Law & Practice

CAMBODIA: Government Enacts Consumer Protection Law

Published: February 15, 2020

David Haskel Abacus IP Phnom Penh, Cambodia Brands and Innovation Committee

Thea Pheng Abacus IP Phnom Penh, Cambodia Legislation and Regulation Committee


Thavsothaly Tok BNG Legal Phnom Penh, Cambodia

The Consumer Protection Law, enacted on November 2, 2019, establishes significant new consumer rights and rules governing competition, with major implications for intellectual property (IP) rights. The stated goals of the law are to do the following:

  • Protect consumers;
  • Ensure trading is fairly competitive; and
  • Promote trust between consumers and businesses.

The law also prohibits a range of unfair acts, defined broadly as any act that may be misleading or deceptive, whether intentional or not. It further prohibits a number of unfair practices—essentially common patterns of unfair acts that include pyramid schemes, coercion, unfair solicitation, and bait-and-switch tactics.

Perhaps the most important change for the trademark system is the creation of a consumer right to access information to allow them to distinguish between goods or services, and to claim compensation for violations. While the details will come with the implementing regulation, in principle, this would create a private right of action for consumers against trademark infringers. Further, the law specifies several new penalties for acts that may constitute trademark infringement. These include revoking an infringer’s business license and prohibiting its managers from further managerial positions, which currently are not provided for under the Trademark Law.

A National Consumer Protection Committee is to be established within the Ministry of Commerce, with new powers to investigate and punish a range of unfair acts and practices. According to the text of the law, the Committee will be capable of hearing and issuing administrative penalties for acts that constitute trademark infringement. Sector-specific consumer associations will also have the authority to represent consumers and enforce their rights before the Committee and the courts.

Finally, minimum information standards are to be promulgated by regulators and will require information to be in the Khmer language.

This long-awaited law represents an important step in the regulation of Cambodia’s consumer market. While much of the details will be specified in implementing regulations, businesses are urged to ensure their practices are in compliance as the law is currently enforceable.

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