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Secretariat recalibrating national IP policy

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Ministry of Commerce in Phnom Penh. Heng Chivoan

Secretariat recalibrating national IP policy

The government is reviewing the draft National Intellectual Property Policy in a bid to make the legal instrument more comprehensive and in-depth, and create a more developed and sustainable intellectual property (IP) landscape.

Ministry of Commerce adviser and director-general for Intellectual Property Rights Suon Vichea on February 16 attended a consultation meeting on the draft policy.

Commissioned by the Council of Ministers to translate existing IP strategic plans into a national policy, the Secretariat of the National Committee for Intellectual Property has conducted studies and analyses for nearly a year to optimally accomplish the job, with input gathered from relevant ministries and institutions, he told the event.

Secretariat officials actively participated in the tasks at hand and attended a series of meetings, leading to the completion of the latest version of the draft national policy on December 29, he said.

Vichea said “lively discussions” and exchange of additional input made the draft instrument more consistent, effective and comprehensive, as well as more responsive to economic, trade and industrial contexts and the emergence of new technologies.

The national policy will hence be better able to guide development of a stronger IP system in Cambodia that more effectively provides superior safeguards and perks, attracts investors, creates jobs, and bolsters research on new products, he added.

He explained that advancements in IP infrastructure is a priority area of the government’s market economy approach, and plays a key role in promoting economic growth and development.

IP-oriented work is structured in such a way that allows for the direct and indirect engagement of many stakeholders, both at the intergovernmental and inter-ministerial levels, he said, underscoring that the involvement of the private sector and the general public is “indispensable”.

He said the ministry’s Department of Intellectual Property Rights, which heads the secretariat, “has worked hard to reform and consistently implement government political programmes and strategies to prop up the IP landscape in Cambodia, by preparing laws, regulations, and action plans for three years”.

This, Vichea said, is “in conformity with the prime minister’s advice to turn the threat of Covid-19 into opportunities for sweeping and in-depth reforms”.

He said the national policy would also strengthen relevant institutions in terms of effective and balanced management of the IP framework and pertinent laws, and prescribe the development of physical infrastructure to enhance protections.

The document will also underpin research and development (R&D) capacities of public institutions and the private sector, beef up enforcement of IP laws, and strengthen cooperation and relations among relevant institutions, he added.

He went on to say that the instrument is designed with the vision to develop the Cambodian IP system into a driving force for economic, commercial, industrial, cultural, tourism and agricultural development.

The outlined IP safeguards address domestic products, brand reputation, cultural works, inventions, genetic resources, traditional knowledge and cultural property, among other themes, he said.

The national policy seeks to inspire creativity and innovation, and promote cultural and creative industries along with R&D of technological innovations, in response to Industry 4.0 and other digital socio-economic trends, with particular emphasis on the achievement of associated Cambodian visions for 2025, he added.

To more effectively spur economic development, he said, the document focuses on seven main areas: agriculture; culture; education and raising public knowledge; health; trade and industry; tourism; and science and technology.

Royal Academy of Cambodia economics researcher Ky Sereyvath told The Post on February 17 that the national policy would be crucial to driving innovation.

“I support this national IP policy because it serves as a foundation for our economy to grow through innovation. Without IP guarantees, people would merely resort to copying each other’s works, and hence prevent the development of new ideas,” he said.

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