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Geographical indications protection under Vietnam IP Law

Date: 08-11-2018 by: Banca IP Law Firm

Geographical indications protection under Vietnam IP Law

Who has the right to register GIs?

The right to register geographical indications of Vietnam belongs to the State.

Organizations and individuals producing the product bearing the geographical indication, collective organizations representing such organizations and individuals or the administrative authorities of the locality to which the geographical indication pertains to exercise the right to register such geographical indication. 

Who is the owner of registered GI?

The person who exercises the right to register a geographical indication shall not become the owner of such geographical indication. The owner of Vietnam’s geographical indications is the State.

The State grants the right to use GIs to the organizations or individuals producing the products bearing geographical indication in a relevant locality and putting those products out to the market.  The State shall directly exercise the right to manage geographical indications or shall grant that right to the organization acting as the representative of all other organizations or individuals granted with the right to use GIs.

What are the rights of the empowered person who can use GIs?

An organization which is granted the right to manage geographical indications shall have the right to allow another person to use such GIs or to prohibit other persons from using such GIs in accordance with regulations.

After a GI is granted a Certificate, what are the rights of the GI’s empowered/granted user?

a, Affixing the protected geographical indication to goods or packages of goods, means of business and transaction documents during business activities;

  1. b) Circulating, or offering, advertising, storing for sale of, goods bearing the protected GI;
  2. c) Importing goods bearing the protected GI.

What are the general requirements for GIs eligible for protection?

  1. The product having the geographical indication originates from the area, locality, territory or country corresponding to such geographical indication.
  2. The product having the geographical indication has reputation, quality or characteristics essentially attributable to the geographical conditions of the area, locality, territory or country corresponding to such geographical indication.

In addition to those above requirements, other provisions must also be complied: Subject matters not protected as GIs; Reputation, quality and characteristics of products having geographical indications; Geographical conditions relevant to GIs; Geographical area corresponding to GIs.

How long does it take to be granted a GI Certificate?

GI Registration procedures will be carried out in accordance with the NOIP’s procedures. Please refer to details and time frame HERE.

Where is the protection scope of GIs in Vietnam?

For industrial designs in Vietnam in general, Certificate of GI is effective in Vietnam and thereby, protection scope is within Vietnam territory.

What are the requirements of GI applications?

  1. Documents, specimen and information identifying the geographical indication claimed for protection in a geographical indication application shall include:

a) The name or sign that is the geographical indication;

b) The product bearing the geographical indication;

c) Description of peculiar characteristics or quality, or reputation of the product bearing the geographical indication and characteristics of natural conditions attributing to the peculiar characteristics or quality, or reputation of the product (hereinafter referred to as the Descriptions of peculiar characteristics);

d) The map of the geographical area corresponding to the geographical indication;

d’) Documents evidencing that the geographical indication is under protection in the country of origin if it has foreign origin;

  1. The Descriptions of peculiar the characteristics shall have the following essential contents:

a) Descriptions of the relevant product, including raw materials, and physical, chemical, microbiological and perceptive characteristics of the product;

b) Methods of determination of the geographical area corresponding to the geographical indication;

c) Evidence proving that the product originates from such geographical area, with the respective meaning provided for in Article 79 of this Law;

d) Descriptions of the local and stable methods of the production and processing;

dd) Information on the relationship between the peculiar characteristics or quality, or reputation of the product and the natural conditions as provided for in Article 79 of this Law;

e) Information on the self-control mechanism of the peculiar characteristics or quality of the products.

In addition, individual/organization may authorize a legal representative to carry out IP procedures relating to establishment, maintenance, renewal, amendment, termination and cancellation of validity of GI protection must have the PoA.

Are GIs from foreign countries outside Vietnam eligible to be protected in Vietnam?

Yes if they are registered to be protected in Vietnam, specifically:

  1. Organizations, individuals of Vietnam, foreign individuals permanently residing in Vietnam and foreign organizations and individuals having a production or trading establishment in Vietnam shall file applications for registration of establishment of industrial property right either directly or through a lawful representative in Vietnam.
  2. Foreign individuals not permanently residing in Vietnam, foreign organizations and individuals not having a production or trading establishment in Vietnam shall file applications for registration of establishment of industrial property right through a lawful representative in Vietnam.

Until the end of October, 2018, Vietnam has granted a total of 69 GIs, 63 among it are Vietnamese GIs and the rest are foreign GIs. Most of the Vietnamese GIs currently are agriculture products such as fruits, agricultural products, seafood; processed products such as fish sauce, shrimp sauce; … and handicraft products.

Banca IP Law Firm