The Intellectual Property Office of Vietnam (IPVN) just issued Notice No. 7581/TB-SHTT dated 2 August 2021, regarding extensions of deadlines in procedures for the acquisition of IP rights. Accordingly, the deadlines for the proceedings of priority claims, submissions of documents, responses, annuity and renewal payments, fee payments, filings of appeals fall between 30 June 2021 and 31 August 2021 will automatically be extended until 30 September 2021.
The scope of the proceedings is not clear; for example, whether or not such a deadline for filing a request for examination on a patent application will be extended to the date of 30 September. In addition, interpretations of the scope by the IPVN officers may be different from each other and vary over time. Therefore, it is advisable to proceed with clear proceedings and contact the IPVN before proceeding with the rest.
Clear proceedings: We can certainly enjoy the extensions for:
i. Submissions of power of attorney and priority document,
ii. Filings of response to an office action and appeal against a decision, and
iii. Payments of annuity, renewal, and granting fees.
Unclear proceedings: For other proceedings, as desired, it is advisable to contact the IPVN regarding those particular cases.
Normal extensions: For example, with an office action having the deadline of 25 August 2021 (three months from the date of the office action), then under the regulations, it is possible to file a request for a three-month extension to 25 November 2021. While the deadline is automatically extended to 30 September as mentioned above, and a request for extension is filed on 29 September for instance, the new deadline will be 30 December 2021. Accordingly, the three-month extended period will be counted from the automatically extended date of 30 September, not from the normal deadline of 25 August in this case.
Others: In the Notice, the IPVN has reminded a normal procedure (in addition to the grace period granted automatically as above in the certain time period) that it is possible to apply force majeure event and objective obstacles cases which are defined, in Circular No. 16/2016/TT-BKHCN, as:
“A force majeure event is an event which occurs in an objective and unforeseeable manner (for example, natural calamity, enemy-inflicted destruction, etc.) and cannot be surmounted despite all necessary and possible measures having been taken. Objective obstacles are obstacles caused by objective circumstances (for example, sickness, going on a business trip, learning at a distant place, etc.) that make a person with rights or obligations unable to know that his/her legal rights or interests have been violated, or unable to carry out his/her legal rights or obligations.”
A late action can be excused if the applicant submits a petition and proper evidence demonstrating said cases and the IPVN approves, after consideration.
By Do Tuyet Nhung
Deputy Director of Patent Department
INVESTIP IP LAW FIRM