Circular No. 01/2007/TT-BKHCN, an important legal document in the intellectual property area in Vietnam, was amended for the fourth time. Regarding amendments on Vietnamese IP law, there are some of the most important points below of the amendment:

  1. Time limit for entering the Vietnamese national phase of PCT applications – Points 27.4 and 27.5

The time limit for entering the national phase in Vietnam is 31 months under both PCT Chapter I and Chapter II.

Under the old circular, a late entry within 37 months was possible with an extra fee. This provision has been removed from the amended circular, i.e, the grace period of 6 months is no longer acceptable.

  1. Deadlines for response to office action – Points 13.6.a and 15.7.a.i 

+ The deadline for response to an office action regarding formality examination has been changed from one month to two months.

+ The deadline for response to an office action regarding substantive examination has been changed from two months to three months..

  1. Features of function or purpose – Point 25.5.d(i)

The amended circular consolidates the refusal of use inventions by clarifying that the function/utility of a subject-matter is not an essential feature, but may be only the purpose/result of that subject-matter.

  1. Withdrawal of application – Point 17.5.b

New circular clearly indicate that if an applicant expressly withdraws an application, it is impossible to revive that application later. The applicant will instead have to find viable alternatives such as other protection forms on a case-by-case basis.

  1. Annuity payment – Point 20.3.a

The amended circular has indicated that a power of attorney is required for the annuity payment if it is made through an agent. In addition, annuity payments will be published in the official IP Gazette.