Pham Hong Quat, deputy chief inspector of the Ministry of Science and Technology, spoke with the newspaper Dat Viet (Vietnamese Land) about the role of patents in increasing business competitiveness.
What benefits do patents have for enterprises?
Many enterprises have developed science and technology products eligible for global patents, but have failed to register them.
Some of these products originate from State-level research, but ownership rights remain unclear. Inventors do not want to register their projects for fear of causing ownership disputes or leaking trade secrets.
However, many are not aware that patents only require between 70 and 80 per cent of the product design, and the rest, which is usually the most important information, is kept secret. Without advice from the inventors of these products, others have little chance of replicating them.
After enterprises have registered their products, they are given exclusive rights for their design, and can sue anyone who infringes upon them.
If enterprises don't register their inventions, others can replicate the same designs, and this has led to many enterprises losing their exclusive rights.
Other enterprises only register their products in Viet Nam, which means they do not have international protection.
In your opinion, what can be done to increase patents in Viet Nam?
I think it is necessary to create faith among inventors, to make them believe that their designs will be protected. This will give them the confidence to register their products.
Enterprises should be aware of their products' value and register for exclusive rights to enlarge export markets and co-operation with foreign enterprises.
By doing so, they can stop other companies from stealing their market share.
Violations of intellectual property rights are common and have become a thorny issue for authorities. What measures will the ministry take to tackle the situation?
Technically, all countries must obey internationally recognised patents. Vietnamese courts have started to pay attention to this issue, but there are a shortage of experts and judges with experience of this issue so the investigation and prosecution process takes a long time. Ministry inspectors are currently responsible for resolving cases.
We are implementing a solution which allows both sides to argue their case under the supervision of inspectors.
This can save time and improve the role of lawyers to solve these issues. Many cases have been effectively solved by this method, protecting the rights of invention owners. — VNS