It can be said that a trademark is one of the intangible assets but it has an especially large tangible value in the commercial business activities of each enterprise. According to Vietnam Intellectual Property Law, trademark is any sign used to distinguish goods or services of different organizations or individuals. The distinctive sign shall be visible in the form of letters, words, drawings, images, including three-dimensional images or a combination thereof, represented in one or more colors. A visible sign which shall be eligible for protection when it is capable of distinguishing, does not deceive customers and does not conflict with protected rights of others such as: trademarks, trade names, geographical indications and industrial designs. Ordinarily, Trademarks are still mentioned in business activities under a different name is “brand”:
Look up trademarks
Before conducting trademark registration, businesses should carry out trademark search procedures. Enterprise should access the trademark system to consider the ability to register trademark in comparison with other registered trademarks at the Intellectual Property agencies. Then trademark owner shall consider whether or not to register the trademark that has been searched. Accessing trademark system also help to determine the ability to issue protection title. If it is determined that a trademark is not likely to be granted the protection title, the owner should consider amendments to obtain exclusive protection as well as to avoid wasting time without achieving results.
Documents to prepare when searching trademark:
To conduct trademark search, you only need to provide ICTLAW with documents:
- Sample trademark;
- List of products and services that need to be registered.
ICTLAW will help clients to consult and preliminary search freely. In case, clients want to search in depth to appreciate the ability to grant a trademark registration certificate, ICTLAW will conduct an intensive search.
When conducting trademark search and registration, it is very important to choose an consulting units, because they are the intellectual property representatives who are really professional and experienced units to consult, evaluate the best ability to register trademarks as well as solve problems arising from the opposition to trademark registration applications, rejecting trademark applications of customers during the process of applying for Trademark Registration in Vietnam.
Who has the right to apply for a trademark registration in Vietnam?
Anyone can proceed with trademark registration for their business operations. Trademark registrants may be:
- Vietnamese individuals;
- Vietnamese company;
- Individuals are foreigners;
- Foreign traders;
- Vietnamese and foreign organizations.
The steps to carry out the trademark registration procedure
Filling a trademark registration application:
To apply for trademark registration, customers need to prepare the following documents:
- Sample trademark;
- List of products and services that need to be registered;
- Signing authorization (in the form of ICTLAW).
Formality examination duration: 01 months from the submitting day;
The National Office of Intellectual Property shall examine if the application form meets the standards of formality, samples, owner, application rights, grouping…
If the application form is qualified, the National Office of Intellectual Property shall issue a notice of acceptance and public the application.
If the application form is unqualified, the National Office of Intellectual Property shall issue a notice of refusal and emend requirement. Enterprise shall emend the application form as required and submit to the National Office of Intellectual Property.
Duration of publication of trademark application: 02 months from the day on which the notice of acceptance is issued.
Contents of publication of trademark application are information relevant to the valid application which are recorded on the notice of acceptance, trademark samples and the list of goods and services attached.
Contents examination duration: 09 months from the publication day.
The National Office of Intellectual Property examine trademark registration conditions and the ability to issue the protection title. If the trademark registration application is qualified, the National Office of Intellectual Property shall issue the notice of intended grant of the protection title for registered trademark.
If the trademark registration application is unqualified, the National Office of Intellectual Property shall issue the notice of refusal to grant the protection title. Enterprise shall consider and send a letter of complaints as well as evidences and grounds for granting the protection title.
Issuing duration: 02 – 03 months from the day on which granting fees and charges are submitted.
After receiving the granting decision, enterprise shall submit granting fees and get the trademark registration title.
In fact: The time to consider trademark registration applications from the filing until the granting of trademark registration title or refusal to grant the protection title lasts from 15 to 18 months.
Validity of protection of registered trademark: Trademark is protected within 10 years from the application submitting day and could be unlimited extended after the validity termination. Therefore, enterprise could own the trademark and this could be the value property throughout the business practices of the enterprise if it is extended every 10 years complying with the law.
Trademark registration services of ICTLAW:
- Help enterprises in preliminary accessing trademark system freely. After that, if no similarity if found, we will officially access trademark system to get the final result and determine application choices for trademark registration at the National Office of Intellectual Property of Vietnam;
- Consult and preliminary access trademark to determine the ability to apply for trademark registration;
- Consult about signs which are identical with or confusing similar to others, which lead to impossibility of granting protection title;
- Consult about trademark groups to avoid being denied of formality and contents during the accessing process at the National Office of Intellectual Property;
- Consult about emending trademark to increase the opportunities of granting the protection title;
- Consult about the time of establishment trademark rights: According to the laws of Vietnam and other countries, trademark rights are established on the basis of a decision to grant a protection title or the international registration recognition. This is the “first to file” principle, which is different from common law system in which trademark rights are based on the “right of prior users” principle;
- Consult about protection scope of protection title: Trademark rights, particularly and intellectual property rights, generally, are protected according to state territory. That means a trademark which is registered in a country shall be protected in the territory of that country only, not automatically protected all over the world. Therefore, if enterprises wish to sell their goods and services in different countries, they should register enterprise’s trademarks in those countries to avoid disputes during business practices;
- Consult about trademark application in different countries: consult about establishment of trademark rights, because in different countries, trademark rights are established by registration or usage;
- Consult about direct trademark registration in each country or through Madrid international registration system, by which only one application needed to applied but nominate several countries. When applied through Madrid international system, first of all, trademark should be applied or registered in Vietnam, depends on that country belongs to Madrid Protocol or Madrid Agreement;
- Represent for clients, enterprises, foreign clients to apply, adjust and extend the validity for Trademark Protection Title;
- Analyze the validity of the Trademark Protection Title and the ability of violating protected trademark rights in Vietnam and other countries;
- Negotiate, draft, examine and register trademark rights assignment contracts or trademark rights licenses contracts in Vietnam and other countries;
- Consult about building and improving trademarks;
- Deal with trademark infringements;
- Protest against trademark application;
- Conduct complaints about establishment and protection of trademark rights;
- Cancel the effectiveness of the protection title complying with the law.