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Trademark Registration in Vietnam

Trademarks are one of the most valuable intangible assets of the business. The tangible assets are buildings, equipment investment, products, goods, and services as less worth than the value of brands that bring for the enterprise. Therefore, trademark registration in Vietnam considers a momentous mission for enterprises to protect and develop the tangible assets in the company. Trademark relates the goods and services that go with prestige, quality, and customer trust for specific products and services. So the trademark shows the distinguish goods or services of this business unit to other business units.

Registeration Trademark in Vietnam

1. Subject for trademarks registration in Vietnam

Subjects can conduct the trademark registration in Vietnam that includes individuals, organizations, and enterprises (According to Vietnam Intellectual Property Law). Inclusion as following:

  • Vietnamese individuals, organizations, and businesses;
  • Foreign individuals and organizations.

If the subject is an individual, a Vietnamese company can register its trademark directly at the National Office of Intellectual Property (NOIP) or through an Intellectual Property Representative to register the trademark.

For foreign individuals, organizations, and enterprises concern with trademark registration in Vietnam. Registers must apply for trademark registration application through the Intellectual Property representation companies like Viet An Law Firm – Vietnam intellectual property agent.

Note: Trademarks have been granted a trademark registration certificate in Vietnam. Trademark owners who didn’t use their trademarks within five years, they will be requested for termination of validity by other entities.

2. Classification of products and goods  for Trademarks:

The classification of registered trademarks depends on the International Classification of Trademarks (Nice Classification Boarđ), which is applied worldwide. All goods and services on the market have many categories that belong to the trademark classification table. There are only 45 classes, in particular, there are 34 classes for goods and 11 classes for services. The trademark registration in Vietnam’s fee is calculated based on the group of goods and services that have a trademark registration, therefore the more classes of goods and services that customers register, the higher fee for the registered trademark in Vietnam.

3. Steps to conduct Trademark Search and Registration

TRADEMARKK REGISTRATION IN VIETNAM

To support businesses and individuals to establish trademark rights for their goods and services before marketing them as quickly and professionally as possible. Viet An Law Firm provides guidelines of the process of searching and registering trademarks for goods and services in 2021 as follows:

3.1. Step 1: Trademark search:

Firstly, customers provide a sample of the trademark and a list of branded products and services to Viet An Law Firm for a preliminary look-up and evaluation of trademark registration’s ability in Vietnam.

3.1.1. Free preliminary search:

Viet An Law will conduct a free preliminary search for customers to find out the ability of the trademark registration within one working day from the date when the customer provided the information to Viet An Law Firm.

After the preliminary search, if it is likely that the trademark cannot register, Viet An Law Firm will consult and provide the relevant references to find a solution for the trademark registration to be granted a certificate in the future.

3.1.2. Intensive look-up Service before filing a Trademark Application.

After the preliminary examination of the trademark and it is likely to be registered, it is possible to search in-depth through Vietnamese and international data to appraise the highest possibility of granting a protection title to the trademark.
This step is not a mandatory stage but should be taken to increase the trademark registration and save time.
An intensive search is a voluntary procedure for the applicant. However, this procedure should be performed as this is the first and important step for a preliminary assessment of whether a trademark should apply for protection or not.
However, the trademark search is for reference only and is non-basis for granting or not granting a certificate (this is partly related to the priority right of trademark registration as described above).
Dossiers for trademark lookup customers need to prepare: 03 trademark samples with sizes larger than 3 × 3 cm, not exceeding 8 × 8 cm.
Intensive trademark search procedure through Viet An Law Firm takes 1-3 working days.

3.1.3. Trademark search results.

Viet An Law will report notice of trademark search results.

3.2. Step 2: Submission of trademark registration and follow up the trademark registration procedure at the National Office of Intellectual Property

3.2.1. Stage 1: Submit a trademark registration declaration (filing a trademark registration application):

After an in-depth lookup and a mark that is considered likely to be registered, Viet An Law will conduct a trademark registration at the National Office of Intellectual Property for your application in Vietnam

The trademark registration documents that customers need to prepare

  • Power of Attorney (attached form)
  • 01 trademark sample (not smaller than 3 × 3 cm, not exceeding 8 × 8 cm)
  • List of products and services intended for trademark registration.
  • Viet An Law will prepare the remaining documents according to the regulations for the trademark application.

In addition to the above required documents, when a customer registers a collective mark, a certification mark… customer must provide additional documents to Viet An Law Firm as follows:

  • Regulation on using collective trademark/ certification trademark;
  • Explanatory statement on the particular (or specific) nature and quality of the trademarked product (if the registered trademark is a collective trademark used for a product of unique materials or a certification mark for the quality of the product or a trademark certifying a geographical origin);
  • Map showing territory (if the registered trademark is a trademark certifying the geographical origin of the product).

The agency receiving and processing trademark registration dossiers in Vietnam: Vietnam National Office of Intellectual Property.

Results of Stage 1: The Declaration of trademark registration

3.2.2. Stage 2: Examining the form of Trademark Registration Applications

The time limit for formality examination of trademark registration applications is 01 month from the filing date.

  • The National Office of Intellectual Property will consider the application with eligibility in terms of form, label pattern, owner of the application, the right to file applications, classification, etc.
  • If the application of enterprise satisfies the conditions, the National Office of Intellectual Property will notify the acceptance of the valid application and publish it.
  • If the application enterprise does not meet the conditions, the NOIP will issue a Notice of non-acceptance of the application and request the enterprise to amend. Enterprises make modifications as required and submit the amended documents to the National Office of Intellectual Property.

Results of Stage 2: The trademark application: Accepting a valid application

The time limit for trademark registration applications: 02 months from the date of receipt of the notice of acceptance of the valid application.

The content of publication of a trademark registration application is the information related to a valid application stated in the notice of acceptance of the valid application, trademark sample, and attached list of goods and services.

3.2.3. Stage 3: Substantive Examination of Trademark Registration Applications:

The time limit for substantive examination: 09 months from the date of publication.

  • The National Office of Intellectual Property shall examine the conditions for registering a trademark, thereby evaluating the possibility of granting a certificate for the trademark registered by the enterprise. If the trademark registration application satisfies all conditions, the NOIP shall issue a notice of intention to grant a trademark to the mark already registered by the enterprise.
  • The Trademark registration application does not meet the conditions, NOIP issues a notice not to grant a certificate for the trademark registered by the enterprise. The enterprise shall consider and send a written response to the decision of the NOIP, and at the same time provide grounds for granting a trademark protection certificate to the trademark of the enterprise.

Result of Stage 3: Notice of intention to grant a trademark protection title and pay a licensing fee.

3.2.4. Stage 4: Receipt of Certificate of Trademark Registration and hand over to customers

After the decision to grant the Certificate, Viet An Law Firm shall notice enterprise to pay the granting fee for the Certificate and getting the Trademark Protection Certificate and deliver to the customer.

The time limit for granting Protection Title: 02-03 months from the date of paying fees for granting the Certificate.

According to the experience of Viet An Law Firm, the Trademark Registration in Vietnam period will usually last about 12-18 months from the date of accepting a valid application.

Result of stage 4: Certificate of Trademark Registration

4. Term of a Trademark Protection Title in Vietnam

Trademarks have protection for ten years from the date of application (priority date). Enterprises are allowed to extend their protection titles and not limit the number of extensions. Therefore, trademarks will be the property throughout the process of operation and doing business of enterprises.

5. Notice for performing the procedure of Trademark Registration in Vietnam

Notes on Trademark Registration with registration of trade names, domain names, copyright registration of applied artworks for logos (picture trademark)

5.1. Consistency between Trademark Registration and Trade names of enterprises.

When submitting for the trademark registration, customers should concurrently register the Company name with a part of the registered trademark: For example, an enterprise would like to do the trademark registration “Viet An Law” then she should also address the company name as “Viet An Law” this way avoids the case some after a more than one year when the trademark has the trademark certificate issue, then but since from the time of filing to the time of granting the certificate, there is a competitor who already registered the trade name with letter part of the trademark of a company which leads to the case that even the trademark registers title protection, but the trademark owner cannot handle the infringement or request the competitor to stop using the trade name because the competitor does the trademark registration the trade name before the date the company was granted the certificate. This way is an unreasonable regulation of the law on Intellectual Property and law on Enterprise that the applicant himself should be aware of to avoid unnecessary risks.

5.2. Consistency between Trademark Registration and Domain Name.

Customers who performed the trademark registration that the company name does not match with the trademark sign, registers can choose to register a domain name (especially the domain name managed by the State of Vietnam where has a “.vn” to prove the trademark registration under the domain name. Currently, the trademark registration in Vietnam takes more than one year to establish the trademark owner application to avoid the risks as analyzed above. The intellectual property office in Vietnam grants for trademark certificate then the trademark owner will request the competitor who stops the infringement of Intellectual Property under the trading company name.

5.3. Consistency between Trademark Registration and applied art Copyright Registration to the trademark with image and letter parts.

A trademark includes two parts (image (logo) and letter). Customers do not want to register the trading name and domain name for the company. Customers must file the trademark at the same time to perform a copyright registration as artwork protection for the letter and the image parts. This registration helps the enterprise that is going to avoid the case like as competitor does company trading name registration and website domain name before the date of trademark certificate issue. The trademark owner has sufficient grounds to request an unfair competitor to stop the infringement or ask the Business Registration agency to revoke the part of the name with signs of violation of the rights on Intellectual Property.

5.4. The colors when registering Trademarks.

Under Vietnam Intellectual Property on Law, there are no specific provisions on the protection scope of black and white trademarks and color trademarks as registration of black and white trademarks or color trademarks registration that offer absolute rights for application owners. Trademark protection in Vietnam allows registering in black-and-white format. The performance in different color formats as the letter/image contents in the trademark design does not violate the black-and-white or color trademark from the else intellectual property right that already registered.

Viet An Law Firm will give clients the consultancy for the individuals/ businesses who would like to choose the clour for trademark registration and save the cost when you file the trademark registration in Vietnam.

5.6. Drawing or image mark registrations (also known as logos), letter or text mark registrations, positioning sentences (slogan) when registering trademarks.

Drawing or Image trademarks (also known as logo): Can be independently registered for protection as a trademark or combined with the text part of a trademark or positioning sentence when registering a trademark.

The letter or Text mark: When registering a trademark, the owner of the registration application may choose the form of the trademark text registration as the following forms:

The first type of Text Trademark Registration Form: Only made up of standard letters or numerals in the criterion form and only in black-white and a sample. Owners of trademarks have the extensive right to use the registered trademark, that is, the right to use the trademark in any font or color they want as long as they do not infringe the rights of else trademark protection. Such use will not prejudice the protected content of the trademark.

  • The weak point of text trademark registration protects the content in the text. The unique font style or presentation, the trademark color will not consist under the standard trademark registration in the word mark and be issued protection title.

The second type is text trademark registration form: The formation of stylized or visualized letters, words, and numbers or colors. The trademark registration under core content, including the letter structure, pronunciation, and the meaning of words (if any) like the standard printed trademark. However, the trademark protection by the presentation (unique font type or special presentation), its protective effect is strengthened more strongly against competitors’ intention to approach the trademark, not only about the content but also about the way the trademark description.

  • The disadvantage of trademark text registration does not allow freely-using the trademark in other letterforms or other ways.

5.7. Priority right that affects trademark application registration.

The priority right in trademark registration affects the granting or non-granting of protection titles for trademark applications to other entities, according to the provisions of the Intellectual Property on Law and relevant international agreements. The priority right in the first trademark registration in Vietnam, no one dares to affirm that the trademark once is submitted for application and has been carried out with the look-up process of trademark registration status that will guarantee for granting a protection title.

5.8. Designing, choosing to register Trademarks.

  • The trademark performs the capacity for registration and protection. The trademarks design in a distinctive sign that makes the difference with another enterprise.
  • Trademarks should design the combination between the letter and images. The trademark design in the letter is stylized for granting protection title when registering.

6. Some elements that are not granted a protection title (ie, exclusion signs should not be used as trademarks), include:

  • Trademarks design as shapes, simple geometric figures, numerals, letters, words of uncommon languages (such as English, Japanese, Chinese and Latin translations)
  • Trademarks design as indicators of the time, place, production method, type, quantity, quality, properties, ingredients, uses, values ​​, or other descriptive properties of goods, services;
  • Trademarks design as a description of the legal form and field of business;
  • Trademarks design as signs indicating the geographical origin of goods or services;
    Clients should do the trademark search before applying for trademark registration.
  • Viet An Law provides a free preliminary search for customers before performing the next work in the trademark registration process.

7. Frequently asked Questions.

Who has the right to register a trademark in Vietnam?

  • Vietnamese individuals, organizations and businesses;
  • Foreign individuals and organizations. (For foreign individuals, organizations and enterprises that would like to register their trademarks in Vietnam, they must apply for trademark registration through the Intellectual Property representation companies like Viet An Law Firm).

What are the classification of products and goods for trademarks?

The classification of trademarks for registrations is based on the International Classification of Trademarks (The Nice Classification Board), which is applied worldwide. There are many kinds of goods and services on the market but according to the Trademark Classification Board, there are totally only 45 groups (45 classes). In particular, there are 34 classes for goods and 11 classes for services. In Vietnam, the fee for trademark registration is calculated based on the class of goods and services that are needed to register for trademark.

Why should to conduct the Trademark Look up?

The trademark Look-up process is to determine whether the trademark intended to apply is similar or identical to the regissted trademarks of other entities or not? Also, it is to assess the possibility that the application for the trademark shall be granted a protection title or not?

Why need to conduct for Trademark Registration?

Trademark registration of a new entity first is to avoid the infringement of other entities’ trademarks, more importantly, the businesses’ registration of trademarks in addition to enhancing the brand promotion activities of businesses, creating the trust in relations with customers that businesses also have legal grounds to protect for their rights from any illegal use of that trademark.

How long is the Term of Trademark Protection Title in Vietnam?

Trademarks are protected for 10 years from the date of filing application (priority date). Enterprises are eligible to extend their protection titles and no limit the number of extensions. Therefore, trademarks will be a property for throughout the process of business operation of enterprises.

8. Consultancy Service of Trademark Registration of Viet An Law Firm

  • Provide legal advice on procedures and conditions for Trademark Registration;
  • Counseling on feasibility when registering Trademarks;
  • Free preliminary look-up of capability of Trademark Registration;
  • Official intensive look-up for Trademark at the National Office of Intellectual Property – Independent cost;
  • Representing customers for Trademark Registration and for throughout the process of Trademark Registration;
  • Drafting documents/ dossiers for trademark registration;
  • Filing and monitoring the process of registration, examination of applications at the National Office of Intellectual Property;
  • Representing customers in the entire process of establishing rights and responding to official correspondence with the National Office of Intellectual Property on trademark registration;
  • Exchanging and providing information to customers during the process of trademark protection registration.

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