IP Vietnam issues guidance on deadline extensions and filing methods during covid-19 pandemic
- IP Vietnam has ceased to accept direct filings since 30 March 2020 until further notice
- IP Vietnam has provided guidance on extensions of deadlines and filing methods during this period
- All deadlines for procedures relating to the establishment of industrial property rights falling between 30 March 2020 and 30 April 2020 shall be automatically extended to 30 May 2020
Due to the covid-19 pandemic, the headquarters of the Intellectual Property Office of Vietnam (IP Vietnam) have ceased to receive filings directly since 30 March 2020 until further notice.
On 31 March 2020 IP Vietnam issued Notice No 5277/TB-SHTT, which provides guidance on extensions of deadlines and filing methods during this period. Further, on 3 April 2020 IP Vietnam issued Notice No 5387/TB-SHTT advising that its headquarters in Hanoi have temporarily halted all transactions with applicants, including receiving applications filed via post or the e-filing portal. All procedures filed via post or the e-filing portal can be received only by IP Vietnam’s representative offices in Da Nang and Ho Chi Minh City.
This update summarises the guidance provided in IP Vietnam’s notices.
Extensions of deadlines
All deadlines for procedures relating to the establishment of industrial property rights (including priority claims, supplementing/submitting documents and responses to decisions or notifications by IP Vietnam, renewal and maintenance of certificates of protection (patents and registrations), appeals and payment of fees) falling within the period from 30 March 2020 to 30 April 2020 shall be automatically extended to 30 May 2020.
For other related procedures not listed above, the applicants/related parties will be entitled to request the application of the force majeure exception, as provided in Circular 01/2007/TT/BKHCN (as amended and supplemented by Circular 16/2016/TT-BKHCN) to seek similar time extensions. Point 9.4 of this circular provides that the related time limits:
exclude the period during which a force majeure event or objective obstacle makes an organisation or individual fails to exercise their rights and fulfil their obligations if such organisation or individual makes a request and provides legitimate evidence.
Methods of filing during the period from 30 March 2020 to 30 April 2020
Direct filings will not be possible from 1 April 2020 until further notice (including at IP Vietnam’s headquarters and at its representative offices in Da Nang and Ho Chi Minh City).
Filings during this period may still be made via one of the following two routes:
- Filing via post, together with the payment of the related fees to IP Vietnam’s bank account. The date of receipt of the courier by IP Vietnam shall be considered as the date of filing; or
- Filing through the e-filing portal of IP Vietnam, together with the payment of the related fees to IP Vietnam’s bank account.
With regard to filings via the e-filing portal, the following conditions apply:
- The original documents (eg, certificates, assignment agreements and powers of attorney) must subsequently be submitted by post;
- Any actions related to applications/other procedures which were not originally carried out via the e-filing portal cannot be carried out via that route; and
- Currently, certain filing procedures may not be carried out via the e-filing portal, such as responding to the provisional refusal of an international registration designating Vietnam under the Madrid System.
Although IP Vietnam has taken prompt actions to soften the impact of the pandemic on the filing and handling of IP applications, there are still some uncertainties regarding filing procedures. Brand owners should thus seek advice from local counsel during this period.
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