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IP related issues within Vietnam newly approved Competition Law

Date: 02-01-2019 by: Banca IP Law Firm

IP related issues within Vietnam newly approved Competition Law

Vietnamese government has passed to replace the 2004 Competition Law which will be effective from July 2019. Unfair competition practices with respect to IP were previously regulated in various Laws such as Advertising Law, IP Law, Commercial Law, causing overlapped authorities and difficulties for right owners as well as government authorities to enforce the laws. This resulted in unexpected and ineffective implementation of the law in local economy.

Earlier, the same violation of unfair competition act could belong to different state authorities’ jurisdiction. For instance, according to Decree 71 and Decree 99/2013, penalties of administrative violations in industrial properties, misleading geographical indications and business secret infringements are deemed as unfair competition acts and thereby, could be handled by both Vietnam Competition Authoriy of the Ministry of Industry and Trade and Inspectorate of the Ministry of Science and Technology. The practice causes overlapping jurisdiction and making it difficulties for the right owner in selecting which destination to send requesting papers to protect their legitimate rights upon disputes.

In addition, different regulatory involvement in dealing with unfair competition acts causes many troubles for them to enforce such overlapped regulations. Experts asserted even though there were clear regulations in laws, inproper harmony between relevant authorities would create obstacles for various offices to cooperate enforcing the laws. Difficult to determinate which party has the main settlement authority is a big root attributing to the major dilemma among such unsound regulations and at the same time, causing more time for the authorities to handle cases and benefiting the violators.

After 12 years of enforcing 2004 Competition Law, major dilemma of the current Competition Law of unfair competition acts with respect to IP has created an urgent need of replacing the old one in such a changing economy like Vietnam. The new Competition Law is going to be effective from July 1st 2019. It enables right holders to meet right enforcement authorities of specialized laws as IP Law, Advertising Law, Commercial Law as prescribed before. As such, all of the unfair competition acts in relation to IP shall be regulated by the IP Law in the new Competition Law. According to experts, regulations for unfair competition acts should play supplementary role to the inedequate provisions of current IP law in case the right holders cannot find any ground in the IP law to protect them. It’s logical because since the Competition Law has come into effect, lawmakers expected to utilize competition law as a tool to fill backholes in case other specialized laws couldn’t stipulate in order to ensure a fair and healthy competition business environment.

Banca IP Law Firm