Statistics have shown that recent numbers of invention applications in the world in general and in Vietnam in particular gradually increased. This means patents and IP protection titles become more significant while the international market is turning into a knowledge-based market in which creativity rights of human beings play a significant role and are indicators of quality and characteristics of a product of an enterprise and a country to distinguish from those of other enterprises and countries, indicating that enterprises, research institutes and inventors to be aware of IP protection in the process of economic modernization and international integration. IPR is significantly important to small and medium-sized enterprises, research institutes, universities because those stakeholders have great potential and motivation of creativity.
Invention protection is relatively complicate and relates to different aspects such as research activities, civil law and the industry. The introduction of invention protection system will enable invention holders to use more effectively.
National Office of Intellectual Property (NOIP) – a good fellow of inventors!
Industrial property protection system for invention will facilitate applicants to practice their rights effectively as a part of contributions to innovation and economic development. Under our national economy conditions, NOIP has taken part in all phases from receiving applications to handling disputes related to such inventions. Therefore, NOIP is not only a State management agency on invention but also an office establishing invention databases and providing such services as provision of patent information in technology fields as requested, provision of consultancy before filing applications and support for applicants during examination at NOIP and apply those inventions into industry. At present, NOIP has more than 60 officials working directly in patent.
NOIP is making its best in improving efficiency and productivity to meet demand of applicants through promoting examiners in both quantity and quality, putting works at NOIP into automation and expanding international relations to take use of foreign aids in experiences and knowledge in this field. NOIP is also taking into consideration the possibility of getting supports from experts outside who have knowledge, professional skills in technology fields to deal with a shortage of human resources and technical knowledge.
A brief introduction of patent protection system in Vietnam
Patent protection in Vietnam was first in force as defined in the Decree 31/CP dated 23 January 1981 and Regulations on technical innovation, rationalization of production and patent. Accordingly, in Vietnam technical solutions shall be granted with Certificate for Inventors or Patent Certificate if they meet such protection conditions as novelty, inventive step and susceptibility of industrial application. This Decree came into effect until 11 February 1989 (as the birthdate of Ordinance of industrial property protection). In this period, Vietnam only granted Certificate of Patent Author.
On 28 December 1988, the Decree 200-HDBT on protection of utility solutions was signed, therefore, technical solutions shall be granted with Utility Solution Certificate if they meet such protection conditions as novelty (in national phase), susceptibility of industrial application.
The Ordinance of industrial property protection revoked Certificate of Inventors for patent protection. Since then, patents and other industrial property subject matters are considered a property and an object of property right. This is reaffirmed in Civil Code 1995 and IP Law 2005. According to IP Law 2005, legal provisions on patent protection in Vietnam are almost in conformity with international standards provided in TRIPS Agreement.
Meaning of patent protection
Patent protection has a significant importance to nation, enterprises and inventors.
For the nation, patent protection under international standards shall contribute to attract foreign investment and encourage foreign technology transfer into Vietnam. In addition, the patent protection system also establishes a healthy business environment for all business sectors irrespective of State or private enterprises. Effective patent protection will encourage people to create more invention.
For enterprises (or investors in creating inventions), exclusive rights to invention within time limit, normally 20 years since the filing date allow them to prevent competitors from copying their inventions. The enterprises shall do business with more advantages than their competitors and solely exploit their inventions to make up for costs which have been invested in creation, continuously investing in other inventions and promoting technology potentials .v.v. Enterprises also benefit from granting licenses for others to utilize their patents through licensing contracts. Basically, the more value of the product basing on inventions, the more meaningful the protection for enterprises is. In order to create such inventions, it will take much time, efforts and money for research and development. Therefore, patent protection is an effective solution for enterprises to protect their investment achievements. However, it doesn’t mean that a patent protected by the State will bring direct benefits for its holder, but those benefits are only determined by capacity of the holder and market factors. In addition, enterprises who have many protected inventions shall enhance their positions and prove economic, science and technology, inventive potentials.
For inventors, patent protection created by themselves may affirm their creative capacity, acknowledge moral benefits and furthermore, they will get deserved payments as provided by law if such inventions are commercialized which means they bring direct benefits for enterprises. This encourages people to create and bring their inventions into manufacturing products and seeking partners to sign licensing contracts.