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 the application whether it complies with the administrative requirements or formalities.
If all the relevant documents and information are included and the application fees (often including filing fee, fee for claiming priority right and publication fee) have been paid, the application will be accepted as complete and the application number, and the filing date will be officially recorded. The NOIP will issue a notification of acceptance and send it to the applicant or his patent agent.
The patent application will be published in the Industrial Property Gazette, Volume A of the NOIP after a period of eighteen months from the filing date or, if priority right has been claimed, as from the priority date. Nevertheless, at the request of the applicant, the application may be published before the period referred to above. For the international applications (under the PCT), the publication will be made in 2nd month from the date on which the applications are accepted as complete and regular.
The publication information contains the publication number and the publication date, the application number and the filing date, the international classification indexes, the information on the applicants, the inventors, the patent agent, the priority data, the title and the abstract of the invention.
Examination as to substance
In order for the patent application to be carried out examination as to substance, a written request for substantive examination must be filed to the NOIP within 42 months for patent application for inventions, or 36 months for patent application for utility solutions, from the date of filing or, if priority right has been claimed, as of the date of priority.
The applicant can also make request for substantive examination by stating that at the request for grating patent, which is filed on the filing date. The person making the request must pay the prescribed fee for patentability search and substantive examination.
The substantive examination period lasts 18 months from the publication date (if the request for examination is filed before that date) or from the date on which the NOIP receives the examination request (if the request for examination is filed after the publication date).
The substantive examination verifies whether there exist any grounds for refusal connected with unity and patentability.
Grant, recordal and publication of a patent
When the NOIP finds that all formality and substantive requirements for the grant of a patent are fulfilled, it will issue a notification of result of substantive examination in which the applicant will be invited to pay fees for the grant, registration, publication of the patent and the first annuity.
After the prescribed fees are paid, the NOIP will issue to the applicant a patent, record the information of the patent in the National Register and publish it in the Industrial Property Gazette, Volume B of the NOIP within 2 months from the date of grant.
Duration of patent and annual fees
The term of patent is 20 years for inventions and 10 years for utility solutions as of the filing date of the application.
In order to maintain the patent, an annual fee must be paid to the NOIP with every year after the date of grant. The first annual fee is paid upon the NOIP’s request in the notification of result of substantive examination. The next annuities should be paid within six months before the anniversary of date of grant. A grace period of six months is granted for the payment of annuity upon payment of the prescribed surcharge.