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VIETNAM


VIETNAM Plant variety rights


Article 3.3 clarifies that besides propagating materials, the notion of plant varieties also includes harvested materials, while Article 4 further adds the definition of such materials to the law. As a matter of fact, the amended IP law now explicitly extends the rights of the owner of the protection title to a plant variety to the harvested materials derived from the unlawful use the protected plant variety (Article 186.2). This expansion of rights to the protection title holder brings the Vietnamese IP law into harmony with Article 14.2 of the Convention of the Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV), to which Vietnam is a party, and is limited only where the holder was given a reasonable opportunity to exercise his or her rights.


Moreover, under Article 4 of the 1991 UPOV Convention, the amended IP law in Article 157 further vests the right to register a new plant variety in entities/individuals of a foreign country not entering into an agreement on plant variety protection with Vietnam. Such entities, however, must have a permanent place of residence, or a business or production establishment of plant varieties in a foreign country that has entered into an agreement on plant variety protection with Vietnam.


Amendments to the Criminal Code


Vietnam’s current Criminal Code was introduced in 1999 and amended in 2009, coming into effect on January 1, 2010. Under the amended code, with regard to copyright violation (Article 170) and offences of IP rights infringement (Article 171), anyone who copies or distributes copyright-protected works to the public on a commercial scale without the permission of the copyright owner, or infringes the trademark and geographical indication rights on a commercial scale, will be subject to a fine of between VND50 and 500 million (up to approx.US$25,000) or non-custodial reform for up to two years. Fines will be higher, up to VND1000 million (approx.US$50,000) and/or from six months to three years imprisonment for organised and or repeated offences. Convicted offenders may also be banned from holding certain posts, practising certain occupations or doing certain jobs for one to five years.


Pham Vu Khanh Toan is the founder and managing partner of Pham & Associates. He can be contacted: hanoi@pham.com.vn


270 World Intellectual Property Review e-Digest 2012 www.worldipreview.com


ARTICLE 3.3 CLARIFIES THAT BESIDES PROPAGATING MATERIALS, THE NOTION OF PLANT VARIETIES ALSO INCLUDES HARVESTED MATERIALS, WHILE ARTICLE 4 FURTHER ADDS THE DEFINITION OF SUCH MATERIALS TO THE LAW.


Pham Vu Khanh Toan holds a BSc in physics, a BA in law and a Master’s in IP (1988). He is a registered patent and trademark attorney and an attorney at law. From 1985 to 1988, Pham was an expert for the Vietnam National Office of IP. Since 1991, he has been the founder and managing partner of Pham & Associates. He is a member of the AIPP, FICP, APAA, AIPLA, LES, ECTA, CIPA, TMA, IBA, and LAWASIA. Pham has been invited to give lectures on IP at the University for Science, Social and Humanity and the Judiciary Institute in Hanoi, and lectured on comparative laws at the Law University and the Economic University of Ho Chi Minh City.


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