Presently in Vietnam, the number of protected geographical indications is increasing rapidly, not only in quantity but also in regional scope. A characteristic of Vietnam laws is that they record the public ownership of geographical indications that many people have the right to use. This can lead to acts of infringement of rights to geographical indications with different factors, nature, and levels. In this article, Viet An Law will provide legal regulations related to geographical indications infringement in Vietnam.
According to Clause 22, Article 4 of the 2005 Intellectual Property Law, amended and supplemented in 2009, 2019, and 2022, a geographical indication means a sign which identifies a product as originating from a specific region, locality, territory, or country.
The revised Intellectual Property Law 2022 has made technical corrections to the concept of geographical indications. Compared to the old definition ” a geographical indication means a sign which identifies a product as originating from a specific region, locality, territory, or country”, the new definition has ensured a more reasonable approach without changing the content of the regulations.
A geographical indication shall be protected when it satisfies the following conditions:
The reputation of a product bearing a geographical indication is determined by geographical conditions, which is determined by consumers’ confidence in that product through how widely consumers know and choose the product.
Quality and characteristics of products bearing a geographical indication shall be defined by one or several qualitative, quantitative or physically, chemically, microbiologically perceptible criteria that can be tested by technical means or experts with appropriate testing methods.
Geographical conditions relevant to a geographical indication mean natural and human factors decisive to reputation, quality, and characteristics of products bearing such geographical indication include: Natural factors (climatic, hydrological, geological, topographical, and ecological factors and other natural conditions); Human factors (skills and expertise of producers, and traditional production processes of localities).
Geographical areas bearing geographical indications shall have their boundaries accurately determined in words and maps.
A geographical indication is an object of industrial property rights, so rights to geographical indications are a type of industrial property rights. In the issue of protecting intellectual property rights to geographical indications, identifying acts of infringement is extremely important, serving as the basis for handling organizations and individuals that commit acts of infringement, while at the same time protecting the legitimate rights and interests of relevant entities.
Based on Article 72 of Decree 65/2023/ND-CP, acts are considered infringements on industrial property rights and rights to plant varieties when the following grounds are found:
Elements of infringement on rights to geographical indications displayed in the form of signs attached to goods, goods packaging, means of services, transaction documents, signs, advertising means, and other means of businesses that are identical or similar to the point of confusion with the protected geographical indications.
The ground to assess elements of infringement on rights to geographical indications is the scope of protection of geographical indications determined according to certificates of registration of geographical indications, international treaties that have contents of recognition and protection of geographical indications, or excerpts from the National Industrial Property Register.
To determine if a suspicious sign is an element of infringement on rights to a protected geographical indication, it is necessary to compare such a sign to the related geographical indication while comparing the product bearing that sign to the product with the protected geographical indication based on the following grounds:
To protect the reputation of the address, the law requires the use of the address as well as the quality of the products for the address require permission and supervision by the manage reference addresses organization. This inspection is intended to eliminate products that do not meet established standards and quality, even though they originate from the area providing the reference address. Products that do not ensure quality can still be considered counterfeit goods with geographical indications according to the provisions of Article 213 of the Intellectual Property Law.
Organizations and individuals who commit acts of infringing intellectual property rights on geographical indications, depending on the nature and extent of the infringement, may be handled with civil, administrative, or criminal remedies.
Courts shall apply the following civil remedies in handling organizations and individuals that have committed acts of infringing upon intellectual property rights:
The following acts of infringing upon industrial property rights shall be administratively sanctioned:
Individuals who commit acts of infringing upon intellectual property rights involving elements that constitute a crime shall be examined for penal liability according to the provisions of criminal law.
If you have questions related the geographical indications infringement in Vietnam, or geographical indication registration, please contact Viet An Law Firm to receive the best support from our team of lawyers!
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