Lương Minh Huân, deputy director of the Enterprise Development Institute at the Việt Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) said firms will need to shape up their acts to meet world standards at a meeting on intellectual property rights (IPR) enforcement in Hà Nội yesterday. — Photo dantri.com.vn
HÀ NỘI — As international economic integration proceeds, Vietnamese firms will encounter many new business opportunities by gaining access to broader markets, but will also have to face many challenges, such as more pressure from competition and the need for compliance with international guidelines and rules, including those relating to intellectual property.
Lương Minh Huân, deputy director of the Enterprise Development Institute at the Việt Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) said firms will need to shape up their acts to meet world standards at a meeting on intellectual property rights (IPR) enforcement in Hà Nội yesterday.
The meeting is co-organised by VCCI, the National Office of Intellectual Property of Việt Nam, Intellectual Property Association and the Software Alliance (BSA).
The event is one of the key activities of the action month surrounding “World Intellectual Property Day”. The meeting discussed current topics of special interest to the business community when the revised Penal Code comes into effect beginning earlier this year.
Lê Ngọc Lâm, deputy director general of the National Office of Intellectual Property, said that as the country increases free trade agreements with its leading partners, including the US, Japan and the European Union, intellectual property rights enforcement, including the use of penal measures, has become an important part of the negotiations for the next generation free trade agreements. The issue is taken seriously by developed partners.
“Over the years, intellectual property rights enforcement and protection laws, including enforcement through penal sanctions, have increasingly been consolidated and improved, helping to enhance the efficiency of IPR enforcement and protection efforts. The 2015 Penal Code has for the first time ever formalised the criminal liability of the legal persons for IPR breaches. This is a major step forward, which helps the local criminal laws to close the gap with the legal norms of advanced countries around the world, thus increasing the deterrent power of criminal laws against crimes, but in the meantime also places Vietnamese businesses in the face of many compliance challenges,” he added.
Computer software copyright highlighted
Computer software ownership is one of the areas in which infringements are the most common in Việt Nam.
Addressing the event, Trần Văn Minh, deputy chief inspector at the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, said that the revised Penal Code reflects the commitment of the Vietnamese government to rigorously enforce control of copyright and related rights infringement, including computer software copyright.
“With the harsh penalties established in this updated version of the Penal Code, now in effect, I recommend that it is time business leaders urgently take an inventory of how software is being used within their organisations and take timely action in order to avoid massive costs in terms of reputation, finances and the functioning of their organisations if one day, breaches are found by law enforcement authorities,” said Minh.
Minh also unveiled the software copyright audit outcomes for last year, particularly the directives issued for audits of regulatory compliance relating to computer software ownership. Sixty-three businesses were required to complete audits, resulting in 2,472 computers being scanned. Fifty-four firms involved in duplicating computer software programs without the rightful owners’ consent and were fined a cumulative VNĐ1.65 billion (US$72,687), which was transferred to the state coffers.
Early this year, the Ministry Inspectorate further scrutinised compliance with existing laws on computer software copyright at 26 companies and issued administrative fines worth of VNĐ750 million.
Speaking at the meeting, Gary Gan, director of Compliance Programmes at BSA Asia-Pacific, said that using illegitimate and unlicenced software is a form of IPR infringement relating to computer software that causes significant impact.
More than IPR infringement, it is also sign of vulnerability to potential malware attack, he added.
Việt Nam’s rate of unlicensed software installation is one of the highest in Asia-Pacific (APAC) region at 78 per cent, he said.
APAC countries which have low rates of unlicensed software installation include New Zealand at 18 per cent and the US at 27 per cent, he said. — VNS