Intellectual Property in Vietnam: New Regulations on Document Signing
- The Intellectual Property Office of Vietnam (VNIPO) recently issued Notice 13822, which tightens the requirements for legal representatives of IP applicants to sign documents on their behalf.
- The government hopes this will ensure greater quality and validity in the type of IP applications in addition to its efforts in developing a more comprehensive IP system.
- The new regulation is set to impact both local and foreign IP applicants pursuing IP registration in Vietnam.
The Intellectual Property Office of Vietnam (VNIPO) recently issued Notice No. 13822/TB-SHTT (Notice 13822), which tightens the requirements for legal representatives of IP applicants or owners to sign documents on their behalf.
This latest notification is part of the government’s efforts to improve the country’s intellectual property (IP) system. In August 2019, the government issued the Intellectual Property Strategy 2030, which aims to develop a comprehensive IP system to not only provide protection but to foster innovation, and thus utilizing IP as a tool to enhance economic development and national competitiveness.
The strategy covers five main objectives, namely:
- Place Vietnam among the leaders of creation and protection of IP rights in ASEAN by 2030;
- The establishment of industrial property laws as well as plant variety rights to ensure greater transparency for applicants;
- To improve IP laws and to significantly reduce the number of IP infringement cases;
- To increase the quantity and quality of IP of Vietnamese individuals and organizations with indicators from the Global Innovation Index (GII); and
- To enhance the effectiveness of IP utilization, such as increasing the number of commercially exploitable patents as well as the number of enterprises using IP tools in their production, among others.
What does Notice 13822 entail?
Notice 13822 impacts applicants who are individuals or organizations and affects both local and foreign IP applicants or owners in Vietnam.
The new regulation implements a more rigid system for the definition of ‘representatives’ in order to ensure greater validity in any documents submitted in addition to maintaining procedural consistency for applicants pursuing IP registration.
What if the signatory is an individual?
In individual cases, the representative of the individual is the legal representative as authorized by the applicant through the Power of Attorney (PoA). The PoA must now be signed by the applicant, and the authorization of their representative and must comply with articles three and four of Circular No. 01/2007/TT-BKHCN — an implementing regulation of the IP Law.
What if the signatory is an organization?
Under the new notification, all documents have to be signed by the legal representative of the applicant or owner such as the company president, CEO, general director, or chairman of the board and so on. If the documents are signed by others (such as the head of department, secretary, or officer), then evidence showing that these persons have the power to represent the IP owners is required. If there is no evidence, then the document must be legalized or notarized.
What if the signatory is an IP agent?
If the legal representative of the IP owner or applicant is an IP agent, they would need to submit evidence of this relationship through a written PoA.
Start preparing though further clarification likely
The notification doesn’t specify when this practice will take effect or if it will apply to previous cases, though we can expect the authorities at the IP office to apply this with immediate effect. The authorities may issue further guidance on implementing the new notification to clarify further.
Nevertheless, potential and current IP owners should contact the services of an established local consulting firm, to ensure that they understand and meet these new requirements, as it could lead to their applications being rejected by the VNIPO.