Trademark registration challenges local firms

22-Jul-2016 Intellasia | TBKTSG | 6:00 AM Print This Post

Vietnamese enterprises have bemoaned that they are having a hard time dealing with trademark registrations both at home and abroad, a recent conference heard.

Lawyer Pham Thi Thoa from Apolat Legal Law Firm said the National Office of Intellectual Property of Vietnam (NOIP) is often late in giving updates on trademark applications and their statuses on its website.

There were cases in which it took a year for companies to learn that the registration had ended in failure, Thoa told reporters on the sidelines of the conference on trademarks in Asean countries last week.

The firms could have applied for different trademarks if they had been informed earlier, Thoa said, adding that a lot of money and time could have been saved.

She also criticised the weird registration regulations, particularly a rule that stipulates that applications by two firms for the same trademark on the same day will be automatically rejected, unless the parties involved manage to reach some sort of agreement.

Such rules give rise to unhealthy competition and may put older and prestigious firms at risk of losing their own brands to new companies, Thoa said, calling for a review of the rules.

Le Trung Tho of Hoang Ngoc Joint Stock Company said many domestic firms still care little about registration of their brands. For businesses who are fully aware of the need to protect their brands, the registration process would not be easy either.

According to a representative of dairy company NutiFood Vietnam, local businesses also have difficulty registering their trademarks in overseas markets due to inadequate guidance and limited resources for research.

Tran Giang Khue, deputy head of the NOIP’s HCM City office, said a trademark is only valid within the country of application, which means exporters need to register their trademarks in their export markets to protect their brands.

Legal mechanisms are different among countries in the region. Rules on intellectual property protection in Singapore and Thailand are strict while those in other markets are usually lax and incomplete. Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Singapore and the Philippines have joined the Madrid System, which facilitates international trademark registrations.


Category: Business, Vietnam

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