Vietnam Trademark Law: Detailed Guide And Legal NotesPaul - AAA IPRIGHT
The protection of the intellectual property in Vietnam is quite new and until 2005, the first law was promulgated to regulate this issue. With the economic integration, Vietnam IP Law is more and more developed, especially Vietnam trademark law is being improved to protect this object well. All legal notes to trademark in Vietnam shall be discussed as follows.
In Vietnam, trademark means any sign used to distinguish goods or services of different organizations or individuals and a Vietnam trademark shall be eligible for protection when it satisfies the following conditions: “It is a visible sign in the form of letters, words, drawings or images including holograms, or a combination thereof, represented in one or more colours; It is capable of distinguishing goods or services of the trademark owner from those of other subjects.” When a trademark of an individual or an organization is protected, they shall have rights to deal with others who violate such trademark, although the registration of a trademark is not compulsory in Vietnam.
In addition, Vietnam applied the rule “first to file”, which is the same with many countries such as Laos, Cambodia, South Korea, Canada, Thailand, China, the EU, Indonesia, Japan, Philippines, meaning that the person, who files a trademark registration application the first, shall have prior rights with that trademark, no matter how long others use it. Hence, the use for a trademark in Vietnam is not the evidence to prove that you have rights for such trademark.
In the respect of procedures of vietnam trademark registration, before filing a trademark application, the holder should conduct Vietnam trademark search to undertake that they have a good chance to register their trademark successfully. After, they should register that trademark as soon as possible and the approximately time frame for trademark registration is 18-24 months without an opposition. However, within the time from when the application is gazetted by NOIP to registration, others can file an opposition against the holder’s trademark if having legitimate reasons. Finally, after the trademark is registered successfully without opposition, the holder is granted a protection certificate and their trademark is protected in 10 years from the time of filing the application. In this time, the holder has rights to use their trademark, oppose the subsequent conflicting application, bring a cancellation action against a subsequent conflicting registration, sue for infringement against confusingly similar third party trademark use, license other third parties to use the trademark, apply for seizure by customs authorities for importation of counterfeit goods and obtain damages for infringement. Moreover, the holder may renew the protection certificate more times with 10 years per time with necessary documents which are power of attorney and original certificate of Vietnam trademark registration. In case of that the renewable date has expired, 6 months is a grace period for registration renewal.
After receiving protection certificate of Vietnam trademark, the holder does not need proof of use for trademark in Vietnam. However, the trademark in Vietnam must be used practically and when having a request, the owner need to prove their use of trademark by proving that the holder have carried out trading actions with their trademark such as advertising, establishing business locations and especially providing customers with their items/services. If the trademark has not been used by its owner or the licensee of the owner without justifiable reasons for five consecutive years, the effectiveness of the Vietnam trademark shall be terminated.
Finally, in addition to the provisions of Vietnam Trademark laws, with the integration, the law on trademark is regulated by Treaties, Conventions, Bilateral and Multilateral Agreements which are Trips, Paris Convention, Madrid Agreement, Protocol Relating to the Madrid Agreement, Nice Agreement, Vienna Agreement, Vietnam-US Bilateral Agreement,…etc. to protect international trademark as well as Vietnamese trademark is protected in other countries.
In conclusion, thanks to global economic integration, the Vietnam law on Intellectual Property, especially on trademark, is more and more enhanced to protect the right of individuals and organizations. However, the vietnam trademark law still has many shortcomings and needs to be improved more to meet national and international requirements.
 Article 72 of Law 50/2005/QH11 on Intellectual Property
 Vietnam __ Country Guides Essential Information on Trademark Protection Worldwide
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