The persistent counterfeiting of trademarks and products throughout Vietnam has prompted Government officials and business leaders to demand that businesses take a more active role in counteracting this activity, to supplement existing Government efforts.
At a seminar jointly held by the Ministry of Trade and the Vietnam Association for Anti-Counterfeiting and trademark protection on Thursday, officials detailed Government moves to combat counterfeiting including the imposition of stricter penalties on counterfeiters, and increases in the powers of relevant bodies such as market watchers and economic police, and requested that businesses support these efforts by expanding their distribution networks to facilitate easier consumer access to authentic products.
Director of the Centre of Technology Development against Counterfeits Le Quoc Chi criticised the tendency of businesses to shirk the responsibility of tackling counterfeiting.
“Commodities are businesses’ assets, therefore the primary responsibility for theirio protection against counterfeit rests with businesses,” said Mr Chi, who suggested companies monitor the production-to-cir-culation process of goods more closely.
Marketing director of Trung Nguyen Coffee, Nguyen Tran Quang, recommended that companies set up official distribution agencies nationwide to reduce brand-name violation and counterfeiting, maintaining that Trung Nguyen’s extensive distribution network, which covers all of Vietnam’s 64 provinces, is a key factor behind Trung Nguyen’s relative success in escaping trademark violation.
Mr Quang also advocated closer cooperation between businesses and wholesalers in the development of standardised methods for distinguishing authentic products from forgeries, arguing that financial incentives will ensure wholesalers’ assistance in this matter.
Director of the Truong Sinh Industrial Liability Limited Company Nguyen Trung Thuc offered another solution, recommending that businesses organise staff expeditions aimed at identifying counterfeiters throughout the country firsthand.
However, some business leaders and officials responded to the recommendations by expressing doubt about the potential effectiveness of such changes if current Government measures to deal with counterfeiting are not bolstered, arguing that penalites are still too lenient to significantly deter counterfeiters.
The Director of the Ministry of Trade’s Market Control Department Nguyen Duc Thich pointed out that the maximum penalty for brandname violation in Vietnam is only a VND100mil fine, compared with the US penalty of a fine of up to US$2mil and a jail sentence of 5-10 years.
Every year the Market Control Department reports around 5,000 cases related to counterfeit production and trading, many of which inflict severe losses on businesses in terms of profit and prestige.