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Vietnamese products lack trademark and trademark protection

The Enterprise Support Project recently carried out a survey on trademark in Viet Nam. Of the 500 surveyed enterprises: 25-30 percent said they had not invested in trademark at all, more than 70 percent said they implemented inadequate investment in trademark, and only fewer than five percent said they invested in trademark properly:

A survey by the Ministry of Industry and Trade showed that only 20 percent of Vietnamese enterprises invested in trademark, with most of them interested in trademark registration in the domestic market but not in foreign markets. Le Xuan Thu from Pham & Associates said that from 1988 to 2017, 29,492 Vietnamese enterprises applied for protection of industrial designs with 17,830 industrial design, patents, mostly for simple products such as labels, packaging, bottles and other kinds of containers.

The figures indicate that enterprises are not motivated to protect their industrial designs in Viet Nam. This is attributed to the time needed to apply for a design registration certificate while the life time of such designs is short. Another fact is that many enterprises prefer copying unprotected designs of other companies to creating their own.

Meanwhile, apart from strongly investing in promoting their trademarks, a number of foreign businesses bought Vietnamese goods trademarks to strengthen their presence in Vietnam. The Unilever Group, for example, acquired the P/S trademark and made use of the Phu Quoc origin for its Knorr Phu Quoc fish sauce.

Although they exported consumer goods, farm produce, seafood and other food products of a quality by no means inferior to that of foreign products of the same kind, Vietnamese enterprises haven’t invested properly in having their trademarks and industrial designs registered and protected in foreign markets.

Few Vietnamese trademarks and industrial designs have been registered for protection in foreign countries. For example, only 10 and 166 Vietnamese designs have been registered in the US and the EU, respectively, mostly vehicle, machinery, electrical and electronic equipment, bottles, bowls and cup designs of such leading names as Minh Long and Vinfast.

Some Vietnamese trademarks, including Trung Nguyen, Vinataba, Sa Giang, and Biti’s, were facing piracy problems and disputes in foreign markets.

State support: The Ministry of Science and Technology’s National Office of Intellectual Property said it would continue to implement Program 68 to assist enterprises in protecting and applying their inventions, manage intellectual property, and control the origin and quality of products protected in terms of intellectual property.