Vietnam is a long time signatory to the Paris Convention, the Madrid Agreement on International Trademark Registration, and the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) and became a member of the World Intellectual Property Organization in 1976. On 27 June 1997, Vietnam entered into an Agreement on Copyright with the US. According to the Vietnam – US Bilateral Trade Agreement, Vietnam is also obliged to adhere to the Berne Convention.
The National Office of Industrial Property (NOIP) is the authority responsible for the registration of industrial property and the resolution of disputes with regard to industrial property in the first instance. Foreign organizations and individuals who seek to register their industrial ownership should file their applications through an authorized agent, who will transfer their application to the NOIP. Also, trademark license agreements must be registered with the NOIP. The Office of Copyright Protection under the Ministry of Culture and Information has also been established and is responsible for the protection of copyright. Works may be registered with the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.
Currently, patents are protected for a period of 20 years. A certificate of utility solutions may be granted for 10 years. A certificate of industrial design is granted for five years and may be renewed every five years; however, the total effective period of a certificate cannot exceed 15 years. Certificates of trademarks are granted for 10 years with no restrictions on the number of renewals. Some moral rights of copyrighted works are protected indefinitely, and other rights are protected up to 50 years for post mortem actors.
What are the new regulations governing intellectual property?
There are some new regulations on intellectual property area in respect of (i) imposition of administrative sanctions against intellectual property, (ii) examination of application for registration of industrial property rights, (iii) protection of plant variety rights and (iv) innovation charter. These regulations are stipulated in the following legal documents:
- Decree No. 131/2013/ND-CP dated 16 October 2013 regarding settlement of administrative violations on copy rights and related rights
The Decree provides for administrative violations of copyright and related rights, sanctions, power and procedures to deal with the violations.
- Decree No. 99/2013/ND-CP of 29 August 2013 regarding settlement of administrative violations in respect of industrial property
The Decree provides for administrative violations in industrial property, sanctions, power and procedures to deal with the violations.
- Circular No. 05/2013/TT-BKHCN dated 20 February 2013
The Circular provides for amendments on regulation on examination of application for registration of industrial property rights such as time-limit for examination of forms and contents of the applications, the first-to-file basis, supporting documents regarding registration of trademarks.
- Circular No. 16/2013/TT-BNNPTNT dated 28 February 2013
The Circular provides for the procedures for registration of rights to plant varieties such as application forms, application fees, representative agencies and evaluation agencies.
- Circular 18/2013/TT-BKHCN dated 25 October 2013 regarding innovation charter.
The Circular provides for criteria and procedures for recognition of innovation charter.