Trademarks in Vietnam

A trademark is defined as a sign used to differentiate products or services of various organisations or individuals, as given under Article 4.16, Vietnam IP Law. The following five categories are classified as trademarks as per the Laws of Vietnam:

  • Trademark including service mark means any sign used to differentiate between goods and/or services of members and non-members of an organization or an individual (Article 4.16, Vietnam IP Law).
  • Collective mark means a mark used to differentiate between goods and/or services of members and non-members of an organisation which is the possessing ownership rights of such mark (Article 4.17, Vietnam IP Law)
  • Certification mark means a mark which, for the purposes of certifying sources, raw materials and materials, is approved by its owner to be used by another company or person on their goods or services.
  • Associated mark means identical or similar marks registered by the same entity and intended for use of goods or services of the same kind or similar styles or associated relationships (Article 4.19, Vietnam IP Law)
  • Well-known mark means a mark widely known by consumers throughout the Vietnamese territory (Article 4.20 Vietnam IP Law).

To be protected in Vietnam, trademarks must meet the following standards:

  • Be visible signs depicted in one or more colours, in the form of letters, sentences, draws or images like holograms, and
  • To be capable of differentiating between goods or services of the mark owner from those of other subjects as provided under Article 72 of The Vietnam IP Law. A mark is unique if it is made up of one or more elements that are easily identifiable and unforgettable, or of many elements which form a combination that can be noticed and remembered. The laws and procedure in Vietnam permit the registration of three-dimensional signs as trademarks (shapes).

Therefore, the unconventional sound and scent of trademarks are still not recognised. They are not noticeable.

The right to trademarks shall be defined on the basis of the Decisions provided in compliance with Article 6.3(a) of IP Law 2005 by the IP Office of Vietnam concerning the registration or protection of trademarks in Vietnam. The trademark system in Vietnam operates first-to-file, unregistered trademark rights only in restricted cases is broken down.

Who can apply for a Patent Application?

Governed by Articles 87 and 89, an application can be made by any of the following person:

  • Individuals
  • Organizations
  • Foreign nationals residing permanently
  • Foreign organizations having a production or trading establishment
  • Non-resident foreign nationals or organizations not having a production or trading establishment shall apply through a lawful representative.
Patent Application Requisite Information

Governed by Article 105, documents, samples, information identifying the mark claimed for protection in a mark registration application shall include:

  • Samples of the mark and list of goods or services bearing the mark;
  • Rules on using collective mark or Rules on using certification mark.
  • Description of sample in order to clarify its elements and meaning.
Trademark Examination

The application shall be examined within 1 month from the filing date (Article 119).
a) Formal Examination:
Governed by Article 109, to verify the formal validity of the application, an examination process shall be conducted.

Application is invalid in the following circumstances:

  • The applicant does not fulfill the requirements of formality;
  • The subject matter of the application is not eligible for protection;
  • The applicant does not have the right to registration;
  • The application was filed in contrary to the mode of filing;
  • The applicant fails to pay the fees and charges.
Trademark Application Acceptance/ Refusal

The application for registration may be accepted with or without amendments until the notice of refusal by the State administrative authority. The applicant shall have the following rights.

  • To make amendment or supplement to the application;
  • To divide the application;
  • To request for recording changes in name or address of the applicant;
  • To request for recording changes in the applicant as a result of assignment under the contract, as a result of inheritance, bequest, or under a decision of an authority.
  • Any amendment or supplement to an industrial property registration application must not expand the scope of the subject matter disclosed or specified in the application and must not change the substance of the subject matter claimed for registration in the application and shall ensure the unity of the application.
  • Fee for amending applications, including for request of supplement, separation, assignment, change (per each amendment/ application): 120 thousand VND.

Governed by Article 117, refusal to register an application may be on the following grounds:

  • The subject matter claimed in the application does not fulfill the protection requirements;
  • The application satisfies all the conditions for the issue of a protection title but is not the application with the earliest filing date or priority date as in the case referred to in Article 90.1 of this Law.
  • The application falls within the cases referred to in Article 90.1 of this Law but a consensus of all the applicants is not reached.
  • The State administrative authority shall serve a notice of an intended refusal to grant a Protection Title, in which the reasons are clearly stated with a set time limit for the applicant to oppose to such intended refusal.
  • The State administrative authority shall serve a notice of the refusal to grant a Protection Title if the applicant has no objection or has unjustifiable objection to such intended refusal.
Trademark Publication
  • Governed by Article 110, an industrial property registration application which has been accepted as being valid by the State administrative authority shall be published in the Industrial Property Official Gazette.
  • Fee for publication of application, including application for amendment, supplement, separation, assignment (each application): 120 VND.
  • The application for registration shall be examined as to its substance within 6 months from the date of its publication.
  • For substantive examination of application (for each group of six products/services) – without information searching : 300 thousand VND.
Trademark Protection
  • Governed by Article 93, it is valid throughout the territory of Vietnam.
  • The registration of marks shall be valid up to 10 years from the date of filing. Their validity commences on the date of grant of protection.
  • It can be renewed indefinitely for consecutive terms of 10 years.
Rights Accruing After Registration

Governed by Article 123:

  • To use or permit others to use the industrial property object in accordance with Article 124 and Chapter X of the law (Transfer of rights: Assignment and Licensing);
  • Affixing the protected mark to goods, packages of goods, means of business or supplying services and communicating papers in business activities;
  • Circulating, or offering, advertising, storing for sale of, goods bearing the protected mark;
  • Importing goods or services bearing the protected mark;
  • The use of a trade name means the conduct of any acts for commercial purposes by using it to name oneself in business activities, expressing it in transaction documents, shop-signs, products, goods, and packages of goods and means of service and advertisements;
  • To prohibit others from using the industrial property object in accordance with Article 125 (Right to prohibit others from using industrial property objects);
  • To dispose of the industrial property object in accordance with Chapter X of this Law (Transfer of rights: Assignment and Licensing);
  • Fee for granting a Certificate for trademark registration: 120 thousand VND.