Online IP rights discussed in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Delegates from APEC members talk on the sideline of the 45th meeting of the intellectual property experts group (IPEG). VNS Photo Thu Ngan

Electronic filing of intellectual property applications and its efforts to join the Hague Agreement were the two experiences Việt Nam chose to talk about at the 45th meeting of the Intellectual Property Experts Group (IPEG) which opened in HCM City on Tuesday.

The Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs was adopted in 1925 to govern the international registration of industrial design, and affords protection in multiple countries. Up to date, many APEC members have joined Hague Agreement.

At the two-day meeting, part of the ongoing third SOM 3, 21 APEC member economies discussed their countries’ respective efforts to protect IP rights.

Most of them focused on small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

The Philippines spoke about a project on best practices for brand development and intellectual property protection for micro, small and medium enterprises.

Mexico brought delegates abreast of an ongoing project to build SMEs’capacity in IP strategies while Russia delivered an update on a project for intellectual property commercialisation for SMEs.

Delegates also discussed other issues like trademark infringement determination in a border-enforcement context, promoting innovation through a mechanism for intellectual property valuation, financing and leveraging intellectual property assets.

“We have a number of different areas we exchange information on based on their priority,” an official who did not want to be named said.

“So small to medium enterprises are ones where we often have very fruitful exchanges of information.”

Takashi Koyama, director of the intellectual property affairs division at the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Economic Affairs Bureau, told Việt Nam News: “APEC comprises of many economies whose development levels are different. If all economies adopt harmonised IP systems, companies from other economies, including the US and Japan, can more easily invest.

“We can co-operate with Vietnamese agencies to enhance public awareness of IP rights by adopting several measures upon their request.

“Recently, our Government has focused on public awareness of IP rights in education, not just at the university level but also at elementary, junior high and high school levels for children and students to learn about the importance of intellectual property.”

In 1996, APEC’s Committee on Trade and Investment established an intellectual property rights get-together (IPR-GT) with the main aim of ensuring adequate and effective protection of intellectual property rights in the region.

TPR-GT was renamed IPEG in 1997.

Việt Nam’s experience

Speaking to Việt Nam News on the sidelines of the meeting, Lê Ngọc Lâm, deputy director of the National Office of Intellectual Property of Việt Nam, said his office had begun e-filing this year.

“This initiative has been useful as it saves time and cost for both submitter and the intellectual property office.”

Every effort would be made to popularise it, he said.

At the meeting, Việt Nam spoke about its efforts to accede to the Hague Agreement.

Việt Nam had spoken about how it reconciled the differences between its laws and the Hague Agreement without having to change the Vietnamese laws.

“The Law on Intellectual Property issued 10 years ago falls short of meeting the Hague Agreement’s provisions,” Lâm said.

“[But] Việt Nam has studied this agreement for many years. It will create advantageous conditions for Vietnamese companies to register their intellectual properties outside Việt Nam.”

Source: Việt Nam News

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