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Which agencies in Vietnam have the power to deal with IPR infringement acts? What are the applicable procedures for dealing with IPR infringement acts?

Answer:

Pursuant to Article 200 of the 2005 IP Law of Vietnam, the following agencies shall  have the power to deal with IPR Infringement acts:

1.                 Courts

2.                 Inspectorates

3.                 Market control agencies

4.                 Customs authority

5.                 Police

6.                  People’s committees of various levels.

Depending on the acts, nature and seriousness of right infringement acts, such act of infringement shall  be dealt with by one agency and the distribution of powers among the agencies is set out in detail in the IP Law and relevant documents.

Several specific details:

1. Courts:

Like a majority of countries in the world, Vietnamese courts have jurisdictions over civil cases involving disputes over IPRs in general under the civil procedure legislation or over IPR infringement offences under the criminal procedure legislation.

Vietnam does not yet have an IP court to deal with IPR disputes.  These cases are usually assigned to the civil court or economic court under the provincial People’s court for first instance hearing

            The civil court under the provincial/municipal People’s court shall hear for the first instance the non-profit disputes over IPRs (e.g. those disputes over personal rights of a work author)

            The economic court under the provincial/municipal People’s court shall hear for the first instance the disputes over IPRs among organizations and individuals which are all for profit purpose (e.g. those disputes involving uses of trademarks on goods and products etc)

For a crime of IPR Infringement, it will be heard for the first instance by the district court.

            2. Inspectorates:

            Specialized inspectorates have the power to deal with IPR Infringements in their respective sector of control.

- Acts of infringement of related right and copyright: shall be deal with by the specialized inspectorate of the culture, sports and tourism sector under the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and its Departments of culture, sports and tourism of provinces and cities by way of administrative measures.

The Chief Inspector of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has the power to impose a fine with the maximum value of VND500,000,000, Chief Inspectors of Departments of Culture, Sports and Tourism have the power to impose a maximum fine of VND30,000,000.

- IPR infringement acts relating to various industrial property subject matters (inventions, trademarks, industrial design etc): shall be deal with by the specialized inspectorate of the science and technology sector under the Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST), Department of Science and Technology (DoST) of provinces and cities by way of administrative measures (except for the industrial property infringement acts in import/export).

The Chief Inspector of MOST has the power to impose a fine with the maximum value of VND500,000,000, Chief Inspectors of DoST have the power to impose a maximum fine of VND30,000,000

 

Chart on the organization of the inspection forces of

the science and technology sector:

- IPR infringement acts involving rights over plant varieties:  shall be deal with by the specialized inspectorate of the agriculture and rural development sector under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) and Departments of Agriculture and Rural Development under provinces and cities (DARD) by way of administrative measures

The Chief Inspector of MARD has the power to impose a fine with the maximum value of VND30,000,000, Chief Inspectors of DARD have the power to impose a maximum fine of VND20,000,000

Chart on the organization of the inspection forces of the agriculture and rural development sector:

3. Market control agencies

Market control agencies have the power to inspect and deal with acts of right infringement, and trading of IPR counterfeit goods during business and commercial activities.

The General Director of the Market Control Agency has the power to impose a maximum fine of VND70,000,000, Directors of Market Control Sub-agencies of provinces and cities have the power to impose a maximum fine of VND20,000,000, Heads of market control teams have the power to impose a maximum fine of VND5,000,000.

Chart on the organization of market control forces

4.      Customs authority

The customs authority has the power to deal with IPR infringement acts during the export and import goods. Upon a suspect of any imported goods of infringing protected IPR, the IPR holder of intellectual property might request the customs authority to stay the completion of customs procedures with regard to the relevant shipment for inspection. If the shipment is detected to contain a sign of IPR infringement, the right holder may request the Customs authority to impose a penalty on the organization or individual importing those infringing goods.

            5. Police

            The police is responsible to investigate into and prosecute against IPR infringement crimes (assigned to the economic police). During the investigation and prosecution of an IPR infringement crime, however, if the police deems that there are not sufficient constituents of an IPR infringement crime but there are signs of an administrative offence, the police must transfer the file infringement cases to such agencies as inspectorates and market control agencies for their settlement.

5.      People’s committees

People’s committees of various levels have the power to deal with IPR Infringement acts in their localities, however, in fact, the people’s committees only exercise this power when the fine level goes beyond the power of the heads of the department inspectorate, and market control sub-agencies, departments of customs of provinces and cities to decide and when the relevant case files are forwarded to them by those agencies together with a request for the chairman of the people’s committee to fine.

The chairmen of people’s committees of provinces and cities have the power to impose a maximum fine of VND500,000,000 (similar to the power of the Chief Inspector of MoST, and the Chief Inspector of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism).

With regard to the procedures for dealing with IPR Infringement acts, please go to the Page “Enforcement Measures” of this website.

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