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Intellectual Property Rights in Vietnam

By Dezan Shira & Associates
Posted: 12th July 2013 10:35
Vietnam has a comparatively strong intellectual property (IP) framework which includes several multilateral agreements and other relevant bilateral trade agreements. This article will provide an introduction to the legislative framework for intellectual property rights (IPR) in Vietnam, including an overview of the procedures for registering IP.
In order to catch up with the development of the local and global economy, Vietnam’s National Assembly passed the Law on Intellectual Property Rights in 2005, which was amended and supplemented in 2009. According to the Law on IPR, three major IP rights are protected in Vietnam: copyright and related rights; industrial property rights; and rights in plant varieties.
In September 2010, in an effort to strengthen the protection of IPR after entering into a bilateral trade agreement with the U.S. and participation in the World Trade Organization, the government issued sterner administrative sanctions for violations of industrial property rights, along with some important changes to the IPR regulations in Vietnam.
In addition, a multitude of other laws govern other issues related to IPR, such as the 2004 Law on Competition and the 2005 Civil Code, along with various decrees, decisions and circulars promulgated by various authorities to guide their implementation.
Aside from local IPR legislation, Vietnam also participates in international IPR conventions such as the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, the Rome Convention, Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement, and the Madrid Protocol. With these involvements, Vietnam proves its willingness to participate in the international economic market.
The National Office of Intellectual Property of Vietnam (NOIP) is an agency under the Ministry of Science and Technology and assumes the functions of exercising state management and providing services in the field of intellectual property as stipulated in the Law on IPR and relevant legislation. Some of the duties and competence of NOIP are administrating the registration of industrial designs, trademarks, brand names and other industrial property rights and conducting legal appraisals to settle intellectual property disputes.
Registration Procedure
Applications for registering IPR, including copyrights and related rights and industrial property rights, should be prepared in accordance with NOIP’s requirements and submitted directly or by mail to the NOIP office or its representative offices. Organizations and individuals native to Vietnam, foreign individuals permanently residing in Vietnam, and foreign organizations and individuals which have a production or trading establishment in Vietnam can file applications for the registration of industrial property rights either directly or through a lawful representative in Vietnam.
Foreign individuals not permanently residing in Vietnam and foreign organizations and individuals that do not have a production or trading establishment in Vietnam should file applications for the registration of industrial property rights through a lawful representative in Vietnam.
Foreign applicants can also obtain protection for industrial property rights in Vietnam by filing an international application designating or selecting Vietnam through the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) system. Applicants must carry out procedures for registering an invention under the PCT’s provisions with NOIP within 31 months from the international filing date or from the priority date, if a priority right is claimed in the application.
Dossier Content and Timeline
All fees and charges relating to IPR applications are regulated by the Ministry of Finance. Details of the application timeline and dossier content can be found on NOIP’s website in both Vietnamese and English.
Copyrights and related rights
To register copyrights or related rights, the required application documents include:
1.    A declaration form for registration of the copyrights/related rights;
2.    Two copies of the work that is the subject matter of the application;
3.    Power of attorney, if the application is filed through an agent applying on behalf of the copyright owner;
4.    Documents evidencing the right to file an application, if the applicant acquired that right from another person as a result of inheritance, transfer or assignment;
5.    A document showing the agreement of all co-authors if the work has multiple authors; and
6.    A document showing the agreement of all co-owners if the copyrights/related rights have multiple owners.
Items 3-6 must be prepared in Vietnamese. The issuance of the registration certificate for copyright and related rights takes a maximum of 15 days from the date of receipt of the valid application.
Industrial property rights
To register industrial property rights, the required application documents include:
1.    A request made in the prescribed form;
2.    Documents, samples and information identifying the industrial property object requiring protection;
3.    Power of attorney, if the application is filed through a representative;
4.    Documents evidencing the right to file the registration, if acquired by the applicant from another person;
5.    Documents evidencing the priority right, if claimed; and
6.    Receipts of prescribed fees and charges.
These documents should be prepared in Vietnamese. Any documents prepared in a foreign language must be translated into Vietnamese at the request of the IPR State administrative authority.
An application filed for industrial property rights is subject to examination in order to evaluate its validity, which takes 1 month from the filing date for a patent application.
The patent/certificate will be recorded in the National Register and the decision on granting the patent/certificate will be published by the NOIP in the Industrial Property Official Gazette within 2 months from the date of issuance, after which the applicant pays a publication fee.
Duration of Protection
Once protections are granted, they are effective throughout the territory of Vietnam.
This article was first published on Vietnam Briefing.
Dezan Shira & Associates is a specialist foreign direct investment practice, providing corporate establishment, business advisory, tax advisory and compliance, accounting, payroll, due diligence and financial review services to multinationals investing in emerging Asia. Since its establishment in 1992, the firm has grown into one of Asia’s most versatile full-service consultancies with operational offices across China, Hong Kong, India, Singapore and Vietnam as well as liaison offices in Italy and the United States.
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