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Patents

patentsA patent is a document identifying exclusive right granted by the state to the inventor or person having the right to an invention which is new, not obvious, and industrially applicable. In Vietnam, an invention may be protected under two types of patents.

A patent for invention having long-term protection of up to 20 years is granted to an invention,   which meets the requirements of novelty, inventive step, and industrial application.

A patent for utility solution with the protection of up to 10 years is granted for an invention which is not of common knowledge and has novelty and industrial application. This kind of patent is known as patent for utility model or petty patent.

To obtain a patent, an application must be filed at the National Office of Intellectual Property of Vietnam (NOIP). The application must relate to only one invention or to a group of inventions linked to form a single general inventive concept. Patent protection in Vietnam is based on the “first to file” principle. This means a patent will be granted to the first person to file the patent application.

Patent protection in Vietnam is currently governed by the Intellectual Property Law enacted in 2005 and Decrees Nos. 103/2006/CP, 105/2006/CP, 106/2006/CP dated September 22, 2006, promulgated by Vietnamese government, Circular No. 01/2007/TT-BKHCN dated February 14, 2007 of Ministry of Science and Technology, and the NOIP’s Decisions. In addition, the Vietnamese patent system is bound by WIPO treaties comprising WIPO convention, Paris convention, Patent Cooperation Treaty, and bi- or multilateral treaties.

Patentability

According to Articles 59, 60, and 61 of the Intellectual Property Law, patentability conditions are provided as follows: Novelty of invention In Vietnam, novelty requirement is universal. To be considered as new, an invention must not be disclosed to the public, anywhere in the world, by publication in tangible form, by oral disclosure, by use or in any other ways, prior to the filing date or, where appropriate, the priority date of the relevant patent application. The novelty is not destroyed in the following disclosure circumstances provided that an application for the invention is filed to the NOIP within 06...
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Specification

The specification of an invention is the most important part of a patent application. This part consists of a description, drawings (if any) and one or more claims. The format requirements for a patent specification are A4 paper printed in portrait orientation, one-and-a-half spaced type, page number in Arabic numeral, minimum margins of 2cm. Units of measurements should be metric system (SI units) or be converted into metric system (SI units). Description The description must disclose the nature of the invention comprehensively and clearly, so that the invention can be implemented by a person having ordinary skill in the art....
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Cost

The costs of obtaining and maintaining a patent depend on factors such as the number of independent claims, the length of specification, the convention priority rights claimed and objections raised during the examination by the NOIP. Payment for the costs can be made in one or several times. For example, application fees including fees for filing, claiming priority right (if any), and publication can be paid on the filing date. Examination fees including fees for conducting patentability search and substantive examination can be paid when a request for substantive examination is filed. Granting fees including fees for grant, registration and...
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Procedure & Time Frame

Patent applications may be filed at the National Office of Intellectual Property of Vietnam (the NOIP) directly or by mail. The filed applications will be subjected to the examination process as the following chart shows. Examination on filing The Receiving Division will examine whether the patent application satisfies the requirements on the documentation and the application fees have been paid. If the application meets all the requirements on filing, a date of filing and an application number will be assigned. Examination as to form The filed application will be then examined as to form within one month. The NOIP examines...
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Opposition & Appeal

OPPOSITION After the publication date of the patent application and before the date of grant, any third person may give a notice of opposition to the NOIP concerning the grant or the refusal of grant of patent. The notice of opposition must be submitted to the NOIP in a written reasoned statement accompanied by adequate evidence for the opposition. The person giving the notice must pay the opposition fees. APPEAL The applicant may appeal against any decision by which the NOIP accords a filing date, treats the application as if it had not been filed, considers a declaration claiming priority...
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Surrender & Cancellation

SURRENDER OF PATENTS A patent may be surrendered according to the Vietnamese patent law under the following circumstances: The patent owner stops paying annual fees; The patent owner submits a written declaration of abandonment to the NOIP; and The owner of patent no longer exists and no lawful successor is found. Surrender of patents will be recorded and published in the Industrial Property Gazette, Volume B of the NOIP. CANCELLATION OF PATENTS During the term of a patent, the patent, or claim or part of a claim may be canceled upon request by any interested person. The person requesting the...
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Assignment & Licenses

ASSIGNMENT AND LICENSE CONTRACTS Assignment and license contracts must be in writing and must be signed by the parties to the contract. An assignment contract includes at least the following contents: The full names and addresses of the contracting parties; Identification of all patents as well as related patents specifically excluded; Term of payment including price; Obligations and rights of the contracting parties. There are three types of licenses, namely exclusive, non-exclusive and sub-license. The content of license contract at least includes: The full names and addresses of the contracting parties; Identification of all patents as well as related patents...
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Enforcement

ENFORCEMENT The exclusive right of a patent owner is essentially the right to prevent or stop other persons exploiting his own patent for commercial purposes such as making, using, offering for sale, selling or importing a product or a process, based on the patented invention, without prior permission of the patent owner. However, the patent owner is responsible for use or monitoring the use of his invention (via license) in the marketplace in order to avoid the invention being subject to compulsory license. To protect his patent rights, the patent owner should himself or via patent agent perform patent watch,...
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