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Manage your Intellectual Property in South-East Asia

Case Study 24 - Trade mark owner and Exclusive distributor jointly enforcing their rights in Cambodia

Background:

The European company (“Company A”) duly registered its trade mark in relation to cosmetic products in Cambodia. Subsequently, it granted exclusive distribution rights of the cosmetics bearing its registered trade mark (the “branded cosmetics”) to a local distributor in Cambodia (“Company B”), who has filed and recorded its exclusive distribution right with the Department of Intellectual Property Rights (DIPR) of the Ministry of Commerce (MOC) according to Cambodian regulations. Recently, Company B has discovered that a third party (“Company C”) practiced parallel import of the branded cosmetics into the Cambodian market.

Action taken:

Company B, as the exclusive distributor in the territory and as authorized by Company A, took legal action against Company C.

Outcome:

At the request of Company B, the relevant court ordered provisional measures consisting of raid action on Company C’s stock of the branded cosmetics. In this respect, the prosecutor, with the assistance of judicial police, conducted a search and seizure of branded cosmetics at Company C’s warehouse. The seized cosmetics would serve as evidence of infringement in a legal action before the local court at a later stage.

IP Lessons:

  • In order to protect a trade mark in Cambodia, the trade mark owner shall proceed with trade mark registration with the DIPR as early as possible.
  • To ensure enforceability of rights against third parties, exclusive distributors of product bearing a registered trade mark in Cambodia shall file and record the exclusive distribution right (i.e. the Distribution Contract) with the DIPR.
  • Both the registered owner of the mark and/or the exclusive distributor shall protect exclusive right in Cambodia. With this regard, an appropriate legal action provided under Cambodian law shall be taken within due time. 
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