Firms Still Unconcerned about IP Protection

10:45:43 AM | 1/12/2021

Brand management is one of the important factors to enhance the attractiveness of businesses to customers and partners and improve their competitiveness on the market. However, many Vietnamese enterprises, especially SMEs, have yet to pay due attention to this matter.

Very few businesses register for protection

Business growth must be accompanied by the ability to encourage, motivate, and sustain innovation. To maximize innovation value, each economy needs to focus on building a clear legal system where intellectual property is officially recognized.

Mr. Le Ninh Giang, Director of the Center for Intellectual Property Technology Application (IPTA), said, in Vietnam, a lot of companies just focus on establishing operations and called for investment funds rather than considered registering for intellectual property protection. Currently, only 18% of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) understand correctly about intellectual property and just 6% of SMEs have an intellectual property enforcement unit. Many businesses have not yet listed their intellectual property as their asset.

In addition, many Vietnamese enterprises invested in building local brands but they remain unknown in the international market when going global. Even, their brands were stolen by foreign firms which registered such brands in other countries before the true owners did it. This caused considerable damage to them.

Giving evidence for this, IPTA Director Giang emphasized that the geographical indication of Phu Quoc for fish sauce was registered as a protected trademark in many countries, Vinataba tobacco brand was lost in many territories, and Duy Loi folding hammocks were deprived of industrial patents/designs in 2001, or Buon Ma Thuot for coffee was deprived of the geographical indication in 2011. These are costly lessons about intellectual property protection.

According to Dr. Nguyen Quoc Thinh from the Institute for Brand and Competition Strategy (BCSI), only a very small number of companies have registered for brand protection. Only 16-18% of companies recognize intellectual property assets. Up to 149 out of 250 companies do not know where or how to register for intellectual property. These raised the alarm for the status of intellectual property protection and branding.

Raising public awareness

At a recent conference on business branding and intellectual property protection held by IPTA and BCSI, experts said, given Vietnam’s deep integration, businesses will lose a lot of opportunities if they do not pay attention to intellectual property protection. It was high time they registered internationally to protect their brands and enhance their reputation in the global market as well.

According to lawyer Le Quang Vinh from Bross Law Firm and Associates, without intellectual property protection, companies will lose opportunities to export products and expand their market while facing legal risks. Besides, they will also lose benefits from free trade agreements such as CPTPP, EVFTA and RCEP.

Thus, in order not to lose their trademarks, they must actively review and quickly register intellectual property rights in foreign markets, he added. In particular, it is important to protect trademarks, designs, inventions and utility solutions. When their intellectual property was appropriated, it was necessary to quickly collect evidence and send a request to reject, cancel or invalidate the validity of intellectual property.

Sharing this point of view, Lawyer Pham Duy Khuong (SB Law Firm) said that Vietnamese companies need to have an international brand registration strategy to protect their brands and enhance their reputation in the world market. They must consider cost, time, quantity and country of registration. Currently, some countries such as Cambodia, Australia and South Korea allowed registration with reduced procedures.

Furthermore, Mr. Le Ninh Giang, Director of IPTA, said, it is very important to boost communications and social awareness on intellectual property and innovation, especially about the role and connection of innovation and intellectual property in the student and startup community.

Ms. Do Thi Xuan Huong, representative of the Institute of Intellectual Property Science, said, the institute has launched training programs for businesses in economic, technical and legal aspects related to creation and establishment of rights, commercialization and administration of intellectual property, and protection of intellectual property rights. The institute also advises and supports enterprises to explore intellectual property information, conduct protection registration, extension and validity maintenance procedures.

By Ha Thu, Vietnam Business Forum