15:06 | 28/07/2015 Society
(VEN) - As part of efforts to strengthen intellectual property right (IPR) protection following the “World IPR Day Action Month”, interagency inspectors have continued their software raids against companies suspected of using unlicensed software. In that context, recent searches conducted at a Korean company and a Vietnamese firm further delivered warnings to those who stubbornly continue to flout the rules.
Information from the inspectors indicate that an audit at Binh Hoa Electronic Joint stock Co. (Viettronics), headquartered at 204 No Trang Long, Ward 12, Binh Thanh Dist., HCMC, was orchestrated by the cross-department inspectors, representing the Inspectorate of the Ministry of Culture-Sports &Tourism and the Hi-tech Crime Police Department – C50 (Ministry of Public Security). A scrutiny of 38 computers being used at Viettronics for business purposes revealed, apart from some licensed software, 62 illegal applications, mostly popular office software programs including Microsoft Office or Microsoft Windows XP owned by Microsoft, and other software products owned by Autodesk, Adobe, among others.
Facing the evidence, the Director of Viettronics signed off the audit minutes admitting that copying computer software without prior consent of the owner is a violation of current IPR laws. The interagency inspecting team also asked Viettronics to uninstall the illicit software and get in touch with the legal agents of the owners to work out a deal to correct the misconduct, while legalizing other illegal software programs being used for business purposes at the company.
In successive developments, a spot check at the branch of Miwon Vietnam Co. (a Korean firm) at 22 Pham Hung, Cau Giay, Hanoi, was conducted by the Hanoi Culture-Sports-Tourism Department, in the witness of senior officials of Team 3, Hi-tech Crime Police Department – C50, Hanoi City Police. In this surprise raid, the inspectors scanned 38 computers in use and found a large number of unlicensed software programs. The inspectors disclosed that a representative of Miwon Vietnam had singed the civil offense statement, admitting to their IPR law violation act.
Mr. Tran Van Minh, Deputy Chief Inspector, Ministry of Culture-Sports-Tourism, who has had over 10 years leading hundreds of these raids, said that IPR infringements in relation to computer software are quite perse in forms, while a common trick employed by wrongdoers is to buy just a few licensed programs for use. Minh also promised that inspecting activities will go on in the upcoming months, targeting firms suspected of illegal use of software. This is also a highlighted agenda item in the Party’s Resolution for “Strengthening the performance of copyright regulatory agencies and law enforcement from the national to local levels”.
Intellectual property right (IPR) protection has become a priority of the government of Vietnam in recent years. Illegal use of copyrighted software may also be subject to criminal prosecution in accordance with the Revised Penal Code, which came into effect from January 1, 2010.
A civil litigation against Trimmers Co. for illegal use of computer software owned by members of BSA | The Software Alliance in late June this year sounded a warning bell to any party which are found to infringe others’ intellectual properties. As civil sanctions are being encouraged by law enforcement authorities in tackling intellectual property right (IPR) violation, wrongdoers will not only be liable under the law to pay compensation, but will also lose reputation. Economic experts also warn that IPR protection will be increasingly tightened, and IPR misconducts will be severely punished.
Futhermore, a recent global report finds that there is a strong positive correlation between unlicensed software and malware encounters. The threats from cybercrime are real and frightening, and the risk extraordinary today. According to BSA | The Software Alliance, cybersecurity is an incredibly complex issue and business leaders are grappling with how the best protect their business, understand the new business vulnerabilities, and identify what steps they can take to protect themselves and their customers from becoming a victim of cybercrime. Therefore, use of licensed software is essensial for the continued viability of businesses today.