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21 December 2020
Notice 13822/TB-SHTT, issued by the Intellectual Property Office of Vietnam (VNIPO) on 23 November 2020, provides updated regulations on the signed authorisation required to register IP rights in Vietnam, which affect both foreign and local rights owners and applicants.
Separating owners and applicants into two categories (ie, organisations and individuals), the notice provides as follows.
If the signatory holds the position of chair, board chair, company president, director or general director, they must simply sign or imprint the required documents associated with the application with the company's seal.
For signatories holding any other position within an organisation (eg, vice president or department head), the applicant or IP owner must submit evidence that these signatories are authorised to represent them. The extent of such evidence will vary on a case-by-case basis depending on the application and the position of the projected signatory. All documents furnished by these signatories must be affixed with the company's seal.
Where the signatory is a staff member of an organisation authorised by the legal representatives of the applicant or IP owner, evidence of said authorisation must be provided. In addition, the above requirements of signatories must be complied with.
With regard to IP agents, their status as a legal representative of the organisation in question must be evidenced through a written power of attorney (PoA).
When authorising an individual, organisation or external agent to be their legal representative through a PoA, an individual applicant or IP owner must sign the PoA themselves, and the authorisation must be done in compliance with Sections 3 and 4 of Circular 01/2007/TT-BKHCN.
The above requirements constitute a more stringent approach by the VNIPO towards the authorisation of representatives and the documentation associated with the IP rights registration process. To clarify, in practice, the previous regime allowed for a PoA granted internally by an IP owner to an individual or organisation to stand as a valid authorisation without official scrutiny.
Although nothing has been officially promulgated to set such a process in motion, existing rights holders in Vietnam should be aware that the VNIPO may seek to invalidate their existing PoAs and require these to meet the new standards introduced by Notice 13822.
For Vietnam's IP regime as a whole, this new approach represents a step in the right direction in terms of organisation and ensuring increased oversight of the legitimacy of representatives of applicants and owners – solidifying the confidence of international investors protecting their rights in Vietnam.
For further information on this topic please contact Ian Mirandah at Mirandah Asia by telephone (+60 322 788 686) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org). The Mirandah Asia website can be accessed at www.mirandah.com.
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