Coming soon: Dedicated IP court in Vietnam

04 July 2024

Coming soon: Dedicated IP court in Vietnam

Vietnam is well on its way to having its own specialized courts, including a dedicated intellectual property court, as the National Assembly approved the amended Law on the Organization of People’s Courts on June 24, 2024. The amendments pave the way for the creation of specialized courts of first instance for hearing IP-centric and other specific cases.

Tuan Hung Nguyen, Senior Associate and Patent Division Manager, Aliat Legal, Ho Chi Minh

The dedicated IP court in particular is expected to commence operations on January 1, 2025.

“The judiciary needs a specialized legal mechanism to resolve and enforce IP rights, thereby protecting the legal rights and interests of IP owners,” said Tuan Hung Nguyen, senior associate and patent division manager at Aliat Legal in Ho Chi Minh.

He revealed that IP disputes in Vietnam are increasing and becoming more complex. It doesn’t help that the application of procedures outlined in the Civil Procedure Law for resolving IP disputes has revealed many limitations. This is especially true in cases involving patents, the identification of IP rights and unfair competition practices. According to Nguyen, the civil lawsuit mechanism is often cumbersome, expensive and ineffective.

He also shared that IP rights holders are reluctant to file lawsuits in court. Instead, they opt for administrative measures. “This situation arises from inconsistencies in substantive law regarding copyright and industrial property rights, inadequacies of procedural law in resolving IP rights disputes and the lack of in-depth IP expertise among adjudicating officers,” explained Nguyen.

Vietnam does not have specialized judges for IP cases because training and professional development are not just ineffective; such initiatives are incomplete to begin with. To make matters worse, individuals trained in IP are not directly adjudicating cases, and vice versa.

“Therefore, Vietnam needs to establish a dedicated IP court with judges trained in this specific area. This will enable accurate decisions and address the root causes of IP infringements. Due to the specific nature of IP, plaintiffs often need to prove or fully determine the damages that have actually occurred. Therefore, resolving these issues requires a court decision that is accurate and legal, ensuring the rights of the litigants,” remarked Nguyen.

For patent infringement proceedings, Nguyen believes the IP court will effectively adjudicate the dispute if it appoints independent scientific advisers to assist, inquire and report on any factual or opinion-based question the court formulates.

“The establishment of a dedicated IP court is a significant milestone in the judicial reform process, aimed at enhancing the court’s capacity to provide sustainable judicial solutions. This development is an essential part of the broader judicial reform process and the ongoing efforts to perfect the legal mechanisms for protecting IP rights in Vietnam,” said Nguyen.

- Espie Angelica A. de Leon

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