Vietnam has divided its intellectual property (IP) system into three areas:
- copyright and related rights
- industrial property rights
- rights to plant varieties
Copyright in Vietnam
Vietnam is a signatory to the Berne Convention, so copyright registration is not essential. However, it can give you proof of ownership and help you to enforce your IP and protect it from infringement.
To register copyright or related rights in Vietnam, you will have to apply to the Copyright Office of Vietnam (COV).
Patents in Vietnam
Vietnam makes a distinction between three different types industrial property rights:
- invention patents - can be valid for a maximum of 20 years, subject to renewal
- utility solution patents - can be valid for a maximum of 10 years, subject to renewal
- industrial designs - can last for 5 years, and be renewed for two further 5 year terms
Vietnam's patent law operates under the 'first to file' principle - that is, if two people apply for a patent on an identical invention, the first one to file the application will be awarded the patent.
If you want to protect your patent in the Vietnam market, you have several options. You can:
- File your patent application directly with the Vietnamese National Office of Intellectual Property (NOIP).
- File a single international patent application under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) procedure. You will be able to claim priority and pursue the grant of your patent before the national patent office in Vietnam no later than 31 months from the date of your initial PCT application.
If you have initially filed patent application in another country which is party to Paris Convention, you can claim right of priority and file a separate patent application in Vietnam within 12 months from the filing date of that first application.
See more on applying for a patent in other countries.
Trade marks in Vietnam
The trade mark system operates in a similar way to European countries, protecting symbols, colours, words, three-dimensional features and other visual devices used to identify a business' products or services.
To register your trade mark in Vietnam, you can:
- Apply in the country for trade mark registration with the NOIP.
- File an international trade mark application under the Madrid Protocol. Before you can do this, you need to have already registered or have filed an application in your own national IP office.
Trade names also constitute a form of industrial property in Vietnam, with rights established through their use rather than under a formal registration system.
Domain names are allocated on a first come, first served basis so must be registered as early as possible to avoid 'cybersquatting' by abusers. Find out more about registration and use of domain names in Vietnam.