Cambodia to recognise European patents
Posted in Biotechnology/Pharma, European Patents February 3, 2017
The European Patent Organisation (EPO) has signed a validation agreement with Cambodia. This means it will be possible to validate a granted European patent in Cambodia, for the first time extending the protection conferred by European patents into Asia. This builds on existing validation agreements with Morocco and Moldova and extension agreements with Bosnia & Herzegovina and Montenegro (as well as a planned validation agreement with Tunisia), increasing the total number of countries in which protection may be obtained through a European patent to 43, now spanning three continents and covering markets of more than 650 million inhabitants. The agreement is due to enter force once adopted into Cambodian law, which should occur around July 2017.
Notably, the Cambodian government has chosen to use a World Trade Organization (WTO) waiver regarding pharmaceutical products which will be excluded from the agreement during a transitional period. This waiver exempts Least Developed Countries (LDCs) from having to implement certain provisions of the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) regarding the protection of pharmaceutical patents and clinical trial data. The waiver permits LDCs such as Cambodia to develop fledgling pharmaceutical manufacturing industries and to continue to import generic medicines from abroad without regard to patents. At present, the waiver transitional period is due to end in 2033, although it may be extended by agreement of the WTO TRIPS Council.