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IPR Enforcement Makes Strides in Vietnam

By Thomas J. Treutler

Thomas J. Treutler, a Registered U.S. Patent Attorney, is Managing Director of Tilleke & Gibbins’ Vietnam offices. Tilleke & Gibbins is an IP-focused law firm headquartered in Thailand, with other offices in Indonesia, Myanmar, and Laos. Mr. Treutler has worked in Vietnam since 1993, where he is a Registered Foreign Attorney.

Over the last 20 years, since the U.S. and Vietnam re-established diplomatic relations in 1994, IPR enforcement has made great strides. The improvements can be attributed to legislative reforms introduced when Vietnam joined the WTO in 2006, and increased efforts to enforce the laws on the books as the Vietnamese economy seeks to attract higher quality types of investment that depend on strong IPR protection. Vietnam is now in the midst of negotiations with the EC in regard to a potential FTA and with the United States in regard to TPP. Against this backdrop, 2014 saw Vietnamese enforcement agencies and courts issue several precedent-setting decisions with harsh sanctions imposed on infringers. These improvements have also led to increased awareness of IPR issues among local SMEs, who do not want to be seen as unsophisticated regarding IPR in the era of business globalization. Gone are the days where the cease and desist letter was promptly placed in the circular file; local business are more and more willing to respond to such letters, and to meet with the counsel of rightsholders to work out i...

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