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Level playing ground proposed in IP fees

IP News from duytho.comFees for intellectual property protection will drop for foreigners, following an amended inter-ministerial decision on intellectual property now in the process of finalisation.

 
A one-price structure for both Vietnamese and foreigners will be the main amendment of the draft decision. (Photo Nguyen Vu)

A one-price structure for both Vietnamese and foreigners will be the main amendment of the draft decision, which also instructs that fees be levied per product instead of for a class of goods as regulations now stipulate.

 

Hoang Van Tan, Deputy Director General of the National Office Industrial Property of Vietnam (NOIP), said the regulation must be built up so that it is on par with provisions in bilateral and multilateral agreements Vietnam has signed with other countries and institutions.

 

At the moment, foreigners have to pay $110 in filing fees, in addition to substantive examination fees for class-of-goods services, while Vietnamese only pay a flat VND400,000 ($26) fee.

 

In order to apply one-fee structure, the fees for foreigners should be reduced, while fees applied for Vietnamese should be increased, said Mr Tan.

 

Concerns have been raised about whether the move should be implemented immediately. Some experts have proposed the new policy take effect step by step: The gap between the fees would be narrowed first, before a common fee would be applied.

 

Le Dang Tho, Vice Chairman and Executive Director of the Vietnam International Trademark and Patent Agent, known as Invenco, said he advocated the new policy. Vietnamese enterprises should understand that VND400,000 was too small a cost for protecting and developing a trademark, he said.

 

Another point that has led to disagreement among relevant bodies is whether fees should be collected per product or for a group of products.

 

The former model is applied in some countries, including the neighbouring Thailand. However, the majority of countries in the world do not prefer it.

 

An enterprise will have pay twice if it wants to apply for IP protection for two similar products, while at the moment it has to pay once as the similar products are listed in the same class of products.

 

NOIP, the body that is drafting the legal document has decided to choose the second solution. It has also come to conclusion that the one-fee mechanism should be applied immediately as the deadline for opening the market looms.

 

Mr Tan did not reveal the exact time the new document, to be issued by the Ministry of Finance, would take effect. However, he said, the promulgation would take time as it required consensus among relevant bodies. 

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