Following the Government’s decision to ease social distancing on 23 April 2020, both the Intellectual Property Office and the Copyright Office of Vietnam has reopened and resumed to receiving filing directly at their offices since 24 April 2020.
The Government of Vietnam has been taking strong measures in the fight against the COVID-19 epidemic. On 31 March 2020, the Prime Minister issued Directive No. 16/CT-TTg mandating social distancing throughout the country from 1 April 2020 to 23 April 2020. People were ordered to stay at home unless they had essential business to attend to. Government officials were ordered to work from home and not come into the office, other than for essential tasks. This was not a lockdown because essential businesses were still allowed to continue operation applying strictly protective measures.
The Intellectual Property Office of Vietnam
The Intellectual Property Office of Vietnam (IP Vietnam) had been closed and did not receive filings directly during the period from 30 March 2020 to 24 April 2020.
During this period, filings were still possible via one of the following two routes:
- Filing via post, together with the payment of the related fees to IP Vietnam’s bank account; or
- Filing through the e-filing portal of IP Vietnam, together with the payment of the related fees to IP Vietnam’s bank account.
With regard to filings via the e-filing portal, the following conditions applied:
- The original documents must subsequently be submitted by post;
- Any actions related to applications/other procedures which were not originally carried out via the e-filing portal could not be carried out via that route; and
- Certain filing procedures are not presently available on the e-filing portal, such as responding to the provisional refusal of an international registration designating Vietnam under the Madrid System.
Following the Government’s decision to ease social distancing on 23 April 2020, the IP Vietnam has reopened and resumed to receiving filing directly at their offices since 24 April 2020.
Extensions of deadlines
According to Notice No. 5277/TB-SHTT issued on 31 March 2020 by the IP Vietnam, all deadlines for procedures relating to the establishment of industrial property rights (including priority claims, supplementing/submitting documents and responses to decisions or notifications by IP Vietnam, renewal and maintenance of certificates of protection (patents and registrations), appeals and payment of fees) falling within the period from 30 March 2020 to 30 April 2020 shall be automatically extended to 30 May 2020.
For other related procedures not listed above, the applicants/related parties will be entitled to request the application of the force majeure exception, as provided in Circular 01/2007/TT/BKHCN (as amended and supplemented by Circular 16/2016/TT-BKHCN) to seek similar time extensions. Point 9.4 of this circular provides that the related time limits:
“exclude the period during which a force majeure event or objective obstacle makes an organisation or individual fails to exercise their rights and fulfil their obligations if such organisation or individual makes a request and provides legitimate evidence”.
The Copyright Office of Vietnam
The Copyright Office of Vietnam (COV) had also been closed and ceased receiving applications for registration of copyright and related rights at its office from 30 March 2020 to 24 April 2020.
During this period, filing of applications for registration of copyright and related rights could still be made online or via post.
Like the IP Vietnam, the COV has also reopened to receive filings directly at its Office since 24 April 2020.