Aside from being a member of the World Trade Organization, Vietnam also has laws on intellectual property rights. These are very similar to what are implemented worldwide but the local enforcement can still be a bit lacking.
The country has been taking great steps towards improving in this area, however. To bolster the protection of local intellectual property rights, new laws have been enacted in recent years.
Recent rulings also point to better IPR enforcement in the country. One case had the National Office of Intellectual Property (NOIP) order a partial invalidation of a patent as a means of patent protection. This case involves a patent filed for a medical device that was granted in 2016 and was primarily used to fight off infringing products that are imported to the country.
A manufacturer of the said infringing products requested for partial patent invalidation in 2017 and the NOIP granted the request based on the accounts and opinions of the involved parties.
If you want your patent to be protected in Vietnam, it’s best to register your creation at the soonest possible time. The guide below will tell you more about this process.
Vietnam is a member of the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT).
This means the application process for patents can be further accelerated by paying an additional fee and registration of patents can be made internationally via the PCT procedure, or directly in Vietnam.
The following is the procedure for filing a patent in Vietnam:
First, the applicant must secure and file an application form at the National Office of Intellectual Property of Vietnam.
The applicant must submit the following documents:
After filing, the patent application will be initially screened for basic matters of form before it will be allowed to proceed to the next stage of the application process.
Language issues as well as issues about the quality or type of drawings, potential for reproduction and pending basic requirements dictated by national legislation or treaties are all subject for formality objections.
Such regulating principles are guided or similar to The Madrid Protocol for International trade mark applications, the Paris Convention for patents or the Patent Cooperation Treaty for international patents.
At first impression it may seem that formality objections are just inconsequential stumbling blocks given by bureaucratic government organisations but from a bigger perspective, straightening them out prevents problems arising years later when enforcing intellectual property rights. They are seen as a warning for fundamental issues and be considered on their merit and corrected.
The National Office of Intellectual Property of Vietnam will review all the possible formality objections of all applications for at least two months or longer.
After checking for formality, the patent application will be published on the Vietnamese IP Gazette by NOIP (National Office of Intellectual Property). Applicants may ask for earlier publication of their patent application but usually it gets published within 19 months from the date of filing.
NOIP will also be issuing the result of its substantive examination within 18 months from the publishing date.
Those whose applications have been rejected for will be given three months to respond to the Rejection.
For those who have been approved, the patent shall be granted within three months after being sent a notice of granting by the National Office of Intellectual Property of Vietnam.
A patent for invention is valid 20 years from the filing date after which the owner may pay annually an annuity patent fee to maintain the validity of the Vietnam patent.
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