Positive move by Cambodia as it joins Geneva Act

In March this year, Cambodia became the first state party to join the Geneva Act of the Lisbon Agreement.

This will protect original producers of quality goods in the country by designating their products either as Appellations of Origin (AO) or Geographical Indicator (GI) across multi-jurisdictions via one application to the International Bureau of WIPO.

The Geneva Act serves as an expansion of scope of protection of the Lisbon Agreement from merely AO to a broader category of GI. Cambodia is not currently contracted to the Lisbon Agreement or its 1967 revised Act. Contracting into the Geneva Act is therefore the first step in linking Cambodia with the Lisbon System. The Geneva Act, however, comes into force three months after five eligible parties have deposited their instruments of ratification or accession.

During the deposit of its instrument of accession with WIPO's Director General, the Cambodian Minister of Commerce (MOC) said that now Cambodia has the potential to market the distinctive designation of Cambodian products as AO or GI internationally, it needs to provide strong international protection against infringement, including unauthorised use, counterfeit or reputation damage of those AO and GI in all territories. The Working Group of the MOC will now begin drafting regulation around administrative procedures and fees for international registration.

So far, the Department of Intellectual Property in Cambodia has received five GI applications, two of which are for local products - Kampot Pepper and Kampong Speu Palm Sugar, both of which have been accepted for GI protection. The MOC is also planning to apply for GI protection for Kratié Pomelo Fruit and Kampot Flower of Salt.

Geneva is the latest of a several agreements and treaties that Cambodia has signed up to over the past few years and clearly demonstrates the development of its national IP law infrastructure.