» Today: 23/05/2019
Intellectual -Property
Geographical indications for Vietnamese agricultural products: It is necessary to pay attention to protection in foreign countries
In recent years, Vietnam (VN) has promoted the construction of geographical indications with the aim of improving the value of agricultural products, especially in exports. However, very few Vietnamese geographical indications are registered for protection in foreign markets - this causes damages and risks to Vietnam's agricultural exports.


Businesses are still "indifferent" to applying for overseas registration

In the ceremony to announce the degree of protection to geographical indications for Son La coffee in August in Hanoi, when we asked about this plan to protect geographical indications in foreign markets, Mr. Dang Van Thinh, director of the Son La Coffee Limited Company - one of four units granted the right to use Son La coffee geographical indications, said that "it has been granted domestic geographical indications, it does not need protection in foreign countries."

Not only Son La coffee, but in fact, some businesses do not properly understand the nature of geographical indications, so they are not interested in registering for protection in foreign countries. Geographical indication is a sign (writing or image) indicating the geographical origin (locality, region or nation) of the product and is protected by the territory. Most of Vietnam's current geographical indications are only protected in the country. This affected very big to Vietnam - the second largest country in Southeast Asia and the 15th country in the world in exporting agricultural products.

If not registered for protection in foreign countries, the geographical indication may be subject to exclusive registration by an individual or organization.

Many cases of well-known geographical indications of Vietnam had been "silently taken" this way business still had not discovered, the typical geographical indication of Buon Ma Thuot coffee.

In June 2011, thanks to information on the internet, Bross & Partners Intellectual Property accidentally discovered Buon Ma Thuot coffee brand (which was protected by geographical indications in Vietnam since 2005) and was a company China registered a 10-year exclusive trademark, starting from 2010 and 2011 for a number of types of coffee products throughout China.

Although the argument belongs to Vietnam, we also have to spend a lot of time, effort and money to sue, "reclaim" the name "Buon Ma Thuot". A lot of similar cases happened with Phu Quoc fish sauce, Ben Tre coconut candy, and etc.

In the context that enterprises still have not been aware of the role of geographical indications in foreign countries, the mechanism of registration and protection of geographical indications in Vietnam is also "subsidized" that has made the enterprise lack of interest.

Currently the whole process is carried out by the local government "from A to Z" under the administration of the state. (According to the Intellectual Property Law, geographical indications is owned by the state.

The State directly manages or grants the right to manage geographical indications for organizations representing the interests of all organizations and individuals who are granted the right to use geographical indications).

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