Raising the IP awareness is becoming indispensable to Vietnamese firms, especially after the country signed new-generation free trade agreements, including EVFTA.
Experts have urged Vietnam to tap intellectual property (IP) potential for its socio-economic development as the country has not yet fully exploited it.
According to Andrew Michael Ong, director of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)’s Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific, Vietnam needs to improve the capacity and efficiency of establishments, protection and enforcement of IP rights, as well as raising public awareness of its importance.
It is also necessary to have a synchronous IP management system. This is what the Republic of Korea and China have done over the last five years, Andrew said, adding that to maintain competitiveness, countries and companies must always be in the forefront of innovation.
Minister of Science and Technology Chu Ngoc Anh said that countries worldwide have to rely on scientific and technology development and innovation to achieve economic growth.
The national innovation system will help bring knowledge and research results into technologies, thereby creating products and goods for society. The IP system together with the exclusive protection mechanism for creative achievements and the fight against unfair competition are the driving force for innovation and the creation of innovative products, Anh said.
IP contributes to building orientations, targets, missions and measures, serving as a tool for realizing development objectives of sectors, localities and the nation, he said.
A must in new FTAs
Raising the IP awareness is becoming indispensable to Vietnamese firms, especially after the country signed new-generation free trade agreements including the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA).
As Europe is a region exporting IP products, it requires the increased protection of IP rights and also has special protection regimes for geographical indications. In contrast, Vietnam currently possesses only a small number of IP products compared to its European partners, so there needs to be space for businesses, organizations and individuals to access IP products at the lowest costs in service of socio-economic development.
Director of the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Multilateral Trade Policy Department Luong Hoang Thai said that under the EVFTA, which came into effect on June 30 this year, Vietnam commits to join the agreement on copyright and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty within three years, with a protection term of at least 50 years.
In addition, the country will establish a public electronic database about trademark registration records and permit the revocation of registered trademarks which are unused for at least five years, alongside acceding to the Hague Agreement on the international registration of industrial designs within two years from the EVFTA taking effect and protecting industrial designs for at least 15 years.
Vietnam has committed to providing a high level of protection to over 169 European geographical indications, mainly wine and food.
In contrast, the European side has also committed to protect 39 geographical indications of Vietnam related to famous agricultural and food products with high export potential, such as Moc Chau tea and Buon Ma Thuot coffee.
This will create conditions for a number of typical Vietnamese products to build and assert their brands in the European market.
However, in order to exploit such a large market, enterprises should master and meet the EU’s regulations on IP rights protection, exploitation and enforcement, as well as the bloc’s regulations on technical barriers in trade.
This requires Vietnamese businesses to focus on increasing their awareness of the field of IP, while constantly innovating and improving internal technology capacity and their ability to absorb new and advanced technologies to improve quality of their products.