Sunday, April 22, 2018

International trademark registration ignored

IP News from KENFOXWhile exports rapidly increase, few Vietnamese trademarks have been granted overseas.

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A trademark, considered invisible property, in some cases takes approximately 90 percent of product costs.
Vietnamese hammock producer, Duy Loi, sent its first shipment to the US in September, 2001, however since then no more orders have been received as the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) granted a patent for a similar hammock to a Taiwanese business in August 2001.


Similarly, Trung Nguyen Coffee, a well-known local trademark, is in the same boat, because Rice Field of America has beaten Trung Nguyen to receiving this trademark in the US.


It took Duy Loi more than a year to win a lawsuit against the Taiwanese company, and over two years for Trung Nguyen to bring its coffee brand name back to the US. Yet many other local brand names still cannot be found on the overseas market due to trademark infringements including Ben Tre coconut sweets, Vinataba tobaccos, and Sa Giang shrimp rice powder.


“Local businesses have recently paid more attention to patent and trademark registration in overseas markets after many losses of export”, National Office for Intellectual Property (NOIP)’s Deputy Chief, Tran Viet Hung said. NOIP received a record number of 17, 000 patent and trademark applications for overseas markets during fiscal year 2004, and this figure is expected to reach 20, 000 in 2005.


Pham Thanh Binh, a lawyer from Pham & Associates, has noticed that many Vietnamese businesses only concentrate on the process of production, while they carelessly mandate trademark claims to overseas agents or partners, and obviously, trademark conflicts arise as international partners register the product trademark as their own.


A trademark, considered invisible property, in some cases takes approximately 90 percent of product costs. T&A Vietnam consulting company’s Pham Quang Hung explained that building a trademark is a kind of investment that sells itself. For some businesses, it is supposedly lavish because it costs nearly a thousand dollars for a mark to be claimed overseas, 15 times more expensive than in Vietnam; however, it is not much compared to what businesses stand to lose if they do not register their product.


NOIP helps local trademark owners receive protection in 54 countries under the 1989 Madrid Protocol. Outside the Madrid Union, businesses must contact directly to territories where marks need to be protected.


(Source: TBKTVN)

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