In 2015, inspectors from the Ministry of Science and Technology conducted 54 inspections on industrial property rights nation-wide. They detected 40 enterprises having violated patents, trade marks and brand names. They issued fines worth more than VND1.6 billion ($71,000).
Le Ngoc Lam, deputy director of the Intellectual Property Rights department, under the Ministry of Science and Technology, spoke to the newspaper Ha Noi Moi (New Ha Noi) about enterprises' role in enforcing the Law.
Do you think the Law on Intellectual Property Rights has been upheld in Viet Nam?
I'm sorry to say that the implementation of the Law on Intellectual Property Rights in our country has not been up to scratch. There are various reasons that led to this. For example when enterprise owners detected that their intellectual property rights had been infringed upon, they simply reported the violations to functional agencies. They, themselves, seldom conducted research to gather information or evidence to help functional agencies to define whether there had been any infringement on their intellectual property rights or not. This practice has become a heavy burden to government agencies and been detrimental to the enterprises themselves.
Some owners didn't want to take their cases to court because they were afraid that it might damage their enterprises' reputation or cause negative impacts on their business production.
Another factor, I should mention is sub-par inspections of informal cross border trade due to a shortage of staff.
Last but not least, smuggling activities and the circulation of fake goods in the market have caused big problems to enterprises and law enforcement agencies.
What measures should we adopt to help law enforcement officers perform their duties more effectively?
This is a very complicated issue. I have to concede that we're facing many difficulties and challenges.
Our law enforcement officers have experienced retaliation from smugglers, including gun shots.
In my opinion, to elevate the implementation of the law on intellectual property rights, we need to raise people's awareness of the law and encourage them not to buy fake goods or goods without origin certificates. Enterprises that discover that their intellectual property rights have been infringed upon, should co-ordinate with functional agencies in order to take them to court.
Do you think that Viet Nam has a strong mechanism in place to ensure the implementation of the intellectual property rights?
Principally speaking, our legal system is rather comprehensive to handle all cases of intellectual property rights violations. The Law on Intellectual Property Rights is an effective and good tool for us to refer to and use. But, what I want to emphasis here is the co-ordination of enterprises with our law enforcement officers in making sure the law is up-held. — VNS