Vietnam Trademark Registration
TRADEMARK LAW OF VIETNAM
The central law on trademarks in Vietnam is Part VI of the Civil Code 1995. This contains basic provisions for the protection and enforcement of trademarks and other IP rights in Vietnam.The Vietnamese government and its agencies have issued many normative legal documents to implement Part VI of the Civil Code.
The Civil Code (including Part VI) is currently being amended under the leadership of the Ministry of Justice. Recently, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Science and Technology and the Ministry of Culture and Information concluded that the best way to upgrade Vietnamese IP law is to replace Part VI of the Civil Code with a comprehensive new Intellectual Property Law.
On December 3 2004 the National Assembly adopted a new Competition Law, which will take effect on July 1 2005. Articles 39 and 40 prohibit the use of ‘misleading indications’. According to Article 5, this law will pre-empt other laws and regulations governing unfair competition, including Decree 54/2000/ND-CP, to the extent of any inconsistencies.
Use requirements: As there is no legislation that directly addresses the issue of establishing unregistered rights, the National Office of Intellectual Property (NOIP) has looked to Articles 6(1)(b) and 6(1)(e) of Decree 63/CP for guidance on the matter. Under Articles 6(1)(b) and 6(1)(e), a sign will not be registered as a trademark if it is identical or confusingly similar to:
• another’s registered trademark;
• a well-known mark; or
• a mark that has been used and is widely recognized.
To be registered as a trademark or service mark in Vietnam, a visible sign (ie, a word, name, symbol, device or any combination thereof) must be:
• not deceptive;
• not contrary to public order or morality; and
• not identical or confusingly similar to another’s earlier-filed or registered trademark in respect of similar goods or services, to a
well-known mark or to a widely used and recognized mark.
A sign that is not inherently distinctive – such as a single letter, numeral or simple geometric shape – may be registered as a trademark or service mark if it has acquired secondary meaning.
TERM OF PROTECTION
A Certificate of Trademark Registration shall take effect from the granting date for a period of ten (10) years calculated from the filing date of the application and is renewable indefinitely for periods of ten years.
To renew Certificate of Trademark Registration the renewal request shall be filed with the NOIP within 6 months before the expiry date of the preceding validity term subject to payment of renewal fees.