Vietnamese Firms Urged to Pay More Attention to IP Law

11:41:53 AM | 7/10/2019

Businesses need to pay more attention to intellectual property in the current context of intensive international integration, according to experts.

Strengthened IP protection for businesses

At the Workshop on “Protecting Designs and Trademarks for Vietnamese Enterprises” held by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), Mr. Denis Croze, Director of Singapore Office of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), said that intellectual property right is a basic concept used to assess the quality of business operations. In particular, in the current context of increasingly intense competition among businesses in many industries, fields and countries, intellectual property rights are intangible assets and increasingly seen by the owners and managers as valuable assets that bring financial prosperity to their businesses. These are the added values ​​that create profit, prestige and brand for businesses in the marketplace, he analyzed.

Seeing this issue from a practical perspective of authorities, Dr. Vu Tien Loc, President of VCCI, noted that Vietnam's economy has started a new game as it signed the EU - Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) and EU - Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA) with the European Union (EU) on June 30, 2019. European countries are very familiar with the use of legal instruments such as intellectual property laws to protect interests of their businesses. Meanwhile, the Intellectual Property Law in general and related sanctions are still unfamiliar to many Vietnamese enterprises, he noted. To date, Vietnam has been a member of many intellectual property treaties like Paris Treaty, Bern Convention, Rome Convention and Stockholm Convention. The country is taking steps to join the Hague Convention on international registration of industrial designs. Therefore, the VCCI President hoped that the Vietnamese businesses would pay more attention to this field in the coming time to confidently reach out the “vast sea” and accept higher level market rules.

IP registration is urgently required

Mr. Le Ngoc Lam, Deputy Director of the National Office of Intellectual Property of Vietnam (NOIP), as Vietnam's economy has grown by leaps and bounds: Being an official member of important bilateral and multilateral free trade agreements such as EVFTA and CPTPP, the government and relevant authorities necessarily set new standards in order to best support the Vietnamese business community to enforce intellectual property rights in Vietnam and on the international market.

From a perspective of government, Vietnam paid early attention to laws on intellectual property by establishing early relationships with major world intellectual property law organizations in the world such as WIPO and International Trademark Association. However, domestic companies are not well aware of benefits of intellectual property rights. Therefore, in many transactions, especially those related to foreign factors and international partners, many Vietnamese businesses are exposed to great risks and losses, both materially and spiritually. Some businesses have paid a dear price like going bankrupt or losing their brands to foreigners. Typical cases include Ben Tre coconut candy, Trung Nguyen coffee, Buon Ma Thuot coffee, Phu Quoc fish sauce, and Vifon products.

Hence, one important EVFTA provision is commitments to intellectual property rights, Mr. Lam said. Accordingly, the registration of industrial property rights, including the right to industrial designs and trademarks, is an essential requirement for Vietnamese enterprises. And, if done well, the protection of intellectual property rights according to these international standards will give a helping hand to Vietnamese enterprises to conquer the EU market and the world as a whole.

Anh Phuong