Vietnam

The EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement became effective in October 2016; this is designed to help drive and facilitate foreign direct investment in Vietnam. Businesses bringing new brands and products to the country, have welcomed the gradual improvement of the Vietnamese IP infrastructure – and increasing awareness of IP issues locally. That the enforcement authorities are now taking a notably tougher stance on IP infringement – in some cases revoking the business licences of those found to be infringing – is also a constructive development. Although the National Office of Intellectual Property of Vietnam continues to be troubled by a dearth of examiners, an e-filing service has been set up to help drive efficiencies.

Firms

1
BMVN LLC, a member of Baker McKenzie
Rouse Legal
Tilleke & Gibbins
Vision & Associates
2
D&N International
Hogan Lovells International LLP
InvestConsult Group
LÊ & LÊ
3
Ageless IP Attorneys & Consultants
Aliat Legal
Ambys
Bross & Partners
INVENCO (Vietnam International Trademarks & Patents Agent)
Investip Intellectual Property Law Firm
IPMAX Law Firm
Schmitt and Orlov
T&T Invenmark Co Ltd
Ageless IP Attorneys & Consultants
Debuting in the WTR 1000 this year, Ageless IP Attorneys & Consultants comes recommended for its efficacious domestic trademark service and extensive knowledge of IP affairs across the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region. “It is a great partner, turning out excellent work in an efficient and well-organised manner”. Managing partner and enforcement maestro Duc Xuan Nguyen is “professional, responsive and highly skilled and he turns work around quickly”.
Aliat Legal
Artfully straddling the contentious/non-contentious divide, Aliat Legal handles a sweeping range of Vietnamese and Cambodian trademark matters from its Ho Chi Minh City offices. The Shangri-La Group is one happy patron that makes full use of the firm’s holistic trademark solutions. With two former anti-counterfeiting police officers in the team, enforcement work is a strong suit for Aliat, which maintains “close and cordial working relationships with the authorities”. The firm has recently expanded with the addition of two new domestic offices along with a subsidiary branch in Phnom Penh. Founder Duong Thanh Long is “prompt in responding to queries and provides pragmatic advice and appropriate strategies to secure the best outcomes”. A diverse range of top-tier clients such as LG Electronics and Yara International regularly rely on him to fend off infringers.
Ambys
Ambys is “among the most prestigious firms in Vietnam; it prosecutes a large number of trademark cases and has excellent practitioners”. “It has an amazing ability to provide substantive responses at lightning-fast speed. Its advice is always commercial and concise.” Managing director Thu Anh Nguyen possesses a wealth of IP knowledge and was previously an examiner and IP legal expert at the National Office of Intellectual Property (NOIP) of Vietnam.
BMVN LLC, a member of Baker McKenzie
“The best option for international rights holders in need of support in Vietnam, BMVN is a high-quality, solid performer that manages cases assiduously.” Offering “an impeccable service that gives clients the most bang for their buck”, as a Baker McKenzie member the firm has the broadest soft IP service capability in Vietnam. Minh Tri Quach and Manh Hung Tran are people brands want fighting their corner. Tran earns applause for his “professionalism, attention to detail and profound knowledge of the Vietnamese market”. “He thinks outside the box to proactively find solutions and is a pragmatic professional who is open to feedback and willing to go the extra mile to make improvements to the service.” This dynamic duo were recently joined by former Unilever in-house counsel Huu Taan Nguyen and registered foreign lawyer Troy Taylor.
Bross & Partners
In the decade since its establishment, Bross & Partners has proved its mettle on both the contentious and non-contentious fronts. Showcasing its contentious dexterity, the firm recently terminated the validity of Lacoste’s crocodile trademark for non-use, acting on behalf of domestic concern Hoa Da Loc Co Ltd. “Dedicated professional” Le Quang Vinh is a key contact.
D&N International
Long-established firm D&N International “focuses on quality not quantity” – a doctrine that resonates with blue-chips such as Samsung Electronics and eBay. Excelling in all aspects of trademark law, the firm knows how to negotiate and oversee NOIP proceedings swiftly and effectively. It is also a force to be reckoned with when it comes to anti-counterfeiting; lately it swept the market clean for the Hershey Company – which resulted in the seizure and destruction of infringing goods. Leading the Hershey enforcement campaign was brilliant brand strategist Dang Thi To Hang. Managing partner Thuy Dang a fluent Russian and English speaker – has also done much to develop and refine the practice.
Hogan Lovells International LLP
Supported by its global network, particularly its colleagues in the Hong Kong office, Hogan Lovells is an ideal choice for those dealing with a wide variety of local and international trademark, labelling and advertising matters. Hong Kong’s Eugene Low heads the department alongside former Tilleke & Gibbins pro Nga Nguyen. Travelling between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, Nguyen is a favourite of multinationals with interests across the ASEAN region; there is very little that she has not seen in the brands space.
INVENCO (Vietnam International Trademarks & Patents Agent)
“Well recognised and popular, INVENCO is one of the oldest IP firms in Vietnam.” Having worked through a split of the practice a few years ago, the side is back to its best; handling enforcement actions for a slew of loyal domestic clients. Xuan Truong Le is a name for interested parties to note.
InvestConsult Group
The Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City offices of InvestConsult Group serve up a comprehensive suite of trademark services that extends into adjacent areas such as advertising and unfair competition law. As the majority of the firm’s lawyers also serve as business consultants, its counsel on brand-related matters takes on a distinctive commercial flavour. Firm vice chair and Hanoi office helmswoman Thi Thu Ha Pham is a vastly experienced portfolio manager.
Investip Intellectual Property Law Firm
Investip has been a key player in intellectual property since 1988. Dispensing sage advice on all aspects of the protection and enforcement of trademark rights, it also has a flourishing commercial practice catering to all the legal needs of corporate brand owners. Leading the practice is Anh Ngoc Nguyen, a versatile IP veteran of two decades.
IPMAX Law Firm
Brand owners seeking cost-effective and perceptive advice should call on IPMAX, a firm “strong in trademarks” that keeps a watchful eye over large portfolios with the aid of an innovative e-filing compatible internal infrastructure. The side is captained by the effervescent lawyer Son Doan. Having spent 12 years at Rouse, he has “great all-around knowledge” and brings regional know-how and international best practices to IPMAX.
LÊ & LÊ
LÊ & LÊ works for a diverse clientele that includes a host of Fortune 500s. Having prosecuted commercially crucial marks for famous companies, it has an eye-catching track record that serves as a magnet for foreign multinationals seeking to maximise their brand value in Vietnam. Hoai Duong Le is an “influential figure whose advice has real depth”. “Impressive local firm” Pham & Associates has been a market leader in intellectual property for over 25 years – a standing to which its “glittering clientele” are happy to testify. Its four Vietnamese offices are “incredibly well-organised” and act with efficiency on a range of prosecution and litigation instructions. Managing partner Vu Khanh Toan Pham is an IP elder statesmen whose discerning advice “gets to the heart of any trademark issue”. Xuan Thu Nguyen is another key contact for anything brand related.
Rouse Legal
Rouse is known as an IP law powerhouse across Asia and is celebrated for its expertise crafting regional and worldwide solutions for brand owners. Managing its robust Vietnam practice is erudite global IP strategist Chris Vale, the country manager for Hong Kong, Vietnam and Cambodia. Another key contact for the address book is Hanoi-based Yen Vu, a versatile professional who places the commercial objectives of clients at the front and centre of her mind and who is completely at home when managing portfolios for multinational corporates. Acting for the Wm Wrigley Jr Company, she recently showcased her nimble footwork overcoming NOIP provisional refusals.
Schmitt and Orlov
With 11 offices across the ASEAN region, China, Kazakhstan and Russia, Beijing-based Schmitt and Orlov “provides strong and reliable support on local and international trademark matters”. Its Vietnam office is the central hub of its burgeoning practice and is headed by Vanja Kovacevic. “Highly effective, responsive and persuasive in her arguments, she provides clear, legally sound and commercially practical advice.” She now divides her time between the Ho Chi Minh City and Bangkok offices and has been supporting the development of the Thailand practice.
T&T Invenmark Co Ltd
INVENCO spin-off T&T Invenmark Co Ltd is moving from strength to strength as it goes into its second year of operation. Its experienced practitioners provide a top-drawer, flexible and business-focused service encompassing all aspects of trademark law. Giving brand owners peace of mind is Le Xuan Thao.
Tilleke & Gibbins
Displaying “excellent expertise and unsurpassed professionalism”, Tilleke & Gibbins is “easily the best firm in Vietnam”. Possessing a rapidly growing trademark department that is home to a legion of investigators, the team routinely delivers outstanding results in high-stakes enforcement campaigns. It is equally strong on the prosecution side; the firm recently secured the rare registration of a three-dimensional mark for Cartier. The set’s highly active domain name practice is also a major draw, with the side having recently securing the revocation of a confusingly similar domain name that clashed with one owned by the BBC. The firm is a frequent drafter of submissions to the Vietnamese government and is also actively involved in the development of policy. Recently appointed to the International Trademark Association’s East Asia and Pacific Sub-committee, Linh Thi Mai Nguyen provides vigorous leadership to the illustrious trademark department and excels on the most challenging cases. Managing director and fluent Vietnamese speaker Thomas Treutler is a repository of “profound knowledge and practical experience”. “His ability to bridge cultural and language gaps makes working with him a breeze, he is also very responsive, efficient and fair in his billing.” “Immensely knowledgeable about Vietnamese trademark enforcement, Loc Xuan Le also achieves superlative results in precedent-setting cases.”
Vision & Associates
“Leading local firm” Vision & Associates has an eminently experienced trademark team with a talent for strategic brand development and is “rapidly developing a sterling clientele”. Drawing on three decades of experience, Pham Nghiem Xuan Bac co-founded the practice. Having previously worked as a legal expert for NOIP, he uses his insider knowledge to give his clients the upper hand in prosecution. He maintains a broad corporate practice, as a result of which he has a commercial approach to intellectual property. Another former NOIP legal expert, Le Thi Kim Dzung manoeuvres deftly when getting rights on the register. Rounding off the impressive team, Do Quang Hung boasts an outstanding track record representing marquee brands in enforcement actions.

Individuals

Pham Nghiem Xuan Bac - Vision & Associates
Son Doan - IPMAX Law Firm
Hoai Duong Le - LÊ & LÊ
Vu Khanh Toan Pham - Pham & Associates
Manh Hung Tran - BMVN LLC, a member of Baker McKenzie
Thomas J Treutler - Tilleke & Gibbins
Chris Vale - Rouse Legal
Thuy TH Dang - D&N International
Le Thi Kim Dzung - Vision & Associates
Dang Thi To Hang - D&N International
Do Quang Hung - Vision & Associates
Vanja Kovacevic - Schmitt and Orlov
Loc Xuan Le - Tilleke & Gibbins
Duong Thanh Long - Aliat Legal
Anh Ngoc Nguyen - Investip Intellectual Property Law Firm
Bich Thuy Nguyen - Viet IP
Duc Hieu Nguyen - Phuoc & Partners
Duc Xuan Nguyen - Ageless IP Attorneys & Consultants
Linh Thi Mai Nguyen - Tilleke & Gibbins
Minh Huong Nguyen - Ahoa Law Office
Nga Nguyen - Hogan Lovells International LLP
Thu Anh Nguyen - Ambys
Xuan Thu Nguyen - Pham & Associates
Thi Thu Ha Pham - InvestConsult Group
Minh Tri Quach - BMVN LLC, a member of Baker McKenzie
Le Quang Vinh - Bross & Partners
Yen Vu - Rouse Legal
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Issue 71