Amendments to Intellectual Property Code of Vietnam will come in force on January 1, 2010
The current Intellectual Property Code of Vietnam was promulgated in 2005. Although this law has been regarded as almost complying with the international norms and obligations of Vietnam in joining the WTO, the application thereof in practice has revealed a number of deficiencies. Thus, the law was revised in 2009 and the amended law incorporating a number of amendments and changes will become effective as of January 1, 2010.
To patent practitioners, there are some points worth paying attention among the 2009 amendments. They include the newly introduced “secret invention” concept, the corrected time point for prior user right, the clarified first-to-file principle, and the extended timeline for examination as to substance, the amended definition for criminal acts relating to IPR and the monetary fines therefor.
In Vietnam, “secret invention” is a new concept that has been introduced to the law by the 2009 amendments to the IP Code. This is important, given the absence of any thing similar to “foreign filing licence” in other countries. This will also affect the publication and compulsory licence of secret inventions, which would otherwise be indifferent from that of any other invention.
Prior user right, as of January 1, 2010, will be conferred by acts made before the filing date or the priority date, where applicable, of the relevant patent, rather than those acts made before the publication date of the relevant patent application as the law now stands.
First-to-file principle will be also applicable in cases of multiple applications for identical or equivalent inventions filed by the same applicant(s). This clarification will remove misunderstanding the current ambiguous provision but trigger discussion about “equivalent inventions” as up to now there has been no such precedent and/or doctrine in the country.
Patent Applicants will have to wait longer to have their patent applications being examined as to substance. The time period will be extended from 12 months to 18 months, which will help to reduce the great length of backlog at the National Office of Intellectual Property by now.
For further details of the amended law, please feel free to contact us