We blogged a few weeks ago about naming your company, and how the Ministry of Commerce will make sure that your proposed name is not already taken by another firm. It was all pretty straightforward, but left a glaring gap: trademarks! The list of registered trademarks and registered company names were totally separate.

Say you’re selling some kind of consumer good through a distributor in Cambodia. You’ve done the smart thing and properly registered all your trademarks. But the distributor gets sneaky, and registers YOUR trademark as his company name. As there was no cross-checking, the company name would probably accepted. Then it’s up to you to try and sue him for trademark infringement, not a fun proposition.

Well, the registrars of companies and trademarks (both within the Ministry of Commerce), are finally talking to each other. From now on, proposed company names will be checked against the list of trademarks. There are still some issues to iron out – like what happens when the company is in an entirely different field from the trademarked goods – but this is a really important step in Cambodian IP law.

You may find that it adds a couple of days to the company registration process but it may save you headache and expense in the longer term.

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