Vietnam’s Amended Intellectual Property Law ratified
07 July 2022
On June 16, 2022, the National Assembly of Vietnam ratified the amended Intellectual Property Law which puts the country on equal footing with the US, UK and other countries as far as legal frameworks for IP protection and enforcement go.
The amended IP Law likewise allows Vietnam to comply with international agreements and treaties. These include the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership and the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement.
Among the salient points of the amended IP Law are the following: provides protection to sound marks; inclusion of bad faith as a ground for trademark opposition and cancellation; clarifies the definition of co-authorship; provides intermediary service providers’ liability for copyright and related rights’ online infringements, with safe harbour for cases of mere conduit, caching, and hosting; introduction of “secret prior art” as a prior art document to be used for assessing the novelty of a patent application, among other amendments.
“As the country further integrates into the regional economy, Vietnam market is now a level playing field and its partners are from very high-developed countries, which requires Vietnam to play to a higher standard to attract more foreign investment,” said Yen Vu, executive and country manager at Rouse Legal Vietnam, member of the Rouse Network, in Ho Chi Minh. “To that end, there are many changes Vietnam needs to make, and improving its intellectual property rights (IPR) system is a key part. But the real drive of the overhaul of the IP system also comes from the internal economy transformation.”
Vu shared that according to Vietnam’s National IP Strategy with a Vision to 2030, enhancing the protection and enforcement of IP rights is key to the economy’s growth.
This extends to the digital economy which is definitely booming in Vietnam. Such uptrend has caused a surge in online piracy and IP infringement. Sadly, enforcement has not been robust enough to keep up with these illegal activities.
“Vietnam does not have a complete or straightforward framework for protection and enforcement of copyright and related rights in the digital environment. Although the laws provide for ISP liability in relation to copyright infringing content available on their system, the concept of ‘secondary liability’ is not clearly established under Vietnamese law. Unlike in other countries, ISPs are not obliged to take down infringing content upon receipt of a right holder’s notice,” Vu explained.
“As for e-commerce, there are rules aimed to tackle online infringement of IPR, but the liability of e-commerce platforms/ISPs has not been established in detail,” she added.
“The current overhaul of the IP Law specifically addresses these issues to enhance the IP legal framework to boost the digital transformation of the economy,” Vu pointed out.
The amended IP Law will take effect on January 1, 2023 with the provisions on sound marks to take effect on January 14, 2023.
Espie Angelica A. de Leon