Vietnam is said to have a high rate of intellectual property (IP) infringement even though the Law on IP has taken effect. According to Deputy Head of the National IP Office Tran Viet Hung, this issue will be of interest to other countries when Vietnam jo
What do you think about the IP environment in 2005 when the government exerted efforts in building laws on IP?
Vietnam is still rated as a country with a high ratio of IP infringement. Last year the number of IP violation cases was not reduced compared to 2004. There were up to 3,000 cases that were administratively fined, over 100 cases were judged criminally. Notably, only ten cases were handled in civil court. Most of the cases are industrial design infringements, especially trademark infringements. Making faked goods has become very popular to such an extent that whenever one kind of goods is selling well in the market, counterfeited goods will immediately appear.
Statistics show that the volume of faked and imitated goods coming from other countries is higher than that of locally-made ones. In addition, copyright infringement of audio-visual and software products continues to be a problem.
Could you give specific statistics about the impacts of IP infringement on the economy?
We do not yet have specific statistics about this but according to statistics of other countries on losses caused by software copyright infringement, Vietnam is among the countries with the highest rates of software copyright violation in the world.
Only ten of the total 3,000 IP infringement cases were brought to court last year. Is it that enterprise’s sense of self-preservation is low or do they not believe in the judgment of the court?
Both reasons are true. Vietnamese companies’ awareness of IP is very low. Many enterprises know already that their products are counterfeit but they are afraid of working with related bodies to solve the problem. They are afraid of losing money and making customers think badly of their products. I think this way of thinking is wrong.
The situation in other countries shows that bringing such cases to court is the best way because the court will have the most exact verdicts and help deal with the problem at its roots by forcing the violator to compensate for the losses of the victim.
Vietnam has not yet realized this and doesn’t consider lawsuits as normal things. The reason partly stems from the legal system of Vietnam and the poor qualifications of court officials.
Do IP control agencies have a specific plan of action to solve IP-related problems this year?
I believe that the IP environment will be healthier when the IP Law is enforced. The newly issued IP Law is greatly meaningful because it gathers all the regulations on IP that Vietnam has issued before.
The Ministry of Science and Technology has recently submitted to the Government a scheme on strengthening IP rights. This scheme includes many measures; strengthening the capabilities of related bodies like market controls, economic police, courts and violation assessment bodies as the most important measures. Those bodies will join hands to launch inspections on the enforcement of IP rights.
In addition, this scheme suggests the establishment of an inter-sector committee on realization of IP rights at the central level, which is similar to Committee 127 on fighting smuggling and trade fraud.