the Cambodian Ministry of Commerce recommends trademark owners to check the status of submitting the Certificate of Statement of Use for any trademarks in their management portfolio. If the documents have not yet been submitted, the trademark owners must promptly provide the necessary documents to the authorized authority in charge of handling trademark’s statement of use.
The notice can be downloaded here.