A new circular relating to IPR in Vietnam
A long expected legal document relating to individuals and/or organisations with competence in giving opinion on IPR infringement matters has just been promulgated in Vietnam.

Ministry of Technology and Science of Vietnam has just promulgated a circular providing guidance on procedures of issuance and revocation of certificates for industrial property examiners and certificates for authorized industrial property organizations (Circular 01/2008/TT-BKHCN dated February 25, 2008). This is a long expected legal document, paving the way for private industrial property examining activities in the country. It should be noted, however, that this circular merely provides detailed guidance for the issuance and revocation procedures, and the certificates mentioned in this circular merely relate to the examining activities involved in industrial property infringement matters.


Previously, under the Civil Law 1995, which is no longer in effect, the National Office of Intellectual Property (NOIP) (which was then National Office of Industrial Property) was the first competent authority in non-contentious procedures to make judging opinion in infringement matters relating to industrial property rights. When the Intellectual Property Code (the IP Code) of Vietnam came in force, such an authority was taken away and the NOIP no longer gives opinions in infringement cases. In the interval, there had been no particular guidance on the industrial property examiners/organizations. For almost 2 years since the IP Code came in force (July 1, 2006), there has been in fact no individual or organization with competence in making authoritative opinions in infringement cases by administrative procedures. It has been observed, however, that the Vietnamese NOIP has still been asked for official opinion in certain infringement cases where the authorities involved therein such as the management market bureau or the economic police cannot proceed with administrative measures against infringement in the absence of such an opinion. Thus, the NOIP has still been resuming this responsibility though their opinion is no longer made in an affirmative form.

Now, with the advent of the new circular, the competent authorities involved in dealing with infringement cases would find it easier where alleged infringers insist the cases be concluded officially before any measures being taken. It still needs, however, to wait until the first examiners and/or the first authorized examining organizations are granted the license, which will be probably later this year.

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