Vietnam’s Intellectual Property Law Amendment Draft: Improving IP representative’s quality

Vietnam’s Intellectual Property Law Amendment Draft: Improving IP representative’s quality

Vietnam’s Intellectual Property Law Amendment Draft: Improving IP representative’s quality

The recent proposals in Vietnam’s draft amendment of the Intellectual Property Law will help to shorten the administrative procedures. Furthermore, it also aims to improve both the quantity and quality of industrial property representatives.

According to scientists at renowned universities and institutions, one of the most troublesome problems related to research result patent is to write a patent description (including a detailed description of the invention and its scope) – a required document when filing a patent application. To write a patent description, the writers need to have an understanding of the technical field of the invention and a firm grasp of the specific rules of writing – which are quite complicated for the inexperienced.

Therefore, many people have chosen to ask for the assistance of industrial property representative organizations. These organizations provide services related to the establishment and enforcement of industrial property rights under the authorization of customers. This approach requires an additional cost, but it will save the registrant from having to worry about all the annoying and disturbing regulations and procedures.

However, if the registrants require the help of these organizations, one of the determining factors for the patentability of the invention will be the capability of the industrial property representative. Therefore, one should seek help from famous and well-known representatives to increase their chance of patentability. Not every patent application is approved following one go, after being submitted to the National Office of Intellectual Property (Ministry of Science and Technology), the application will have to go through a rigorous form and content examination. During this process, if there is a problem, the NOIP will notify the applicant for correction of the application accordingly. If the representative is good, the “exchange” process between the two parties will be shortened, and vice versa.

The problem of human resources quality 

Participating in international trade agreements has opened the door for foreign businesses to enter the Vietnamese market, combined with the policies that aim to promote domestic innovation raises the need to register for industrial property protection sharply. This also leads to an increase in the number of industrial property representative organizations in Vietnam. 

“If in 2006 there were only 65 organizations with 237 people being granted representative certificates, by 2016 it has nearly tripled, with 170 organizations and 315 people being granted representative certificates. The number of applications for registration of industrial property filed through representative organizations accounts for a high proportion and increases year on year”, according to a statistic of Dr. Tran Dac Hien, Director of Science and Technology Information Department (Ministry of Science and Technology) in 2017.

However, many people are giving their concerns over the fact that the quality of industrial property representation services in Vietnam is currently sinking due to the somewhat inappropriate regulations. Previously, the necessary condition to practice industrial property representation services was “graduated from university with a major in legal” (Decree 63/1996/ND-CP on the industrial property), amended by Decree 06/2001/ND-CP to “graduated from the university”, i.e. all majors are accepted. 

Since then, “the quality of industrial property representatives has decreased a lot, reflected in the number of applications submitted to the NOIP through representatives that have been rejected or have had to supplement corrections right from the formal examination, and it is also indicated in the ability of the representatives to argue and discuss directly with the responsible agency to establish and enforce industrial property rights”, according to an analysis report on the draft amendments to the IP Law.

How to fix the problem?

This obstacle in human resources quality prolongs the granting time, affects the development or commercialization of the patent of the owner, and also contributes to the reduction of the NOIP’s processing speed. The impact of low-quality personnel is even more pronounced with complex technical inventions. For example, there is an enterprise that wanted to register for patent protection in the pharmaceutical field, yet, they can not find an industrial property representative because the representative organizations found that it was too difficult to write a description of this invention. Subsequently, that enterprise has to write the patent description themselves and it takes them a lot of time because they are unfamiliar with the process.

In order to resolve this barrier, the draft amendments to the IP Law proposed to require the representative to have a university degree in law with all fields of industrial property representation (patents, trademarks, utility solutions, etc.) and have an additional diploma in science and technology for the field of patent. “The introduction of this regulation is essential to improve the quality of the current industrial property representation service system in Vietnam,” according to the draft evaluation report.

In addition to the above goal, this proposal is also in line with international trends. Most countries in the world such as the US, Europe, etc. all require industrial property representative practitioners to graduate from a university with a legal major. In addition, according to Vietnam’s commitments in the WTO trade agreement, the industrial property representation service is considered a legal document service. Consequently, the person performing this service should have a basic background in legislation to ensure operational efficiency in practice.

*** Other Articles***

– You could visit here to see the Trademark Registration in Vietnam.

– You can also check the Vietnam Trademark Law: Detailed Guide And Legal Notes.

– You could check Questions of filing trademark in Vietnam: POA, Trademark requirement and trademark fee in Vietnam.

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