Protecting intellectual property key to innovation: Minister

Sum Manet / Khmer Times

Following an application from a local company to patent the process of turning banana trees into fabric, the Ministry of Industry and Handicraft reminded entrepreneurs making unique products of the importance of protecting their intellectual property.

The Cambodia Women Entrepreneurs Association (CWEA) recently submitted an application to gain a patent for a process that turns banana trees into items of clothing.

“In our country there are a lot of banana farms. Turning banana trees into clothes can provide a revenue stream for many people,” said Eng Lykoung, a representative of the organisation.

“Processing banana trees into fabric and making clothes with that fabric helps farmers financially and creates jobs,” she added.

In the wake of the application, Cham Prasidh, the Minister of Industry and Handicraft, said that protecting intellectual property through trademarks, copyright, patent or trade secret is critical to fostering innovation, and urged companies that have worked hard to create their own product or formulate their own business ideas to protect their intellectual property.

In June 2017, the ministry signed an agreement with the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore to have it assist the ministry with the issuance of patents for intellectual property.

The validation agreement between the European Patent Organisation and Cambodia, a pact envisioned to protect European patents in the Kingdom, entered into force in March. Cambodia has also signed patent agreements with China, Singapore and Japan.

Cambodia became the 151st member to sign the international Patent Cooperation Treaty in December 2016.