The Vietnam IP Office has recently adopted notable changes to its trademark examination practice. We see that these practice changes are progressive, and denote a positive signal as Vietnam is working on the project of comprehensively amending its IP Law.
In a nutshell, recent practice changes extend to a number of issues, which have previously attracted debate from stake-holders:
- Acceptability of letters of consent in support of trademark registration;
- Evaluation of legal status of cited marks during examination of applied-for marks;
- Registrability of 3D marks;
- Registrability of trademarks containing uncommon languages (foreign languages other than Vietnamese, English, and French);
- Registrability of trademarks containing geographical names;
- Explicit guidelines for disclaimer imposed against trademarks;
- Formality requirement for registration of foreign collective marks and certification marks in connection with geographical names and local specialities of foreign countries.
Check out our Legal Alert in the attached link for a full report and analyses on the most recent changes to trademark examination practice adopted by the Vietnam IP Office.
Vietnam is in the process of changing its IP Law to comply with the duties and requirements under the major trade pacts it has signed, such as the European Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA), the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), and most recently the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and the UK Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (UKVFTA). In light of the proposed changes in the IP Law, the VNIPO recently made certain changes in terms of practice in dealing with hot topics of the day regarding trademark examination in Vietnam. Although the changes have not been officially made public, they do need to be consistently applied by examiners at the VNIPO. As a heads-up on these changes, we have prepared the following observations and summaries for your reference.