Notice of the Intellectual Property Office of Vietnam on the extension of the statutory deadline given the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic
On 31 March 2020, the Intellectual Property Office of Vietnam (VNIPO) issued urgent Notice No. 5277/TB-SHTT (Notice No. 5277), adopting measures in relation to the deadline extension for establishment procedures of industrial property rights affected by the global COVID-19 outbreak, and laying down guidance on transaction procedures between the VNIPO and the Applicants
over this period.
In particular, to soften the impact of the pandemic for industrial property applicants/owners, the VNIPO will implement the following works under Notice No. 5277:
- Extension of deadlines for the Applicants affected by the COVID-19 pandemic
- Extension of the time for submission of requests for fast-track examination in relation to patent applications filed under the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) program
- Transaction procedures between the VNIPO and the Applicants
1. Extension of deadlines for the Applicants affected by the COVID-19 pandemic
All deadlines that relate to procedures for establishment of industrial property rights and fall within the period from 30 March 2020 to 30 April 2020 will now be automatically extended until 30 May 2020. The VNIPO has further elaborated on the procedures in this regard, including requests for claiming priority rights, submission of the required documents, submission of responses to the VNIPO’s notices/decisions, maintaining the validity of patents, renewal of certificates of trademark registration, fees payment, and submission of appeal petitions.
With regard to other circumstances where Applicants’ execution of rights and obligations in relation to procedures for establishment of industrial property rights is also affected by the COVID-19 crisis, the Applicants are entitled to file a request to apply regulations on force majeure and objective obstacles, pursuant to Points 9.4 and 9.5 of Circular 01/2007/TT-BKHCN (amended and supplemented by Circular 16/2016/TT-BKHCN) on providing detailed guidance of the Intellectually Property Law of Vietnam, particularly as follows:
“9.4 The time limits shall be exclusive of the duration of force majeure events or objective obstacles by which organizations or individuals fail to perform their rights and obligations within the provided time limits if they make requests and have sufficient evidences to prove those circumstances. If the requests are accepted, the VNIPO shall issue decisions or notices on withdrawing the decisions or notifications which have been issued on the grounds that those organizations or individuals fail to exercise its rights and obligations within the time limits and to restore the application process to the status before expiry of the time limit.
9.5 Force Majeure is an unforeseeable event (such as natural disasters, war, etc.) and cannot be overcome despite applicants have taken necessary measures in their capacities. Objective obstacles are obstacles caused by objective circumstances (e.g. sickness, business trips, etc.) that make persons having rights and obligations impossible to know about their legitimate rights or interests are being infringed upon, or are unable to exercise their rights and obligations.”
2. Extension of the time for submission of requests for fast-track examination in relation to patent applications filed under the PPH program
The VNIPO will begin to receive the requests for fast-track examination of patent applications filed under the PPH Program, pursuant to the agreement between the VNIPO and the Japan Patent Office, on 4 May 2020, instead of the previously announced date of 1 April 2020.
3. Transaction procedures between the VNIPO and the Applicants
From 1 April 2020 until further notice, all transactions between the VNIPO (including its representative offices in Da Nang and Ho Chi Minh City) and Applicants will only be performed through post-office services or the VNIPO’s online filling system.
The Applicants' payment of the fees to the VNIPO will be made through post or by bank transfer to the VNIPO’s account at The State Treasury of Vietnam until further notice.