Intellectual property (IP) protection is a vital tool in the creation and safekeeping of business assets that include intangible creations of the human intellect such as inventions, literary and artistic works, designs and symbols, names and images used in commerce and thus warrants protection under the law. In Vietnam, the IP landscape is governed by an agency called the National Office of Intellectual Property of Vietnam (NOIP), which comes under the Ministry of Science and Technology. With the aim of strengthening Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) protection, the government of Vietnam issued sterner administrative sanctions for violations of industrial property rights and brought some important changes in the IPR regulations in Vietnam in September 2010. To further foster the IP environment, Vietnam agreed to negotiate for a free trade agreement with the European Union in 2016 as it has weighty IP provisions.
Intellectual Property Rights in Vietnam
In Vietnam, the National Office of Intellectual Property (NOIP) is in charge of anything and everything pertaining to intellectual property services, for example, developing IP strategy and publishing advice, protecting different forms of IP, etc. Whether it’s about setting up a business in Vietnam or simply about import-export, registering to the IP rights is a must in the Vietnamese market. Vietnam has segregated their IP protection instruments into 5 categories:
Patent is a territorial right which is granted exclusively for the protection of the commercial inventions. This right enables the patent owner to decide whether or not or how his invention could be used by others. This law operates under the first-to-file policy i.e. if two people apply for a patent on the same invention, the first one to apply gets the patent. These invention patents are valid for 20 years from the filing date.
The right that creators have over their piece of work is legally termed as copyright. This right is granted for the protection of written or published works. Copyright is further classified into two types – economic rights and moral rights. The duration of this right is 50 years from the time of publication.
A sign or symbol which has the capability to distinguish one enterprise form others is known as a trademark. The duration of this right is 10 years but it can be renewed by paying additional fees. Trademark is a private right and is mandated by the court.
4. Geographical Identification
A mark imprinted on products which implies a particular geographical origination or specific qualities or reputation of that origin is known as geographical identification (GI). If a product’s quality does not match up to the applicable standards then this right enables the one who has this right to restrict the third party to produce or publish that product.
5. Industrial Design
An industrial design refers to the factor of an article constituting its decorative or fancy appearance. This right enables the owner of the article to restrict the third parties from producing or publishing a copy of the design. As a person registers for this right, his piece of work becomes protected and thus cannot be violated.
Benefits of Intellectual Property Services
- Intellectual property registration acts as a mark of the genuineness of a business. By registering an IP, an entrepreneur legally gets the right of ownership of the IP, and the right to prevent others from using the IP without the authorization and consent of the IP owner
- An IP disables the third parties to steal one’s market share by restricting impersonators from copying the same idea or concept
- An IP can be licensed to third parties for commercial benefits
- An IP can be sold if required or even can be used to raise equity for a business
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