Overlapping copyright and trademark protection in Vietnam

Overlapping copyright and trademark protection in Vietnam

Copyright and trademark (subject matters of industrial property rights) are two subject groups protected by the law on intellectual property, which protect different subject matters. The copyright protects literary, artistic and scientific works, while the trademark protects signs used to distinguish goods and/or services of different organizations or individuals in trading. Because of their different purposes, copyright and trademark protection have different origins and follow different rules on ownership, formality requirements, protection mechanisms. Still, copyright and trademark protection may overlap in some specific cases.  

Some attention to overlapping copyright and trademark protection: 

  1. Overlapping right means the case where the same subject matter is protected by two or more different forms or required continuous protection from the competent authority through the registration in various forms. Areas, where the traditional contours of copyright and trademark protection may overlap, are the protection of artistic signs or emblems used in the course of trade.
  2. One subject matter may be subject to overlap protection due to a will of the same owner or different entities. For example, a logo is automatically protected under the copyright provisions by entity A, and it may be protected under the trademark ones by entity B.
  3. Advantages: This simultaneous copyright and trademark protection over one subject matter shall bring many benefits to the right holder, such as:  
    • Prolonging the protection duration; 
    • Two different protection mechanisms may be applied to one subject matter to maximumly expand the protection scope.
  4. Disadvantages: 
    • Overlapping copyright and trademark protection may generate unnecessary costs for the right owners or holders, causing unfair competition and extreme abuse of the protection. 
    • Overlaps in protection forms between different right holders may cause interest conflicts and even disputes among parties.
    • Overlaps in intellectual property right protection may cause difficulties for executing agencies in settling intellectual property issues with overlapping factors. 

Intellectual property overlaps in general, and copyright-trademark protection overlaps in particular, are the existing matters in many countries. For enterprises or business entities, overlapping protection of rights is “not a bad choice” to maximize the scope of protection and prolong rights by exploiting the gap and difference between copyright and trademark protection. However, the overlapping right is also considered a factor against the purpose of the intellectual property system, which is considered to encourage professional, creation and equity in the competitive market. Therefore, the exploitation of overlapping rights should be carried out in a careful manner in order to create advantages for enterprises. 

Disclaimer: This article is for general information only and is not a substitute for legal advice. Apolat Legal is a Vietnamese law firm with experience and capacity to advise on matters related to Intellectual Property Rights. Please click here to learn more about our services and contact our lawyers in Vietnam for advice via email info@apolatlegal.com.

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