- Subjects protected under the IP Law of Vietnam
According to the IP Law of Vietnam, subjects eligible for protection are broadly categorized into copyrights and related rights, industrial property rights and rights to plant varieties.
- Copyrights and related rights
Copyrights include literary, artistic and scientific works. For related rights, the enforcement actions. The amendments and supplements to the Law on Intellectual subjects consist of performances, audio and visual fixations (sound and video recordings), broadcast programs, and satellite signals carrying coded programs.
- Industrial property rights
This category covers such subjects as patents, industrial designs, and designs of semiconductor closed circuits, trade secrets, trademarks, trade names and geographical indications. The right to act against unfair competition is also included in this category.
- Rights to plant varieties
Subjects in this category include plant varieties and their reproductive and harvested materials.
- Protection of IP rights
Most IP subject matters are protected upon registration, including patents (utility models), industrial designs, trademarks, geographical indications, semiconductor circuit layout designs and plant variations. To be protected they need to undergo examination by a competent authority (i.e. the National Office of Intellectual Property “NOIP”) and such examination varies from one subject matter to the other.
Registration, however, is not a prerequisite for the protection of copyrights, trade names and trade secrets. Copyrights are automatically protected as and when they are in a tangible form. Despite this, authors or copyright holders are still recommended to seek a certificate/registration for their works as it serves as prime facie evidence of their ownership. As for trade names, they are protected as long as they used openly in the course of trade by the relevant companies or enterprises, without having to be registered.
In terms of trade secrets, they are protected without registration, provided they have not yet fallen into the public domain, can give their holders advantages over those who do not possess such trade secrets and the holders’ take reasonable steps to keep them confidential.
- Duration for IPRs protection
The duration of protection varies from one subject matter to the other depending on its form:
- For copyright and copyright-related rights
A copyright comprises 02 specific types of rights: moral rights and economic rights. Generally, the moral rights of the authors shall be protected for an indefinite term, excepting the right to publish, or authorize other persons to publish the works. Moral rights subsist in the works as long as the economic rights.
The economic rights of copyright holders shall be protected within the definite terms stated below:
- 75 years from the date of first publication for cinematographic works, photographic works, stage works, applied-art-works and anonymous works. In case a cinematographic work or stage work has not been published within 25 years from the date of its creation, such a term of protection shall be calculated from the date of its creation.
- For other works, including anonymous works at the date when the information of the author becomes apparent, the term of protection shall last for the whole life of the author (or the last surviving co-author), plus 50 years after his or her death.
- Copyright-related rights shall be basically protected within a term of 50 years from the year subsequent to the creation of the protected subject matters.
- For industrial property rights
- An invention shall be protected from the date of the grant of a patent for this invention until the 20th anniversary day of the filing date (i.e. the date on which the invention is applied/filed for protection);
- A utility solution shall be protected from the date of the grant of a patent for this solution until the 10th anniversary day of the filing date;
- An industrial design shall be protected from the date of the grant of a patent for this design until the 5th anniversary day of the filing date. The term can be consecutively extended by 5 years twice;
- The designs of semiconductor closed circuits shall be protected from the date of the grant of a certificate for the designs until one of the following days (depending on whichever is the earliest day):
- the 10th anniversary day of the filing date;
- the 10th anniversary day of the date on which it is first commercially exploited by the entitled person or his/ her licensee anywhere across the world; or
- the 15th anniversary day of the creation of the layout design.
- A trademark shall be protected from the date of the grant of a registration for the trademark until the 10th anniversary day of the filing date. The term can renewed for unlimited consecutive 10 year terms thereafter; and
- A geographical indication shall be protected from the date of the grant of a certificate for the indication. Such protections last as long as the geographical indication remains qualified for protection.
- For the rights to plant varieties
A plant variety shall be protected within the territory of Vietnam. Such protection shall last, from the date of the grant of a corresponding certificate, for 25 years in terms of timber trees and vines, and 20 years in terms of the other types of plant varieties.