Luu Duc Thanh, head of the Geographical Indications Division under the National Office of Intellectual Property, spoke to Kinh te & Do thi (Economic and Urban Affairs) newspaper.
Viet Nam is a signatory to several free-trade agreements (FTA), yet few Vietnamese enterprises have paid much attention to applying for geographical indications on their products. Do you know why?
In my opinion, there are three reasons. Firstly, many enterprises have not considered intellectual property rights as an element in their long-term development strategy.
Secondly, they don't see that intellectual property rights will help their business develop or secure a foothold in the market, both inside and outside the country.
And thirdly, the enterprises' knowledge about intellectual property rights is poor. They don't think that they are the tools to protect their trade marks, particularly in foreign markets.
Viet Nam has a National Office of Intellectual Property. People there will help you how to apply the label GIs for your products.
At present, we have more than 800 agricultural products, but only a few bearing GIs of Viet Nam. Do you think the blame is on the enterprises themselves?
So far, only 42 products have registered their GIs in the domestic market, while only two products have their GIs protected abroad (Phu Quoc Fish Sauce in the EU and Buon Ma Thuot Coffee in Thailand).
As far as I know, the National Office of Intellectual Property (NOIP) has developed a plan to work with concerned agencies, including research institutes and experts, to find any difficulties facing enterprises in registering GIs and coming up with ways of solving the problem. There is no doubt that GIs can bring a lot of benefits to workers and enterprises.
Trade tariffs were a hot topic during negotiation of the FTAs. Do you think GIs are an effective tool in trade protection in both the domestic and international markets?
Viet Nam has signed many FTAs and will sign many more with countries. In these agreements, intellectual property is an important element.
GIs are an effective tool to protect our products, particularly exports. In difficult markets, such as the EU and Japan, Vietnamese products bearing GIs have won praise from buyers. In addition to the GI marks, certification and trade marks also add value to the products.
GIs brings benefits to enterprises. Do you think they also bring benefits to the localities using their names?
Trade development covers several factors, including service quality, product quality and enterprise commitments. Of course, gaining the GIs label is essential.
In my opinion, enterprises should consider GIs as an important tool to protect their trade mark in production and in market expansion. So GIs should be considered a springboard for the enterprise to gain a firm foothold in the market and win consumer confidence.
Geographical Indications are a good way to make more people know about a locality. As a result, they help develop tourism. — VNS