The Intellectual Property Office of Vietnam (IPVN) has just informed, according to Notice No. 12044/TB-SHTT dated 27 December 2021, that the IPC Version 2022.01 under the Strasbourg Agreement Concerning the IPC will be applied as from 1 January 2022 in Vietnam. In the Notice, the IPVN has reminded that under Point 23.5 of Circular No. 01/2007/TT-BKHCN amended on 30 June 2016, applicants are required to state the IPC symbols, including sections, classes, subclasses, groups (main groups or subgroups), in the application forms; if the applicant does not classify or incorrectly classify, the IPVN will classify and charge a prescribed classification fee.
Like many countries, Vietnam has no its own classification system. Instead, Vietnam uses the IPC although it is not a member of the Strasbourg Agreement. The IPC provides for a hierarchical system of language independent symbols for the classification of patents and utility models according to the different areas of technology to which they pertain. Although only 64 States are party to the Agreement, the IPC is used by the patent offices of more than 100 States.
Unlike many countries where the patent offices are responsible for classifications, when filing patent applications in Vietnam, the applicants are required to state the IPC symbols as mentioned above. This is to facilitate the IPVN to assign the applications to its respective examination divisions, but causes difficulties for applicants who are not familiar with patent classification. Nevertheless, the IPVN has also provided a Vietnamese translation of the IPC Version 2022.01 to facilitate.
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By Dao Thu Trang
Deputy Director of Patent Department
INVESTIP IP LAW FIRM