Vietnam Intellectual Property Office Issues New Regulation on Document Signing
- The Intellectual Property Office of Vietnam (VNIPO) issued Notice 13822, which tightens the requirements for legal representatives of IP applicants/owners 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/owners pursuing IP registration in Vietnam.
On November 23, 2020, the Intellectual Property Office of Vietnam (VNIPO) issued Notice No. 13822/TB-SHTT (Notice 13822), which tightens the requirements for legal representatives of IP applicants/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, thus utilizing IP as a tool to enhance economic development and national competitiveness.
The strategy covers five main objectives, namely:
- Placing Vietnam among the leaders of the creation of IP rights in ASEAN by 2030;
- The establishment of industrial property laws as well as plant variety protection laws to ensure greater transparency for applicants;
- To improve IP laws and to greatly reduce the number of IP infringement cases;
- To increase the quantity and quality of IP of Vietnamese individuals and organizations; 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 impacts both local and foreign IP applicants/owners in the country.
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?
If the IP applicant/owner was an individual, their authorized or legal representative was only acknowledged through a signatory of Power of Attorney (PoA). The PoA must now be signed by the applicant, and the authorization of their representative 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?
In the case of an organization, if the applicant’s representative is the legal representative of the said applicants/owners, then the signature of a person at the level of a director/president/chairman of the board/general director will suffice as the signatory on the IP application forms.
However, if the signatories are vice of the aforementioned titles (such as the head of department, secretary, officer, or proxy), then the applicants/owners must provide supporting evidence that these signatories are eligible to represent them. This is also the case if the signatory is a staff member of an organization authorized by the applicants/owners.
What if the signatory is an IP agent?
If the legal representative of the IP owner/applicant is an IP agent, they would need to submit evidence of this relationship through a written PoA.
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.