The great innovators

Update: May, 27/2014 - 09:34

More than 90 per cent of certificates that establish the patent rights to an invention in Viet Nam are issued to foreign companies, according to a recent report from the Ministry of Science and Technology.

Under a World Trade Organisation (WTO) Agreement on Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rightspatents should be available in all member states for any invention in any field of technology. The terms of protection available are a minimum of 20 years. Viet Nam is now a full member of the WTO.

In the period from 1996 to 2013, the ministry issued nearly 12,000 patent certificates. About 11,500 of them were granted to overseas companies and individuals.

However, only about 400 Vietnamese have managed to gain a certificate in the past 18 years. Last year for example, the ministry awarded nearly 1,200 invention certificates overall and only 53 were granted to Vietnamese.

Pham Phi Anh, deputy director of the National Office of Intellectual Property, told Tuoi tre (Youth) newspaper that one of the main reasons so few Vietnamese companies were selected was that the research carried out by domestic organisations and individuals was far inferior to that in other countries.

Anh added that the standard of patent-application letters written to his office by Vietnamese was low. He said the letters often failed to even illustrate the application of an invention.

Thanks for the lunch

Dinh Thi Minh Vien, 24, from Tan Tuc Town, HCM City's Binh Chanh District, disappeared immediately after the wedding feast without saying a word to anyone, including her husband and family.

She also took all the jewellery offered as wedding presents, plus more than a tael of gold worth about US$1,700. And she turned off her phone so no one could contact her. Some people said they saw her leaving with a strange woman in a taxi.

Vien's husband, Nguyen Vu Dang, told police that the couple met in the middle of last year and married on May 18 this year. Dang said that Vien looked radiantly happy on her wedding day and did not look worried about anything.

An investigation by Nguyen Cu Trinh Ward Police showed that the runaway bride went to her friend's house and did not contact anyone, even in her own family.

When located, Vien admitted to police that as the wedding day approached she realised she was not in love with Dang and could not live with him for life.

However, Vien was afraid that the parents on both sides would lose face if she did not go ahead with the wedding, so she decided to proceed with plans but flee afterwards.

Police have asked the two families to discuss the matter and reach an agreement by themselves. Some guests, however, are still in a bit of a spin. Thanks for the lunch, but what about the presents?

Don't rubbish poetry

Viet Nam is noted for its wartime posters, but a poetic variety has become popular in Dong Tam Ward in Hai Ba Trung District.

The posters, which are made of canvas and nailed up in the streets, advise residents to put their rubbish only in designated areas or wait for a dust cart to come. As one poem says: "Residents shouldn't think that neighbours like them dump trash in the streets."

The poetry was composed by head of a residents' group, Dang Quang Hung. And he pays for them out of his own money.

Most people in the area love the posters and know many of them by heart. The effect of the war on dirty neighborhoods is obvious. The streets in the district are much cleaner than those in other parts of Ha Noi.

Hung, who used to be an advertising worker, likes composing poetry. He changes the messages every year to make sure they match topical circumstances.

Hung's wife, who is a lecturer at the National Economics University, shares her ideas with him about protecting the environment. Not only do their ideas illustrate the power of the pen, they also illustrate the power of generosity and concern for one's fellow man. — VNS