Currently, an industrial design protection in Vietnam for the innovative external appearance of a product aims at differentiating from other products in the market, attracting consumer attention, developing business operations, and expanding the market of product suppliers. However, this registration of protection may be interrupted, delayed, or even denied protection due to failure to meet the legal conditions.
An application of industrial design protection in Vietnam must undergo through two examination stages including formality and substantive examination, both of which might result in protection being denied. The following are some of the frequently-cited grounds for the refusal:
1. Shortcomings related to the set of photographs/drawings
There are many cases where industrial design applications are refused protection due to the set of photographs/drawings for the following reasons:
+ There are drawings in the set of photographs or vice versa;
+ Lack of views of photographs/drawings as prescribed;
+ Photographs are shaded or dazzled or darkened; The lines on the photo/drawing are broken or blurred or out of focus;
+ Photographs/drawings of views are not in a certain direction, do not have the same proportions, and are not arranged in the correct order.
The applicant may correct the above-mentioned shortcomings based on the content of the refusal stated by the IP Office of Vietnam (IPVN). However, in some cases, editing/correcting one or more of the photographs/drawings to meet the regulation after the notification of the refusal of industrial design protection in Vietnam may cause the revised set of photographs/drawings to be inconsistent with the set of photographs/drawings at the filing time. Therefore, the applicant should take note of the above to prepare the prescribed set of photographs /drawings before filing.
The useful recommendations for the applicant when creating a set of photographs are: the position and distance between the camera and the object during the photoshoot need to be fixed; adjusting the appropriate photographic focal length to most clearly show all the external details of the object; and do not focus on a specific point of the object (do not use background blur mode). For a set of drawings, it is necessary to uniformly represent even the smallest external details of the object while maintaining the same size ratio between the details at different projection angles.
2. The object of protection request is not subject to Industrial Design
Many applicants misinterpret the term “external shape” of the product, so they have requested an industrial design application for decorative patterns on the surface of the product – objects that are not protected as an industrial design. It should be noted that the decorative pattern is not separated from the product, therefore, it is not considered a product/part of a product that can circulate independently.
In addition, symbols or screen interfaces are not protected as industrial designs in Vietnam because they are not considered as independent products.
In order to overcome the aforementioned situations and exploit the value of product creation, one of the recommendations is that the applicant should choose to file an application for protection of the external shape of the product that is decorated by the pattern/symbol or as a label containing the pattern/symbol that can stick on certain products.
3. Industrial design that lacks of novelty.
At the substantive examination stage, one of the main reasons for refusing an industrial design protection in Vietnam is lacking of novelty because the industrial design is similar to or not significantly different from the industrial design itself which was published before the filing date in Vietnam. Under this situation, there are two main reasons caused by the applicant:
+ The first reason: the industrial design is published by the applicant herself/himself, sold on the market before filing an industrial design application;
+ The second reason: The applicant does not claim priority rights for the industrial design itself that has been submitted in another country but was published before the filing date in Vietnam.
Therefore, when there is any creative idea, it is advisable to plan to carry out the procedures for an industrial design protection in Vietnam before offering, advertising, or selling to the market. Furthermore, in order to claim the priority right in a reasonable manner, it is required to carefully evaluate the facts regarding the design application submitted overseas.
More information about industrial design in Vietnam can be found HERE.
In case you require more information or assistance on industrial design protection in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, and Myanmar, please do not hesitate to contact us via email: firstname.lastname@example.org