Thoi bao Kinh te Viet Nam (Vietnam Economic Times) talked with Le Van Kieu, chief inspector of the Science and Technology Ministry, about counterfeit products that violate Intellectual Property rights.
Decrees 105 and 106, which regulate Intellectual Property rights (IPR) pertaining to technology, have recently been issued. What are some of the Government’s new tools to suppress the spread of counterfeit goods?
The Decrees introduce new procedures and punishments for IPR violators in the technology industry.
For the first time, not only IPR owners but also third party consumers have the right to sue violators selling illegal goods, including food, fertilisers, medicine, and pesticides.
In addition, consumer advocacy groups can also ask relevant Government authorities to check and punish potential violators.
The Decrees also hand over authority to the relevant Government agencies. Previously, ministry inspectors and market watch agencies dealt with IPR problems only when they receive complaints. Now, the agencies can actively investigate and prosecute cases.
In terms of prevention, all the relevant agencies will co-operate closely. If an inspection agency discovers an IPR violation, it immediately informs local officials where the counterfeit products are being consumed or produced.
Under previous regulations, violators were fined no more than VND100mil, which is not a heavy punishment. What are the new fines?
Fines imposed on violators are at new levels. Instead of basing the punishment on the type of crime committed, the fine is now based on the total value of the counterfeit goods. The more products a violator has, the greater the fine.
Each violation is also assigned a particular multiplier. For example, if the total value of counterfeit goods is VND35mil then the fine will be VND35mil multiplied by three or four.
The maximum multiplier is five times, and is reserved for cases involving a high quantity of illegal goods and with sophisticated organisation.
At the local level, the provincial People’s Committee will assign the punishment, while at the Ministry of Science and Technology the Chief Inspector will decide.
There have also been changes in classifying counterfeit goods under Decree 106, which distinguish between two kinds of violations: imitations and counterfeits.
The important thing, though, is that people who have bought counterfeit products can receive compensation through the courts.
Do the new decrees cause any difficulties for relevant agencies?
The new strict regulations require authorities to follow clear procedures. It means that they have to assess the level of violation and be more accurate.
Based on their assessments, they can then issue a verdict Whether the verdict is right or not depends on the authorities, who must have a clear understanding of the case, and be competent and firm.
Moreover, dealing with counterfeits must be regulated in detail, so that some goods are confiscated and others simply corrected. [A product may have an illegal component that can be removed or “corrected”, and then returned to its owner.]
Examining suspected areas where counterfeit products are traded or made and informing the local authorities is also an important aspect.
(Source: Viet Nam News)