The International Conventions and Treaties in the field of industrial property of which Vietnam is a member

* Stockholm Convention establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization.

The World Intellectual Property Organization referred to in abbreviated form as “WIPO” in English was established by a Convention signed at Stockholm on July 14th 1967, and entitled “Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization”. This is an intergovernmental organization and one of 16 specialized agencies of the United States with the headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. The objectives of WIPO are to promote the protection of intellectual property throughout the world through cooperation among States and to administer conventions and treaties on intellectual property. The number of contracting States of WIPO was 171 on June 22nd 1999. Vietnam became Member of WIPO as from July 2nd 1976.

* Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property

This Convention signed at Paris in 1883 and its contracting States were 155 on June 22nd 1999. Vietnam became Member of the Paris Convention as from March 8th 1949. The substantive provisions of the Convention fall into the following categories:

National treatment: each contracting State must grant the same protection to nationals of the other contracting States as it grants to its own nationals
Priority right: on the basic of the regular first application filed in one of Contracting States, the applicant may within a certain period of time (12 months for patents and Utility models, 6 months for industrial designs and trademarks) apply for protection in any of the other contracting States, and these later applications will then be regarded as if they had been filed on the same day as the first application.

In addition, the Convention lays down a few common rules, which all the contracting States must follow, such as the independence of patents granted in different contracting States for the same invention, and the right to be named in the patent, etc.

* Madrid Agreement concerning the International registration of Marks

This Agreement signed at Madrid in 1891 and it provided for the international registration of marks at the International Bureau of WIPO in Geneva. According to this Agreement, a national of one of the contracting States who wants to register his mark in several other contracting States, must first have his mark registered in the national trademark office of the country of origin. Once this is done, he may apply, through that national office, for international registration, to the International Bureau. The international registration, once affected, will be published by the International Bureau and notified to the contracting States in which the applicant seeks protection. Each such State, may, within one year, declare – with an indication of the ground for its decision – that protection cannot be granted to the mark in its territory. If such a declaration is not made within the period of one year, the international registration has the effect of a national registration.

The number of contracting States of this Agreement on June 22nd 1999 were 51. Vietnam became Member of this Agreement as from March 8,1949. Up to now, there are more than 50, 000 marks have been protected in Vietnam through Madrid Agreement.

* Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT)

The Patent Cooperation Treaty signed at Washington in 1970. The number of contracting States of this Treaty were 103 on June 22nd 1999. Vietnam became Member of this Treaty as from March 10th 1993.

The Treaty provides that an applicant who is a national or resident of a contracting State, files an “international” patent application with the national patent office of the contracting States of which the applicant is a national or resident or with the International Bureau of WIPO in Geneva.
The Treaty also provides in detail the formal requirements for international application, international search and procedures for handling such applications in national patent office of the contracting States. At present, most of foreign patent applications have been filed through PCT.

Current legislation on Intellectual Property

  • The Criminal Code of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam passed by the National Assembly on December 21st 1999 and effective from July 1st 2000 (Article 170 and 171)
  • Decree of the Government on the handling of administrative violations in the field of industrial Property (Decree No. 12/1999/ND-CP on March 6th 1999)
  • Regulations of the NOIP on forms and contents of applications for IP rights (Regulations No. 308/DK on June 11st 1997)
  • The National Office of Industrial Property under Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment administers industrial property.
  • Industrial Property and Copyright activities in cities and provinces are administered by the Industrial Property and Copyright Division under City’s and Province’s Department of Science, Technology and Environment and Department of Culture and Information, respectively.

System for ensuring Industrial Property Rights Enforcement

System of offices for hearing and enforcement of judgment:

  • People’s Courts in central provinces and cities:

Taking hearings of first instance against civil cases and administrative cases concerning industrial property; taking first instance and appeal hearings against criminal cases relating to infringements of legal provisions on industrial property.

  • Departments of Justice in central provinces and cities (Judgment Enforcement Division):

Concerning the enforcement of judgment and decisions of courts at various levels

System of administrative offices for ensuring domestic enforcement of industrial property rights:

  • Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment (Board of Inspectorate):

– Providing guidance for enforcement of legal provisions on applying remedies against administrative violation in the field industrial property;
– Handling administrative violation all over the country.
Local agencies for industrial property rights enforcement.

  • Departments of Customs in central provinces and cities:

Guiding the enforcement of industrial property laws in export and import activities in localities

  • Testing the compliance of industrial property provisions in export and import goods at border gates.