Vietnam – Delays in handling IP cases due to amended IP law

The Law on Intellectual Property (IP Law) has been amended and taken effect from 1 January 2023. In Vietnam generally, after a law is amended, relevant decrees issued by the Government and relevant Circulars issued by the relevant Ministries would be amended/replaced to, in combination with the amended provisions of the law, provide sufficient provisions for the amendments to be applied.

As to the amended IP law, Decree No. 103/ND-CP and Circular No. 01/2007/TT-BKHCN have not yet been amended/replaced. As a result, there have not yet been sufficient provisions for applying the amendments to some extent and the Intellectual Property Office of Vietnam (IPVN) has issued Notice No. 333/TB-SHTT dated 3 February 2023 regarding some delays in handling intellectual property (IP) cases with the following contents.

IP cases filed since 1 January 2023

For IP applications and requests such as requests for patent invalidation filed since 1 January 2023, the effective date of the amended IP Law, the IPVN will not issue communications such as office actions (until the Decree and Circular are amended/replaced). Hopefully, everything has soon become in order.

IP cases filed prior to 1 January 2023

The Notice of the IPVN indicates two types of the IP cases.

Cases suspended: As mentioned above, the amended IP Law was issued, but the Decree and Circular have not yet been amended/replaced, and therefore, there has been a lack, from the Decree and Circular, of provisions relating to:

1. Designs of a product that (i) is a component part for assembly to constitute a complex product and (ii) is not visible during the exploitation of utility of the complex product.

2. Patent and design applications and local trademark applications a part of which is patentable/registerable and the remaining part of which is not patentable/registerable.

3. Patent applications with security control required.

4. International trademark applications relating to Articles 74.2(e) and (h) and Article 117.3(b) of the amended IP law.

As a result, the IPVN communications regarding the above matters will not be issued (until the Decree and Circular are amended/replaced).

Cases handled: For the rest IP cases, the IPVN has revised its forms with respect to formalities, for example, references to the old law are revised to refer to the amended IP law, and issued such communications. Accordingly, these IP cases are still handled as normal.

By Nguyen Duc Thang and Dinh Thi Thuy Trang

Patent Department