Intellectual property law will raise nation to global standards   |  

The National Assembly began debating the draft Law on Intellectual Property on Monday. Dr Ho Duc Viet, chairman of the Committee for Science, Technology and the Environment, discussed the law with Nhan Dan (The People) newspaper.

Guidelines for the protection of intel-lectual property were issued in Viet Nam at the beginning of the 80s [the regulation on technical improvement initiatives, production rationalisation and invention (1981), the regulation on commodity trademarks (1982), and the regulation on industrial patterns (1988).

However, only after the NA passed the Civil Code in 1995 were legally-binding intellectual property regulations introduced.

The sixth part of the Civil Code contains 61 articles focusing on Intellectual Property and Technological Transfer Rights, and this has laid a foundation for the creation of a comprehensive legal system of intellectual property in Viet Nam.

Based on the regulations of the Civil Code, around 40 sub-laws have been issued to bring about the completion of this system.

These laws – on science and technology, enterprise, the media, and publishing – together with the Penal Code, strengthen and clarify the State’s abilities to maintain effective protection of intellectual property.

Vietnamese law now recognises almost all forms of intellectual property to be subject to ownership rights and the State is able to protect them accordingly.

Viet Nam has participated in several major international conventions on intellectual property, including the Paris Convention for the protection of industrial property, the Berne Convention for the protection of artists’ rights, the Madrid Agreement on the international registration of trademarks, the Patent Co-operation Treaty and the Stockholm Convention concerning the establishment of the World Intellectual Property Organisation.

Viet Nam is also committed to executing all requirements regarding intellectual property protection specified by the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) before or upon entry to the World Trade Organisation.

Under the TRIPS Agreement, Viet Nam is required to adhere to important international conventions on intellectual property such as the Geneva Convention for the protection of producers of phonograms against unauthorised duplication (1971), the Rome Convention for the protection of performers, producers of phonograms and broadcasting organisations (1961), the Brussels Convention relating to the distribution of programme-carrying signals transmitted by satellite (1974), and the International Union for the Protection of New Plant Varieties Convention (1991).

By now, we can say that our laws on intellectual property have basically met the standards required by the TRIPS Agreement and other important international treaties on intellectual property.

Excepting our failure to protect encoded satellite signals as yet, Viet Nam’s regulations regarding objects, rights, duration, and mechanisms for protection are in conformity with international treaties.

However, the present legal system on intellectual property in our country is not yet sufficiently effective.

Specifically, the regulations regarding the punishments for violations do not clearly outline the roles of civil, administrative and criminal sanctions, and are still contradictory and overlapping.

To improve the validity and effectiveness of intellectual property protection, we should complete the Law on Intellectual Property as soon as possible.

The law should stipulate which body will coordinate the relevant agencies in enforcing intellectual property rights, increase dialogue and cooperation between those agencies, and uphold the role of courts in the field.

It is also necessary to raise public awareness of intellectual property rights and encourage intellectual property services to improve their quality.

Intellectual property protection is a new domain in our country. To raise its efficiency and mitigate the shortcomings caused by our lack of experience, we should coordinate with partners, learn from countries with more developed intellectual property protection systems, take advantage of international training assistance, improve information access for relevant agencies, and look to sign more agreements on this area with other countries, especially neighbouring ones. — VNS