On November 12rd, 2018, the 14th National Assembly approved Resolution No. 72/2018 / QH4, ratifying the Agreement on Comprehensive and Progressive Partnership for Trans-Pacific Partnership (“CPTPP“) and other relevant documents at the 6th Session. As stated in the New Zealand Foreign Ministry’s Document No. LGL / CPTPPD / 2018-15 on November 26th , 2018, the CPTPP Agreement has entered into force for Vietnam since January 14th , 2019.
After the CPTPP Agreement comes into effect, many legal documents of Vietnam must be amended to conform and comply with the rules and obligations when Vietnam is a member of the CPTPP, this requirement is also set for Law on Intellectual Property 2005, as amended in 2009 (“Law IP“).
Accordingly, international conventions on intellectual property that Vietnam must attend as follows:
- WIPO’s Budapest Treaty on International Accreditation for the Submission and Sub-Microbiology for the Purposes of the Patent Procedure (1977), as amended on September 26th , 1980, limitation: 2 years to joined (14/01/2021);
- WIPO WCT Treaty on copyright, adopted in Geneva on December 20th, 1996, limitation: 3 years to join (January 14, 2022);
- WIPO’s WPPT Treaty on Performances and Sound Recording, adopted in Geneva on December 20th, 1996, limitation: 3 years to join (January 14, 2022).
And it is recommended (optional) to participate in the Hague Agreement for the international registration of protection of industrial designs.
Basically the provisions of Vietnam’s IP Law are relatively similar to those of the IP Law in the CPTPP, but there are still some especial differences as follows:
Firstly, the CPTPP encourages the member countries to prioritize the use of e-commerce trademark registration system and transparent, concise in the process of trademark registration and extension, ensuring to facilitate the receipt of information and applicant’s response and opportunity for objections of third-party.
Secondly, for the protection of industrial designs, the CPTPP requires the member countries to fully protect. The design of the product is not only protected in one part of the product, but also in a part of the product if the product is included in the overall brand, the protection must comply with the regulation of WTO.
Thirdly, in contrast to the current provisions of IP Law in Vietnam, contracts for the use of industrial property objects, also known as licensing contracts, are not required to be registered.
Fourthly, the CPTPP extends the scope of sound protection (current laws only allow the protection of words, symbols, words and images), besides encouraging countries to protect the odor, Vietnam only implements this obligation to protect commercial trademarks which expressed by sound forms after 03 years from the valid date of CPTPP.
Fifthly, regarding the determination of a well-known mark, the CPTPP requires countries not to use the criteria of the number of countries that have protected the trademark, have recognized the well-known marks, or have been included in the list of well-known marks to decide whether to protect a well-known trademark or not?
Sixthly, the CPTPP requires strictly handling of IP infringements, both criminally dealing with trademark and copyright infringement. Trademark and copyright infringement during the good preparation for export and transit are also fined. For theft of trade secrets (e.g. intentionally accessing unauthorized computers, appropriating trade secrets, unauthorized disclosure of trade secrets via computer systems) were criminally handled.
Finally, encouraging countries to use copyrighted computer software.
In addition, when studying the IP Law, we should also pay attention to the automatic protection principle of copyright and the principle of independent protection, whereby the protection rights of authors are automatically protected in the member countries of CPTPP. This right will be effective concurrently in all countries as soon as new work is released and is copyrighted. Moreover, the owner has not to register the protection procedure again in the other country. For the principle of independent protection, an individual or organization within the territory of a member country of CPTPP apply for a protection title for an invention, utility solution, industrial design or trademark, they shall continue to apply for protection titles for products in other CPTPP member countries if they protect industrial property rights in these countries when business there.
The CPTPP Agreement is expected to bring many new opportunities for Vietnamese businesses in the process of integration with the world’s largest economies. Since the negotiations, intellectual property in the CPTPP has been one of the prominent areas of top concern by member states. Therefore, Vietnam’s IP Law has to revise the legal system of intellectual property to conform to international regulations.
With the new features by joining the CPTPP, Vietnamese businesses need to understand the content of CPTPP to protect their l rights in case of encountering litigation and disputes with foreign partners.
If you have any questions or require any additional information, please contact Apolat Legal – An International Law Firm in Viet Nam.
This article is for general information only and is not a substitute for legal advice.