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Viet Nam - Japan Intellectual property seminar – benefits and positive effects on the IP system of Viet Nam

The seminar theme is often proposed by IP Viet Nam based on the prioritized issues of interest that Viet Nam most concerns and wishes to learn from experiences and strengths of Japan. The theme after that is discussed and carefully considered by Japanese side.

Japan is among the world biggest economies, a leading country in R&D, innovation, utilization and successful commercialization activities of research outcomes. Each year, hundred thousands of domestic patent filings are acquired for protection in Japan. This fact results from the development and implementation of Japan national IP strategy and the enhancement of innovative capacity of relevant stakeholders. The Government of Japan has always paid special attention to the protection and enforcement of IP rights.

The IP system of Viet Nam is almost 100 years younger than that of Japan. The best practices and failure lessons in IP activities of Japan are always precious lessons for Viet Nam. Japan is one of the important partners going side by side over the long history of development of the IP system of Viet Nam. Particularly, since 2010, the Japan Patent Office has supported IP Viet Nam in implementing several technical cooperation projects that aimed at strengthening capacity of the whole IP system[1]. Under the bilateral cooperation, the two Offices have mapped out annual workplan with various activities targeting various IP stakeholders. Apart from technical assistance and IP training for Vietnamese IP professionals, the follow-up seminar held every two years since 2005 in Viet Nam is considered pretty effective and reachable to many target groups in the society.

The seminar theme is often proposed by IP Viet Nam based on the prioritized issues of interest that Viet Nam most concerns and wishes to learn from experiences and strengths of Japan. The theme after that is discussed and carefully considered by Japanese side. Based on proposal of issues raised by Viet Nam, Japan invites experienced speakers to share most useful information to Viet Nam. There have been 8 follow-up seminars successfully organized in Ha Noi and Ho Chi Minh City each time since 2005 with the participation of almost 1,500 attendees. The participants were selected from relevant agencies and organizations. The seminars have become not only opportunities for alumni who once participated in training courses Japan[2] but indeed become an open forum for all participants to share their practical experiences and knowledge they acquired from training courses in Japan as well.

The first seminar was organized in 2005 under the theme “Enforcement of intellectual property rights”. Japanese speakers made presentations on the enforcement of intellectual property rights from perspective of businesses, enforcement agencies, particularly the role of police in the raid against infringement of IP rights – the field that Viet Nam faces many difficulties.

The second follow-up seminar was organized in 2007 under the theme “Well-known marks and brands Strategy”. The issues concerning well-known marks were paid special attention by various countries with differences in legislation and practice in different countries. Though Viet Nam owned a big variety of reputable products, particularly local specialties, not many famous marks were known to the world. One of the main reasons was that businesses did not know how to further promote their brands and effectively protect their famous marks. Japanese speakers introduced to Vietnamese enterprises and authorities experiences in strategically branding and utilizing well-known marks for national economic development.

In 2009, theme for the third follow-up seminar was decided to be “Intellectual Property Rights: Academia - Industry Collaboration in Protection and Utilization of Intellectual Property Rights”. The topics that most drew the attention from audience were how to foster intellectual property as an important tool to promote R&D activities, commercialization and samples of effective collaboration between academia and industry. Precious experiences from Japan as well as from other countries have been adapted by Viet Nam in recent years, particularly the implementation of IP-Hub and Technology and Innovation Support Centers in Viet Nam with supports by the World Intellectual Property Organization. The TISCs Network has now been further broadened in term of quantity and quality of activities.  

With an aim to exchanging views on how to utilize IP as a powerful tool for business activities and propose appropriate solutions to difficulties in IP acquisition, the fourth follow-up seminar in 2011 was named “Relationship between IP Office, IP Agents and Applicants in Improving the Effectiveness of IP Acquisition”. The seminar discussed difficulties faced by IP Agents and applicants during their acquisition of IP rights. At the same time, Japanese speakers also shared practical experiences concerning the seminar theme. Feedbacks gained from the seminar were a valuable source of reference for IP Viet Nam to improve its service to satisfy the need of applicants.

The establishment of IP rights is an initial crucial step in the intellectual property cycle as it helps formulate a legal status for IP rights. The next step of no less importance is utilization of IP rights. IP right will become meaningless if it is not effectively and timely utilized. There is a lack of due attention and capacity in the management and commercialization of IP rights in Viet Nam, particularly in research institutions while this is a strength of Japan. With a desire for studies on IP supporting policies as well as best practices in the management and commercialization of IP rights by Japanese research institutions, the fifth follow-up seminar in 2013 was held with the theme “Management and Commercialization of IP assets in universities, research institutions”. The participants were interested in IP commercialization experiences and efforts of the Government of Japan in encouraging the utilization of innovative research outcomes for manufacturing activities. 

Against the background of globalization and the advancement of science and technology nowadays, the enforcement of IP rights faces new challenges. The theme “Strengthening the enforcement of IP rights in Viet Nam” was once again proposed for the sixth follow-up seminar in 2015. The seminar discussed on the challenges posed for the enforcement of IP rights in the context of international integration as well as measures to overcome such challenges. Typical infringement cases of Japan in the fields of patent, industrial design and trademark introduced at the seminar were interesting lessons for Viet Nam enforcement authorities. Speakers of both sides discussed enthusiastically on possible measures to improve the IP right enforcement environment in Viet Nam.

The improvement of investment and business environment in Viet Nam has resulted in the vibrant foreign direct investment inflows from foreign businesses, including Japanese industries into Viet Nam. Japan is among top countries with biggest patent and design filings with IP Viet Nam. This shows big potential for Japanese patents and industrial designs to be commercialized in Viet Nam. To help patent examiners, IP Agents and businesses understand new technologies of Japan as well as seek for business collaboration opportunities, the seventh follow-up seminar was organized with the theme “Development trend and commercialization of patented Japanese technologies in early 21st century”. Though many IP dissemination and awareness activities have been conducted, the knowledge of Vietnamese businesses about IP is still limited. Even universities and research institutions where there is high innovative potential and strong research capacity, are still not proactive enough in utilizing the advantages of IP, IP information and database in R&D activities. Japanese speakers from big corporations with successful lessons of IP utilization for business activities such as Honda, Canon were invited to the seminar to share experiences with Vietnamese companies.

Following up the success of the previous seminars, the eighth seminar will be held in October 2019 in Ha Noi and Ho Chi Minh City. In the context of the Industrial Revolution 4.0 that has been affecting every aspects of life, intellectual property should go in tandem with the pace of development of new technologies born from the Industry 4.0. Given the fact, the theme for this year seminar has been decided to be “IPRs Protection and Enforcement in Industry 4.0”. The seminar is expected to bring experts’ insights over the effects of the Industry 4.0 on the socio-economic development in general and on the IP system in particular. Experiences in dealing with newly arisen matters resulted from artificial intelligence, for instance, new IP subject matters, IP right holder, enforcement of IP rights on the internet, etc. will be promissingly interesting to audience.

Apart from other cooperative activities, IP Viet Nam always highly value the bi-annual follow-up seminar as it helps spread and disseminate IP information to almost all concerning IP stakeholders in the IP system of Viet Nam. The seminar has become an open forum to regularly update with new knowledge and practices in IP protection. Above all, experiences of Japan are always valuable and useful for Viet Nam to further enhance capacity of the whole IP system. It is convinced that the follow-up seminar will continue to be held in Viet Nam in the years ahead./.

[1]  Project on Modernization of Industrial Property Administration System (IPAS) from 2000 – 2004, Project on Utilization of Industrial Property Information in Viet Nam (UTIPINFO) from 2005 – 2009 and Project on Strengthening the enforcement of intellectual property rights in Viet Nam from 2012 - 2017.

[2] Over the past 20 years, thousands of trainees from Asia-Pacific region, including 700 Vietnamese have been trained on IP in Japan. Most of Vietnamese officials trained in Japan have now become core staff working in the IP system of Viet Nam.


Some images of the follow-up seminars over the years: 

Intellectual Property Training and Consultation Center