Vietnamese Trademark Law

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Courtesy of  Internet Business Law Services:

Under Vietnamese intellectual property law, trademarks, service marks, collective marks and three-dimensional marks may be registered for periods of ten years. Trademark rights allot a registrant the exclusive right to use a mark to designate a particular class of goods or services. Both civil and criminal sanctions are available for parties seeking redress against violators of their trademark rights.
Vietnam¡¦s trademark law is based on its Intellectual Property Law of 2005 as well as several international conventions, treaties and agreements signed by the Vietnamese government.

The government entity charged with with jurisdiction over trademark matters is the National Office of Industrial Property (“NOIP”). The Ministry of Trade has the general responsibility for the enforcement of trademarks.

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Trademark rights are obtained by trademark registration. Following registration, the registrant has either the exclusive right to use the mark to designate its goods or services or the right to assign and/or to license its rights in the trademark to others. Trademarks are protected for a period of ten years from the date of filing. Registrations may be renewed for successive ten-year periods thereafter.

What is the legislative basis for the trademark law of Vietnam?

The legal basis for trademark law is Vietnam¡¦s Intellectual Property Law 2005, which is encompassed in the Civil Code of Vietnam. In addition to the provisions set forth in this law Vietnam is a signatory of the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, the Convention establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization, the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), and the Madrid Agreement concerning the International Registration of Marks. Vietnam has also adopted the International Classification of Goods and Services for the purpose of the registration of trademarks.

What marks are registrable pursuant to Vietnamese law?

Vietnam¡¦s trademark law allows for the registration of trademarks, service marks, collective marks and three-dimensional marks. With the exception of the items set forth below, distinctive heading, label, ticket, name, signature, word, letter, numeral, picture, photograph, three-dimensional sign, or combination thereof, may be registered as a trademark.

The following marks may not be registered:

„X Marks that are simple, geometric figures or that constitute a collection of figures or letters that is incapable of being pronounced;

„X Generic or descriptive marks;

„X Marks that are misleading or deceptive as to the origin, quality, nature or the purpose of the product or services or the manufacturer or supplier thereof;

„X Marks representing national flags, emblems, portraits of national leaders or heroes of Vietnam or of foreign nations, unless permission is obtained from the competent authority of the foreign country;

„X Geographic or place names of Vietnam and foreign countries, unless permission is obtained from the competent authority of the foreign country;

„X Marks that are identical or that are confusingly similar to a registered mark or a mark for which an application with an earlier priority has been filed;

„X Marks that are identical or confusingly similar to: (a) a well-known mark, regardless of whether the mark is registered, (b) a protected trade name or a registered appellation of origin, (c) a registered industrial design or a design for which an application with earlier priority has been filed, or (d) a copyrighted character or work.

What remedies are available to parties seeking restitution for the violation of their trademarks?

Civil remedies for trademark infringement include (a) the right to receive an interlocutory or permanent injunction prohibiting the trademark violator from further infringement, (b) an order for the surrender or destruction of an offending trademark, (c) damages or an accounting of profits in lieu of damages, and (d) a declaration of the plaintiff¡¦s rights to the trademark and the defendant¡¦s infringement thereof.

Criminal sanctions for trademark infringement may include: (a) monetary fines or imprisonment or both, (b) prohibition of importation, (c) seizure, (d) detention, or (e) forfeiture of counterfeit trademark goods.

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