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Trademark Registration in Vietnam

Trademarks are considered as one of the biggest intangible assets of a business. Sometimes the entire value of the factory, investment equipment, products, goods, and services is still lower than the value of the brand names owned by the enterprise. Therefore, the implementation of trademark registration is not only a necessary and sufficient condition for each good and service before entering the market but also a foundation for the development of the enterprise's assets. The trademark of goods and services is what is associated with the prestige, quality, and trust of customers for a particular product or service. Because a trademark is a sign to distinguish the goods and services of one business unit from another.

Trademark Registration in Vietnam

Entities eligible for trademarks registration in Vietnam

Subjects eligible for trademark registration include individuals, organizations, and enterprises (According to the provisions of the Intellectual Property Law). Which includes:

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

How to register a trademark?

Vietnamese individuals, organizations, and enterprises

  • Directly file a trademark registration application at the National Office of Intellectual Property;
  • Through intellectual property representative companies such as Viet An Law Firm, apply for trademark registration at the National Office of Intellectual Property.

Foreign individuals, organizations, and enterprises

  • Trademark registration applications can only be filed through Intellectual Property representative companies such as Viet An Law Firm, which submits trademark registration applications at the National Office of Intellectual Property.

Using a trademark after being granted a Trademark Registration Certificate

When a trademark is granted a certificate of trademark registration, if it is not used for five consecutive years, it will be required by another entity to terminate its validity.

Classification of products as goods or services for Trademarks:

  • The classification of products for trademarks is completely different from the industry codes recorded in the Certificate of Business Registration.
  • Classification of products for trademarks is based on the International Classification of Marks (NICE Classification) which is applied all over the world.
  • There are many categories of products as goods and services on the market, but according to the Trademark Classification, there are only 45 classes, in which, there are 34 classes for goods and 11 classes for services.
  • In Vietnam, the criteria for calculating the mark registration fee are based on the class of goods and services for which the mark is registered. Accordingly, Accordingly, the more classes of goods and services a trademark application is filed for, the more registration fee will be required.

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:

Trademark search:

Step 1: Clients provide a sample of marks and a list of products as goods and/ or services

Firstly, clients provide a sample of marks and a list of products as goods and or services to Viet An Law Firm for a preliminary look-up and evaluation of the feasibility of trademark registration in Vietnam.

Step 2: Free preliminary Trademark search:

Viet An Law will conduct a free preliminary Trademark search to assess the feasibility of the trademark registration within one working day from the date when the client provided the information to Viet An Law Firm.

After the preliminary Trademark search, if any other identical or similar marks are spotted and, likely, the trademark cannot be registered, Viet An Law Firm will consult and provide the relevant references to find a solution to increase the feasibility for the trademark registration and to save time.

Step 3: Intensive look-up Service before filing a Trademark Application.

In case the preliminary Trademark search is conducted and if is likely registrable, we will move to carry out an intensive Trademark search through Vietnamese and international databases to best appraise the 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

  • Intensive search is a completely voluntary procedure of the applicant. However, this procedure should be performed as it is the first and important step in the preliminary assessment of whether a trademark should be filed for protection or not.
  • However, the trademark search is for reference only and is not a basis for granting or not granting a diploma (partially related to the priority right of trademark registration as described in the above section).
  • Dossier to look up trademark the client needs to prepare: 01 trademark sample with size larger than 3×3 cm, not exceeding 8×8 cm.
  • In-depth trademark search procedure through Viet An Law Firm takes 5-7 working days.
  • Trademark search results: A notice of trademark search results and advice on feasibility assessment, instructions on how to carry out trademark registration procedures.

Filing trademark registration applications and monitoring the trademark examination process at the National Office of Intellectual Property

Stage 1: Submission of a trademark registration declaration (submission of a trademark application)

After an in-depth search and the trademark is assessed as being able to register, Viet An Law will represent the client to file a trademark registration application at the National Office of Intellectual Property for your application.

Information customers need to prepare to make a trademark registration dossier:

  • Power of attorney (attached form provided by Viet An)
  • 01 sample of trademark (not less than 3×3 cm, not exceeding 8×8 cm)
  • List of products and services intended for trademark registration.

Viet An Law will prepare and complete the remaining documents as prescribed for the trademark registration application.

Note: In addition to the above-mentioned necessary documents when a client registers a collective mark, the dossier for certification mark needs to be provided to Viet An Law Firm as follows:

  • Regulations on the use of collective marks/certification marks;
  •  An explanation of the characteristic or specific nature and quality of the product bearing the mark (if the mark to be registered is a collective mark used for products with particular characteristics or is a certification mark the quality of the product or the mark that certifies the geographical origin);
  •  Map identifying the territory (if the mark to be registered is a mark certifying the geographical origin of the product).

Agency receiving and processing trademark registration application in Vietnam: Vietnam Intellectual Property Department.

Result of stage 1: Trademark registration declaration.

Stage 2: Examination of the trademark application Formality

The time limit for formal examination of a trademark registration application: within 02 months from the date of applying.

  • The National Office of Intellectual Property will examine the registration application that meets the requirements in terms of form, trademark sample, application owner, application right, product classification, etc.
  • If the registration application of an individual/enterprise has met the conditions, the NOIP will issue a Notice of Acceptance of a valid application and publish the application.
  • If an individual/enterprise's application does not meet the formal requirements, the NOIP will issue a Notice not to accept the application form and request the individual/enterprise to amend it. Individuals/Enterprises make amendments as required and submit amendments to the National Office of Intellectual Property.

Result of the second stage of the trademark application: Acceptance of Formally valid application.

The time limit for publication of trademark registration applications: 02 - 04 months from the date of notification of valid application acceptance.

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

Stage 3: Substantive examination of the trademark application:

The time limit for substantive examination: 24 months from the date of application publication.

  •  The National Office of Intellectual Property will conduct a substantive examination of the conditions for trademark registration, thereby assessing the feasibility to grant a protection title to the mark that the applicant has registered. If the trademark registration application satisfies all conditions, the National Office of Intellectual Property shall issue a Notice of intention to grant a certificate for the trademark application registered by the individual/ enterprise.
  • If the trademark registration application does not satisfy all conditions, the NOIP shall issue a Notice not to grant a certificate to the mark registered by the application owner. The trademark application owner shall review the Notice and send a written response to an appeal against the decision of the National Office of Intellectual Property, and together provide grounds for granting a trademark protection title for their trademarks.

Result of Stage 3: Notice of intention to grant trademark protection title and payment of granting fee

Stage 4: Receive the certificate of trademark registration and hand it over to the customer

Result of Stage 4: Certificate of trademark registration

After the decision to grant the certificate is issued, Viet An Law Firm will notify you to pay the granting fee for the certificate and return the trademark protection title to the client.

The time limit for grant of diplomas: 02-03 months from the date of payment of granting fees.

According to the experience of Viet An Law Firm, the normal time for trademark registration substantive examination will last about 12 - 18 months from the date of acceptance of a valid application.

Time Limit of trademark protection

Trademarks are protected for 10 years from the filing date (priority date). Enterprises can renew their protection titles and there is no limit on the number of renewals. Therefore, the trademark will be an asset throughout the operation and business process of the enterprise.

Some notes when carrying out trademark registration procedures

Notes on trademark registration with the registration of trade names, domain names, copyright registration of applied artworks for logos (image marks)
The consistency between the trademark registration and the trade name of the enterprise

When you register a trademark, you should simultaneously register a company name with a part of the registered trademark: For example, Viet An trademark registration company should also name the company: Company... Viet An Law... to avoid the case that after more than 1 year when the mark is granted a certificate, from the time of applying to the time of granting the diploma, a competitor registers a trading name with the part of his trademark word leading to an issue that even though the trademark has been granted a protection title, the trademark owner cannot handle violations or request the opponent to stop using the trade name because the opponent has registered the trade name before. the date I was granted the trademark. This is an unreasonable provision of the Intellectual Property Law and the Enterprise Law that the applicant should pay attention to avoid unnecessary risks.

The consistency between trademark and domain registration
  • In case if the customer registers a trademark and the company's name (trade name) is not identical with the registered trademark, your company can choose an additional domain name registration option, especially if a domain name managed by the State of Vietnam with the ending ".vn" to prove the registration of a trademark along with the domain name.
  • In fact, trademark registration is taking a long time, so it takes more than 01 years to establish the right of the application owner. Also to avoid the risk as analyzed above, later the trademark is granted by the trademark owner, who may require the competitor to register the trade name after the time when your company registers the trademark and the domain name must be terminated. stop infringing on intellectual property.
The consistency between trademark registration and applied art copyright registration for trademarks with image and text parts

For image marks (ie logos) when registering with the same information as text marks, customers who do not register a company trade name, or do not need to register a domain name, have more options when registering a trademark and at the same time, your enterprise should also register the copyright for the applied artwork for the trademark with both text and image parts. This registration is similar to the registration of a trading name, a domain name is to avoid the case that after the trademark is granted, a competitor has already registered a company name, domain name before the date the trademark is granted a certificate. By then the trademark owner has enough grounds to request the unfair competitor to stop the infringing act or request the business registration Agency to revoke the part of the name showing signs of infringing rights.

Notes about color when registering a trademark
  • According to the provisions of the intellectual property law of Vietnam, there are no specific provisions on the scope of protection of black-white and color trademarks, as well as registration of black-white marks or color trademarks the absolute rights on color for more owners. However, the practice of trademark protection in Vietnam allows a trademark registered in black-and-white that can be used in different color forms, as long as the text/image contents of the trademark are remained unchanged and do not infringe the rights to another person's registered black-and-white or color trademarks.
  •  Therefore, the point of view of Viet An Law is that for individuals and businesses carrying out trademark registration in Vietnam, who want to save costs in the process of trademark protection or choose between trademark registration color or black-white, it is preferable to register a trademark in the form of black - white.
Notes on registration of image marks (also known as logos), wordmarks, positioning sentences (slogan) when registering trademarks
Image marks (also known as logos)

It is possible to register for protection independently as a trademark or in combination with the text of the mark, the positioning sentence when registering the trademark.

Word mark

When registering a trademark, the application owner can choose the form of the registered trademark word in the following forms:

The first type of letter trademark form for registration.

  • Merely composed of standard printed letters or numbers and only in simple black-white color. The owner of a standard font trademark has a fairly broad right to use the registered mark, that is, the right to use the mark in any font or color that he or she wants as long as it does not infringe the rights of other trademarks are which have been granted protection. Such use will not prejudice the protected content of the mark.
  • The limitation of this first type of trademark registration should be noted that when used arbitrarily like this, only the content of the mark is protected, while the font or presentation is unique as well as the color. of the mark will not fall under the protection of the registered standard word mark and is granted a protection title.

The second type of trademark registration

  • Composed of letters, words, numbers that are stylized or illustrated or contain colors. A trademark registered in this form is still protected in terms of the core content of the mark which is the letter structure, pronunciation, and meaning of words (if any) like a standard printed mark. However, because the mark is also protected by an additional presentation (typeface or special presentation), its protection is further enhanced against the competitors' attempts to access the mark not only about the content but also about the expression of the mark.
  • The limitation of this second type of trademark registration is that when registering a stylized wordmark, the right to use the stylized wordmark is restricted because the applicant can only use the mark exactly as the registered model without may not arbitrarily use the mark in other words forms or other ways.
Some notes when designing, choosing to register a trademark
  • To improve the ability to be protected exclusively for their trademark, enterprises need to design a trademark that ensures uniqueness, reflects the distinctive features of their goods and services, and at the same time must be able to distinguish the mark of another entity.
  • Trademarks can be a combination of text and images. In case the mark is just words, it should be stylized so that it can be granted a protection title when registered.

Priority right that affects trademark application registration.

Priority in trademark registration affects whether or not to grant protection titles to other entities ’ trademark applications. According to the provisions of the Intellectual Property Law and relevant international treaties, from the date of filing the first application to the date of filing in Vietnam, another entity applies to the same subject in the first application. then the first applicant's application is still considered to have the same filing date as the first filing date and is given priority protection. Because of that, no one dares to assure that a trademark that has been filed and searched for the status of trademark registration will be guaranteed to be granted a protection title.

Some elements that are not granted a protection title (i.e., 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 a 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.

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 is 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 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 a trademark.

Why should to conduct the Trademark Lookup?

The trademark Look-up process is to determine whether the trademark intended to apply is similar or identical to the registered 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 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 applying (priority date). Enterprises are eligible to extend their protection titles and no limit the number of extensions. Therefore, trademarks will be property throughout the process of business operation of enterprises.

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 the 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.
  •  

Enterprises and individuals with demands to register a trademark, please contact Viet An Law Firm for advice, detailed guidance on filing, how to classify trademarks, procedures related to Trademark Registration in Vietnam, or problems arising during the process of Trademark Registration

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