April is special to all of us, those who practice intellectual property and technology laws. This year, World Intellectual Property Day 2021 focusses on the important role of small and medium-sized enterprises ("SMEs") in our economy and how they can use intellectual property rights to build more sustainable businesses. 

Vietnam is in the process of accelerating its digital transformation. Therefore, giant tech firms such as Qualcomm are buttressing SMEs and tech startups to file and obtain patent registrations which can be commercialized internationally. 

By way of background, Qualcomm hosted the Qualcomm Vietnam Innovation Challenge ("QVIC") to offer its technical and financial assistance to Vietnamese tech startups in various new technology areas and help them to protect their potentially valuable patents. QVIC has received positive support and encouragement from the Vietnam Ministry of Science and Technology. It is believed that QVIC will help Vietnam’s rising technology ecosystem from developing innovative tech startups that are designing products in 5G, Internet of Things, AI, smart cities, wearable devices, etc.

Our Baker McKenzie Vietnam's IP team has been selected as the lead legal counsel for QVIC. From day one, we have been working very closely with Qualcomm and its contestants to provide full patent support. Our support, among other things, includes provision of customized legal trainings and guidance on how to protect the shortlisted startups' patents/utility solutions, technical drafting and prosecution of patents at Qualcomm's generous funding. 

"To help ensure the future success of the startups that get accepted into the programme, Qualcomm has embedded IP at the heart of QVIC. Firstly, it provided the 10 finalist startups with financial incentives of up to $5,000 per startup for the filing of patents. These incentives were put in place to encourage the startups to register their respective IPs. Qualcomm has also tapped law firm Baker McKenzie Vietnam to provide finalists with IP protection training as an integral part of the programme. 

Qualcomm has also engaged Baker McKenzie Vietnam to provide consultancy and/or filing services to the startups when they submit their respective patents."