Criminal Code, 2009

Criminal Code, 2009
June 18 14:09 2015

The Criminal Code was passed on June 29, 2009 and came into force on January 1, 2010. It created a few new rules amending and supplementing some articles of the former Criminal Code, 1999.

When it comes to intellectual property provisions, only two changes in the Criminal Code, 2009 are of interest. The first one concerns the addition of a new article 170a on copyrights and related rights. Infringements upon copyrights were so far foreseen by article 131 of the former Criminal Code and the risked fines were extremely low. Related rights were so far absent from the Criminal Code, 1999. The new Criminal Code ensures that infringers upon copyrights and related rights can now be fined (between 50 million and 500 million dong) or subjected to a non-custodial sentence (maximum of 2 years). A more important fine (between 400 million and 1 billion dong) and a custodial sentence from 6 months to 3 years are however foreseen for organized crimes and for recidivists.

The second change concerns the amendment of the article 171 on industrial property rights, which sets up more important fines. Fines were indeed comprised between 20 million and 200 million dong and no fine was foreseen for infringement in organized manner and recidivism, whereas they are now at the same level as for copyrights and related rights.

Another change, less visible, is the removal of the expression “for business purposes” to which has been preferred the term “on a commercial scale”. However, the expression “commercial scale” has not been defined yet.