HANOI (Vietnam News / ANN): Vietnamese companies should attach more importance to registration for the protection of intellectual property in foreign markets if they wish to develop trademarks abroad, according to the National Office of intellectual property (NOIP).

NOIP statistics show that there have been around 50,000 applications for intellectual property protection in the domestic market, but only around 280 applications for protection in foreign markets.

This shows that Vietnamese companies do not pay enough attention to intellectual property protections in the import and export sector.

Phạm Ngọc Luận, CEO of Meet More Coffee, said that after exporting several batches of coffee to South Korea, his company filed for protection of the Meet More brand.

However, the application was rejected on the grounds that the mark was already registered in the South Korean market.

Luận was surprised to learn that it was his company’s distribution partner that had registered the Meet More brand in the Republic of Korea. Fortunately, his company successfully negotiated with his channel partner to secure the rights to the name.

There are also lessons to be learned from past trademark litigation in foreign markets for companies like Trung Nguyên Coffee, Vinataba, Bến Tre coconut candy or Phú Quốc fish sauce.

More recently, a trademark application for ST25 rice was filed in the United States to the anger of local scientists who developed the new strain of rice.

The deputy director of NOIP, Trần Lê Hồng, said Vietnamese companies should pay attention to the creation and protection of brands if they wish to enter foreign markets.

Hồng said trademark protection is territorial, which means that if a trademark is protected in Vietnam, it does not mean that the mark is protected in other markets as well.

Businesses should consider registering for trademark protection in foreign countries, he said.

According to Nguyễn Quốc Thịnh of Thương Mại University, there are several reasons that Vietnamese companies are reluctant to register trademark protection in foreign markets.

The first reason is the lack of awareness. Other reasons were that businesses were discouraged by complicated procedures as well as the high cost of registration in some markets, which made it difficult for small and medium-sized businesses.

“It is time for Vietnamese companies to start seriously considering establishing protection for their brands in foreign markets, which is essential for their development,” Thịnh said.

According to Hồng, companies could get NOIP’s support to register trademark protection overseas or obtain consultations from around 200 IP consulting firms in Vietnam.

Hồng said the register for trademark protection should be considered along with a detailed business plan for specific markets. – Vietnam News / Asia News Network

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