Brand and trademark protection under Vietnamese laws
Numerous researches and statistics have suggested that consumers tend to choose products and services based on their familiar brand.
As branding is evolving, our conception of what a brand is has become more and more complicated. Put simply, brand is what consumers imagine when they hear about your brand name. A brand includes many elements, these elements can be a sign, a name, a symbol, a slogan or a combination of those. In a market full of choices, building a strong brand plays an important role in achieving the trust and loyalty of consumers.
Needless to say, building the brand is an urgent issue that requires a clear and specific strategy right at the beginning. More importantly, like any valuable asset, a brand should be protected.
Thus, how can we protect a brand in Vietnam? First, we ensure that brand is protected by law by registering it with the competent authority. However, as mentioned above, because brand definition is complicated and it might include many elements, Vietnamese laws merely stipulate about the protection of brand’ elements. In which, the major and well-known element that I want to focus in this article is trademark.
According to Vietnamese laws, trademark is a visible sign in the form of letters, words, pictures or a combination of those elements that identifies from one seller’ goods or services from those of other sellers.
For example, when referring to Apple, we usually think of a trendy, fashionable and expensive technology product; a classic slogan “Think different” and other countless elements that make Apple’s brand popular. So, what is Apple’s trademark? It is the picture of the bit apple carved into every Apple product.
From the legal view, a protected trademark brings undoubtedly sustainable benefits for the business owner, such as the exclusive right to exploit the trademark, the right to license and apply licensing fees, the right to transfer or the right to do franchising, etc.
It is worth noting that a protected trademark is one of the compulsory requirements to do franchising.
With a protected trademark, the business owners can prove their exclusivity and prohibit others from using it. In case they find out any infringement to their trademarks, they shall have the right to protect it by requesting administrative sanctions, suing for compensation or even requesting for applying the criminal penalties.
The Vietnamese laws seem to have no limit on the right to register the trademark, except the applicant is a foreign individual or foreign company. Almost any individual or company shall have the right to register their mark. However, not all marks can be protected as the evaluating of a trademark is quite complicated and requires high expertise. Therefore, before registering your mark, we highly recommend you to get consults with a trademark attorney for a clear overview.
For more information about the conditions and procedure for trademark registration in Vietnam, you can have a look at this infographic: