Improving intellectual property protection in Vietnam

(VLR) (Vietnam Logistics Review) The fact that the U.S are in preparation to investigate China trade and China warned a trade war with the U.S coming from accusations of pirating and violating intellectual property which resulted in the U.S business’ loss of USD 600bn annually, equally to 3% of the total GDP of the U.S. China has been considered a chief offender. The information warned us about an important issue which is normally neglected in Vietnam.

(Vietnam Logistics Review) The fact that the U.S are in preparation to investigate China trade and China warned a trade war with the U.S coming from accusations of pirating and violating intellectual property which resulted in the U.S business’ loss of USD 600bn annually, equally to 3% of the total GDP of the U.S. China has been considered a chief offender. The information warned us about an important issue which is normally neglected in Vietnam.

Identifying intellectual property

In accordance to Article 4, Intellectual Property Law, right of intellectual property is the right of organization’s or individual’s to intellectual property, including copyright and related right, industrial property right and right of new varieties of plants. Related right is the right on performance, recording, broadcasting programs, and satellite signals carrying coded program; industrial property right is the right on invention, industrial designs, design of integrated conductor circuits, brands, trade names, geography guidance, and business secrets or property and right against unfair competitions. Right on new varieties of plants is the right on new varieties that breeder created, discovered or developed.

Definition from World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Intellectual Property is divided into two main groups: industrial property, including 6 object groups invention, helpful solutions, industrial design, brand, integrated conductor circuit design, geographical guidance and business secrets; and copyright and related rights for objects at literature works, culture, arts and literature, including computer software and data collection. Therefore, intellectual property relates to many activities of creation, production and business.

Vietnam is the worse country in intellectual property violation. Even when the country has Intellectual Property Law, there is almost no obedience.

In the past few years, Vietnam’s intellectual property law has been updated and improved. The Intellectual Property Law has been approved by the Assembly term 11th on November 29th, 2005 and took effect from July 1st, 2006. Then, the Assembly term 12th issued changes and modifications to some articles of the Law on June 19th, 2009 and took effect from January 1st, 2010. Others related to intellectual property protection can be counted as Civil Code 2005, Civil Procedure Code 2004, Penal Code 1999 and Penal Procedure Code 2003 (all were replaced by new laws applied from July 1st, 2016: Laws on Competition, Customs, IT, Cinema, Complaint and Administration Violation Handling. Besides, many documents related to various sides of intellectual property have been issued. Vietnam has also joined international organizations relating to intellectual property protection as Paris Convention on Industrial Property Protection and Madrid Agreement of registering international brand, World Intellectual Property Organization –WIPO and others…

It can be seen that Vietnam actions on intellectual property is rather adequate, suitably to changes in business environment and global integration. In term of the State’s management, Intellectual Property Administration is a unit belonging to the Ministry of Science and Technology, ensuring activities on intellectual property

Violating intellectual property is popular

However, Vietnam has been considered a country where violating intellectual property is property. In the Guideline of Risks in Doing Business Abroad by the U.K Government, Vietnam law implementation system is considered not fully developed to control intellectual property violation, although the law has been improved in the past few years. In reports on Intellectual Property announced 2013, Property Rights Alliance- PRA gave Vietnam a rank of 112/130 countries on Intellectual and 13/18 regional countries in copy right protection.

In reports on Global Competition Abilities (2015- 2016) by Global Economic Forum, Vietnam was ranked 3.6 in the scale of 1-7 of Intellectual Property Protection and ranked 88/ 140 countries. It can be seen that countries having high rank in Intellectual Property Protection are having high global competition abilities. For example, Singapore had 6.2 point, ranked 4 IPP, ranked 2 GCI; Japan, 6.1, 6IPP, 6 GCI; Canada, 5.8, 12 IPP, 13GCI; the U.S, 5.8. 15 IPP, 3GCI…

Copy right violation is one of serious field of Intellectual Property Protection in Vietnam. In 2006- 2015, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism carried out inspections on nearly 550 enterprises and 27,600 computers in the country. Nearly 500 decisions of sanctions were issued for using software without copyright, and VND 8.6bn of fine was collected. However, according to Business Software Alliance (BSA), in 2004, computer software copyright violation was 92%; in 2009, 85%; in 2010, 83%; in 2014, 81%- a high percentage to the average level of Asia- Pacific (62%), Western Europe (29%), and North America (19%). Business of selling illegal published films, music and books is popular. In a research on business situation and using illegal CDs in Vietnam in 2006, a Japanese author of Koji Domon said: ”Vietnam is the worse country in intellectual property violation.

Even when the country has Intellectual Property Law, there is almost no obedience”. Another next ten years passed, the situation was not better off. Copyright violation has been mentioned on foreign magazines, seminars or on an M.A thesis be a foreign post-graduated student. In the field of movie industry, copyright violation has been so popular that IIPA has put Vietnam on the list of countries that need special attention. Statistics from Vietnam Cinema Department showed that over 400 websites in Vietnamese have been operating by showing in public thousands Vietnamese and foreign films without copyright on the Internet. Annual reports from IIPA or U.S Trade Representative- USTR showed worries about a number of webpages or services in Vietnam allow users to download illegal music. In the field of publishing, illegal books take 20-30% of the market.

A problem should not be out of account

The fact that the U.S President Donald Trump implemented a commitment from his election campaign: considering suitable measurements to China’s trading activities that cause loss to the U.S economic benefits, firstly to attacks on the U.S Intellectual Property, showed the importance of law perfection and improvement of the state’s management abilities in intellectual property protection. This is for any country who wants to take part in the global game.

Vietnam is not an exception. To deal with intellectual property violations and challenges, the Assembly should consider changes and modifications in some related law, for example, the Penal Code with charges on intellectual property and punishments for them. Besides, the Government should improve mechanisms of dealing with intellectual property violation in inspection organizations, web security and courts. At the same time, try to improve enterprises’ and people’s awareness of intellectual property. Enterprises should pay more attention to the issue and implementation of it, there should be preparations in finance, human resource and technology to avoid problems in the progress of integration. Enterprises related to digital sector should have effective security equipment to protect copyright pirating and ISPs should not provide services to organizations and enterprises that violated copyright.

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