Design in Vietnam is defined as “The external appearance of a finished product or a component for assembling a finished product. The external appearance is expressed in shapes, lines, colors, or any combination thereof and is visible during the use of the product.”
The design patent system in Vietnam is an examination system. Accordingly, design applications will be assessed regarding novelty, inventive step, and industrial applicability.
A multiple application is possible for a set of articles (such as a set of cups and pot) or similar designs (embodiments). For embodiments to be included in an application, they should not be significantly different from each other. [This requirement is different from the requirement in some countries that embodiments belonging to the same Locarno Classification could be included in an application.]
If we have many similar designs and file separate applications for them, and the examiners believe that they are quite similar, they will require us to combine these applications into one application. Similarly, if we file one application for many embodiments and the examiners believe that the embodiments differ significantly from each other, they will require us to file divisional applications.
Partial designs are not patentable in Vietnam. However, a Vietnamese application can claim priority from a foreign partial design application.
Vietnam is using the Locarno classification (8th edition). The Intellectual Property Office of Vietnam (IPVN) will object to designs of products which are not included in this edition such as logos.
Notes for a Vietnamese design patent application:
- For a normal industrial design application, it must comprise all seven basic views.
- Broken lines to show partial designs are not accepted. Lines must be clean and sharp. The background color of the photos must be homogeneous. The scales of views must be the same.
- If in a set of figures/photos, a view is the same as or symmetrical to another view, the set may comprise only one of the two views.
- It is possible to omit a bottom view of a product with a large size and weight. Similarly, it is possible to omit one or more of the seven views above if the omitted views would show very thin depths of the product.
- For a design of an article which is a part of an integrated product, if the design is complex, Vietnamese examiners may require a figure/photo which shows the article within the product to illustrate where it is installed and used.
- In certain cases, the set needs to comprise figures/photos which are to clarify the design, such as enlarged views, sectional views, expanded views, and so on.
- 2D designs are also patentable.
2. Locarno (8th edition) classification
- Classification symbols (subclasses) of the design are required to be indicated in an application form, which must be filed at the time of filing the application. If no symbol is indicated in the application form or incorrect symbols are indicated, the IPVN will classify the design and charge a fee.
3. Name, address, and nationality of inventor; name and address of applicant; filing date, receiving state, and number of priority application
- These data must be designated in the application form.
4. Power of attorney
- An original power of attorney or a copy of a general power of attorney is required. The non-extendable deadline for submitting the original power of attorney or the copy is one month from the filing date.
5. Priority document
- The non-extendable deadline for submitting the priority document(s) is three months from the filing date.
- If the applicant of the priority application is not the applicant of the Vietnamese application, it is required to submit an additional document such as an assignment to prove that the applicant of the Vietnamese application has the right to claim the priority. The document may be original or a notarized/certified copy.
6. Design specification
- A specification of design is a required document. There are many regulations on the specification such as descriptions of the field in which the product is used, features of the design.
Design applications will be examined as to formalities, then published, and then substantively examined as described below.
- The formalities examination results will be available within few months.
- The application will be published within two months after it passes the formalities examination.
- In principle, the substantive examination results will be available within seven months from the publication date.
An initial term of protection of a design patent begins at the granting date and ends five years following the filing date. A design patent is renewable for two consecutive five-year terms. A renewal request should be filed within six months prior to the expiration date. A six-month grace period is available with a surcharge of 10% of the renewal fee for each month late.
Vietnam is a member of the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs (Geneva Act of July 2, 1999 – “1999 Act”) as of 30 December 2019.