In Vietnam, it is mandatory to register a trademark in order to obtain protection and proprietary rights for it, as Vietnam is a “first-to-file” jurisdiction. However, in exceptional cases, well-known trademarks can be protected even if they have not been filed yet.
Trademarks must be registered with the National Office of Intellectual Property of Vietnam (NOIP).
Vietnam is a member state to the Madrid Protocol. Thus, the extension of an international registration of a trademark via the Madrid System is possible for this country. For further information regarding our services for trademark filing through the Madrid System click here.
Trademarks do not need to be in use in Vietnam in order to be filed or registered. However, extensive prior use of the mark may prove acquired distinctiveness, and as such help overcome objections raised on grounds of lack of distinctiveness.
While prior use of the trademark is not necessary for registration, once registered the trademark must not remain unused for five consecutive years or it will be vulnerable to cancellation actions for non-use. The amount of use necessary to comply with this requirement is minimal.
Once filed, the application will undergo the formality check and then be published in the Official Gazette of Intellectual Property. Third parties may then file opposition actions against the application if they so wish. At the same time, the trademarks office will perform a substantive examination which will be concluded within 9 months. Once this examination has been concluded, and provided no opposition or objection has been raised, the registration of the mark will be granted.
If you register a combined trademark (which includes both word elements and figurative elements) in Vietnam, the exclusive right to use the trademark is limited to a use of the trademark in the exact configuration or way in which it was filed and registered. If you wish to use the word element of your trademark separately from the logo (or vice versa), it is recommended you register for another trademark including only the word or figurative elements you wish to use and protect separately.
Nevertheless, if a third party eventually intends to register or use a trademark for similar goods or services that includes a primary or distinct part or portion of your trademark, you will have the right to oppose the application based on confusing similarity. Probabilities of success for an opposition will vary in each case depending on the circumstances.
The term of validity of a registered trademark in Vietnam is of ten (10) years from the filing date. It can then be renewed for successive periods of ten years, indefinitely. The renewal may be requested as early as six (6) months before the expiration date and as late as six months after it; if the renewal is requested after the expiration date, late renewal fees will apply.