06:15 | 04/09/2020 Cooperation
(VEN) - Vietnam has joined in many bilateral and multilateral free trade agreements, sharing commitments to intellectual property (IP) protection and enforcement. Given Vietnam’s wider and deeper integration into the global economy, businesses can no longer afford to neglect IP protection.
Vu Xuan Truong from the Institute for Brand and Competitiveness Strategy said IP plays an essential role in protecting innovative results, consumers and society by controlling quality and preventing counterfeiting of goods. In addition, IP affirms the exclusive rights of enterprises to inventions, research and products.
Bui Manh Hung, deputy head of the Legal Department under the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) branch in Ho Chi Minh City, said that under new-generation free trade agreements, such as the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), manufacturers must pay attention to origin, provide full information on labels and promote registration of trademarks, IP rights and geographical indications.
Ngo Dac Thuan, deputy general director in charge of technology at the Research and Development Center under the Saigon Hi-Tech Park, said businesses have benefited from IP rights in their development process. While developed countries attach special importance to IP, Vietnam has not paid much attention to such intangible assets. The country often evaluates enterprises based on their tangible assets, such as capital and land. Creative products are relatively easy to steal given the lack of adequate IP protection and enforcement.
Thorough grasp and serious enforcement
The awareness and full implementation of commitments on IP rights in the CPTPP and EVFTA are of great importance, helping businesses improve their competitiveness and maintain their market positions.
On IP, the EVFTA includes higher protection levels for copyrights, inventions, pharmaceuticals and geographical indications than the World Trade Organization (WTO) provides. These levels meet the provisions of Vietnamese law.
Regarding geographical indications, Vietnam undertakes to protect 160 EU geographical indications and the EU will protect 39 geographical indications of Vietnam. Vietnam’s geographical indications mostly apply to agricultural products and food. In terms of trademarks, Vietnam and the EU are committed to applying transparent and favorable registration procedures, including an electronic database.
Nguyen Thi Thu Trang, director of the WTO and International Trade Center (WITC) under the VCCI, said strict regulations stipulated by free trade agreements and protection policies of markets require enterprises and the economy to raise their IP awareness.
Enterprises’ lack of understanding of IP opens them up to lawsuits. Therefore, enterprises must ensure they register patents or exclusive certificates recognized by international law for their products. In addition, enterprises should apply for patents from developed countries.
According to experts, the EVFTA opens up IP opportunities but challenges, too. For example, Vietnamese products with trademarks, patents and exclusive industrial designs must register for exclusive protection in the EU at a high cost and undergo complex registration procedures under strict conditions.
Businesses need to master and meet the regulations on protection, exploitation and enforcement of IP rights and technical barriers to trade (TBT) in the EU. That requires raising IP awareness and constantly innovating and improving technological capacity to improve product quality.
|According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, commitments to IP protection and enforcement in the EVFTA contribute to ensuring the highest protection level for the two sides’ enterprises, creating a favorable environment for trade and investment activities and promoting high-tech transfer in agriculture, the processing industry, renewable energy, pharmaceuticals and equipment manufacturing.|