With the promulgation of the Intellectual Property (IP) Strategy until 2030, Vietnam's IP system is expected to have great development which creates a driving force for innovation as well as dissemination of creative products, thereby enriching intellectual property (IP) assets - a resource of national internal power directly serving for sustainable development.
Nowadays, under the circumstance of narrow space for economic growth based on labor and natural resources, Viet Nam has to develop the knowledge economy based on intellectual assets in order to achieve the goal of sustainable development.
In this context, on 22 August 2019, for the first time at national level, the Prime Minister issued the Intellectual Property Strategy which marked a new development step in IP field with an emphasis that this is an important tool not only to promote innovation but also to improve the national competitiveness and contribute to economic, cultural and social development of the country.
Demand of IP asset development for the new period.
Looking back on the development of nearly 40 years, it can be seen that the IP system of Viet Nam has achieved many significant achievements, such as: an IP legal framework in line with international standards; a network of competent agencies and organizations having enforcement function of IP law; a constantly increasing number of created and protected IP assets (i.e. inventions, industrial designs, trademarks, plant varieties, literary and artistic works, etc.) to contribute to improvement of spirit and physical values of the society; an increasing interest in IP.
IP assets have become an integral part of value structure not only of enterprises but also of the economy. According to statistics of recent years, numbers of applications, protection titles of invention and utility solution of Vietnamese organizations and individuals have steadily increased (with an average of 9.86%/year for applications and 20.05%/year for granted protection titles in the period of 2006-2018). Many large enterprises have already owned a certain number of patents and registered trademarks. Several universities and research institutes have connected with enterprises in order to apply patented inventions and utility solutions to activities of production and business.
In addition to inventions and utility solutions, other IP assets such as trademarks and geographical indications are also interested, registered and commercially exploited by organizations and individuals. Most of enterprises have aware of importance of trademarks, so they are actively in registration for protection of trademark very early. Provinces throughout the country have implemented many programs and projects on promotion of using geographical indications, certification marks or collective marks to contribute significantly to the economic development.
It can show some positive signs, for instance, within the framework of the National Program for Supporting Development of IP Assets for the period of 2016-2020, nearly 200 key and specific local agricultural products have been supported in registration for IP protection and put into production and business. Many products, after obtaining protection, have been widely known by consumers and have had higher goodwill and significantly increased value, such as Cao Phong oranges, Phu Quoc fish sauce, Luc Ngan litchi, Nam Roi Binh Minh grapefruit, etc.
"By 2030, Viet Nam will belong to the group of leading ASEAN countries in terms of creation, protection and exploitation of intellectual property rights".
Despite of such important achievements, IP activities of Viet Nam have not yet fully met highly increased demands of the socio-economic development, have not yet fully promoted development of science and technology (S&T) and innovation. Number of IP assets in Viet Nam, especially patents, is still not much with low value; there are rare breakthrough IP products with competitive value in the region and worldwide.
According to a research carried out by the Ministry of Science and Technology, in recent years, number of domestic invention and utility solution applications per capita in Viet Nam is about 10 applications/1 million people. In 2018, proportion of patent applications filed by Vietnamese applicants was only 15.3% of total number of patent applications filed in Viet Nam.
Moreover, commercialization of IP assets has not yet been interested, mostly was conducted in narrow scope of industries and concentrated in foreign technologies. Vietnamese inventions and technologies have not yet been widely commercialized, transferred and applied because mainly of not high creative level and low attraction to call for investment etc.
Other types of IP assets, such as trademarks and geographical indications have increased significantly in recent years but not many Vietnamese enterprises have built strong brands, some geographical indications have not yet been brought into play their values etc.
These shortcomings and limitations come from number of main reasons as follows:
- Awareness of using IPR as a tool for S&T development and production and business is limited, so organizations and businesses have not yet been interested in developing IP policies or management of IP assets; lacking of human resources having IP expertise, and lacking of fund for operation.
- The relationship between creative entities, i.e. universities, research institutes, and enterprises is limited, therefore, research results do not meet practical necessity and have no addresses for application; on the contrary, creators are also unassertive in accepting orders from businesses because their research capacity has not yet met requirements of quality.
- Organizations and enterprises do not understand clearly about procedures for IP protection; long time of application processing; infringement of IPR is increasingly complicated and is not handled strictly; etc. Those issues somewhat make creators become discouraged.
- IP information services have not yet fully met the needs of S&T research and business development.
Promotion of dynamic role of IP
In the context of promoting knowledge economy and sustainable development, in order to develop comprehensively and effectively the IP system, the Intellectual Property Strategy until 2030 has identified objectives, tasks and solutions to promote innovation and develop IP assets.
The solutions are derived from analysis of four main pillars of development cycle of IP assets, which are including creating (creativity), protecting, using (commercialization) and enforcing of IPR.
Objectives of developing IP system of Viet Nam until 2030
1) By 2030, Viet Nam will belong to the group of leading ASEAN countries in terms of creation, protection and exploitation of intellectual property rights (IPR);
2) Establishment of industrial property rights and plant variety rights should ensure rapidity, transparency, equity and timely meet the needs of enterprises and the society;
3) Effectiveness of IPR enforcement should be significantly improved; the status of intellectual property infringement should be considerably decreased;
4) New IP assets of Vietnamese individuals and organizations will increase rapidly in quantity and quality; IP-related indicators of Viet Nam in the Global Innovation Index (GII) will be substantially improved: number of patent applications and granted protection tiles will grow by an average of 16 - 18% per year; number of industrial design applications will grow by an average of 6-8 % per year; number of trademark applications will grow by an average of 8 - 10% per year; number of applications for protection of plant varieties will grow by an average of 12 -14% per year, 10 - 12% of these applications will be filed abroad, etc.
5) Effectiveness of IP utilization should be enhanced; number of IP-intensive products: 8-10% patents will be commercially exploited; at least 1 - 2 plant varieties should be exploited abroad; developing a number of IP-intensive industries; number of enterprises effectively using IP tools in their production and business increased significantly; striving for the revenue of cultural industries based on copyright and related rights by 2030 to contribute about 7% of GDP etc.
In addition to solutions covering the whole IP system, such as solutions on improvement of IP policies, legislation; solutions on improvement of effectiveness and efficiency of state management of IP; solution on strengthening and improvement of effectiveness of IPR enforcement; solutions on development of human resource and improvement of IP awareness, etc., it should be taken into account a number of outstanding tasks and solutions directly related to the objective of IP asset development, namely:
Firstly, group of tasks and solutions on promoting IP creation: in this group, central state and local administrative agencies will organize implementation of a series of measures to facilitate creative activities in order to increase both of quantity and quality of IP assets:
- Developing and providing IP information tools and services to research institutes, universities and enterprises;
- Using IP indicators as criteria to evaluate performance of research institutes, universities and enterprises.
- Developing and implementing S&T programs; supporting research institutes and universities to cooperate with enterprises to achieve research results which can be protected by IPR;
- Supporting establishment of innovation centers in combination with other forms of venture investment to incubate intellectual assets from the step of conceptualization, research and development of intellectual assets until the step of trial production, start-up formation;
- Guiding enterprises to create and effectively exploit commercial indications for their products and services; support the application for protection of potential geographical indications.
Secondly, the group of tasks and solutions on encouraging and improving the effectiveness of IP exploitation. This group of solutions is designed for achieving objective on improving effectiveness of utilization of IPR and increasing IP contributions to GDP, of which notably:
- Developing a network of IP and technology transfer centers in research institutes, universities and enterprises to promote IP creation and exploitation;
- Supporting research institutes and universities in establishment of enterprises to exploit their IPR, and shorten application process of research results into production and business;
- Promoting implementation of mechanisms and policies to develop IP-intensive industries; create reliable and quality products, and promote export of IP-intensive goods;
- Guiding and supporting enterprises to promote the use of IP tools in production and business;
- Expanding and improving quality of intermediary services to strengthen the linkage between demand and supply of IP assets; promote the evaluation and audit of IP as a basis for market transactions;
- Enhancing exploitation and analysis of patent information to serve the selection and application of appropriate technology;
- Strengthening management and effective utilization of geographical indications, genetic resources, traditional knowledge, technical know-how and folklore in order to exploit Vietnamese potential products.
Clearly that the Strategy is aimed at promoting creation and exploitation of IP assets with top priority activities relating to encourage links between research institutes, universities and enterprises. Research institutes have been given more favorable conditions to improve their research and development capacities. Enterprises and stakeholders have leading role in exploitation of IP assets and have had opportunities to enjoy mechanisms and policies relating to supports and advantages for enhancing exploitation of IP assets, and using IPR as an effective tool for improvement of competitiveness.
The key role of enterprises
Up to now, implementation of the Strategy has begun by related ministries, agencies, and People's Committees of provinces and cities directly under the central authority. However, the Strategy can only be effectively implemented and the IP system can only have great development with active participation of all stakeholders, of which "research institutes, universities, and enterprises especially playing key role in creation and exploitation of IP assets."
With identification as center of the national innovation system, what do enterprises need to do in order to have best effectiveness in their IP utilization? In each field of operation and in each different development stage, each enterprise shall have its own strategies, policies and action plans, however, in order to be soon succeeded, enterprises should be more proactive and active in following issues:
- Improving awareness and knowledge on IP protection; actively protecting IPR and respecting IPR of other organizations and individuals;
- Assessing impacts and identifying IP-related elements in business strategies and plans of enterprises;
- Enhancing IP asset management capacity of enterprises together with senses of investment for IP asset creation and ability of IP asset exploitation.
- Encouraging utilization of IP information, especially patent information, in order to guide research and development activities as well as to forecast technology development trends for production and business activities, and at the same time, improving absorbing capacity of foreign advanced technologies which are suitable with realities of Viet Nam.
With determination of the Government, consensus and efforts of all stakeholders in the society, and especially with enthusiasm of enterprises community of Viet Nam, it believes that the Intellectual Property Strategy has been implemented entirely, comprehensively and effectively, to create a driving force for innovation, to improve competitiveness of enterprises and of the country as well as to promote socio-economic development.
This year, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) selected message of "Innovate for a Green Future" for the World IP Day in order to create a campaign of using innovation and innovation-supported-IPR as the center of efforts for creating a green future. The Science and Development Newspaper would like to introduce series of articles on policies of IP asset development, introduction of protected inventions and utility solutions which are applied in practice in order to contribute to sustainable development and open pathway to a green future for the country.