Procedures for Obtaining a Geographical Indication
The whole procedure from filing to registration is shown in the flow chart below.
(1) Filing the application
The application for a GI registration must be filed directly or by mail to the National Office of Intellectual Property of Viet Nam (NOIP) or its brand offices in Ho Chi Minh City or Da Nang.
Organizations, individuals of Viet Nam, foreign individuals permanently residing in Viet Nam and foreign organizations and individuals having a production or trading establishment in Viet Nam may file applications for a GI registration either directly or though a lawful representative in Viet Nam.
Foreign individuals not permanently residing in Viet Nam, foreign organizations and individuals not having a production or trading establishment in Viet Nam shall file applications for a GI registration through a lawful representative in Viet Nam.
Ø The application for a GI registration
The GI application shall consist of the following documents:
a) A request made in prescribed form (as prescribed in the Circular No. 01/2007/TT-BKHCN);
b) Documents, samples, information identifying the GI as provided for in Articles 106 of the IP Law 2005 of Viet Nam (e.g. a description of particular characteristics and quality of products bearing the geographical indication and a map of the geographical area subject to the geographical indication, …);
c) Power of attorneys, if the application is filed through a representative;
d) Documents evidencing the right to registration, if acquired by the applicant from another person;
e) Documents evidencing the priority right, if claimed;
f) Receipt of fees and charges.
All documents of the application shall be in Vietnamese, except for the documents mentioned at point c, d, e and other documents supporting the applications, which can be made in another language but shall be translated into Vietnamese at the request of NOIP.
Upon receipt of an application, the NOIP shall check the application’s documents before deciding whether or not to receive the application. If the application contains at least the documents specified at point a, b and f above, it will be accepted, other wise, it will be rejected.
(2) Formality examination
An application for a GI registration filed with the NOIP shall be subject to formality examination for evaluating its validity.
The time limit for formality examination of an application is one (1) month from the filing date. In the course of formality examination, if the applicant corrects or supplements documents on his/her own initiative or upon the request of the NOIP, the time limit for formality examination may be prolonged for a period of time during which documents are corrected or supplemented.
(3) Notification of the formality examination result
Before the expiration of the time limit above, the NOIP shall complete the formality examination of applications and send notices on examination results to applicants.
Ø For a valid application, the NOIP shall send to the applicant a notice on acceptance of valid application.
Ø For an application falling formal requirements, the NOIP shall send to the applicant:
- a notice of intended refusal to accept valid applications, clearly stating reasons and setting a time limit for the applicant to correct errors or to object such intended refusal and set a time limit of one month from the date of notification for the applicant to give opinions or correct errors;
(4) Refuse to accept the valid application
If the applicant to whom the NOIP has sent a notice on its intended refusal of the application fails to correct errors or unsatisfactorily corrects errors or makes no opposition or makes unreasonable opposition to the intended rejection within the set time limit, the NOIP shall send a notice on its refusal of the application and, upon the applicant’s request, refund the paid fees and charges for jobs to be done after the formality examination.
Applicants and all organizations and individuals having rights and interests directly related to may lodge a complaint with the Director General of NOIP or initiate a lawsuit at court if they disagree with this decision within 90 days from the date of receiving the notice of this decision.
Within 10 days from the date of receipt of a complaint about the notice, the NOIP shall issue a notice of acceptance or rejection of such complaint, clearly stating the reason(s) for rejection.
Upon the expiration of the time limit for settlement of the complaint about decisions or notices concerning the application for GI registration (the 1st complaints) by the NOIP such notice, if the complaint is not settled or the complainant disagree with complaint-settling decisions of the NOIP, the complainant or person having rights and interests directly related to those decisions may further lodge their complaints (the 2nd complaints) to the Minister of Science and Technology or initiate a lawsuit at court within 30 days from the date of expiration of the time limit for settlement of the 1st complaint if by that date the 1st complaint is not settled, or from the date the person having the right to complaint receives or knows about the decision on settlement of the 1st complaint. Upon the expiration of the time limit for settlement of the 2nd complaint above or if the complainant disagree with complaint-settling decisions of the Minister of Science and Technology, such complainant or person may initiate a lawsuit at court.
(5) Publication of the application
Within 2 months as from the date the application is accepted as formally valid, it will be published in the Industrial Property Official Gazette for oppositions and comments of third parties. Applicants shall pay a fee for such publication.
(6) Substantive Examination
The purpose of substantive examination of GI applications is to assess the eligibility of objects claimed in the application under the requirements and corresponding protection scope. An examination will be carried out by examiners of the NOIP within 6 months from the date of publication.
If the applicant, in the course of substantive examination, corrects or supplements documents or makes justifications on his/her own initiative or upon the request of the NOIP, the time limit for substantive examination may be prolonged for a period of time during which the applicant does so.
(7) Notification of substantive examination results
On the date of expiration of the time limit for substantive examination of an application at the latest, the NOIP shall send to the applicant one of the following notices:
Ø a notice on its intended refusal to grant a GI registration, clearly stating the reason(s) for refusal and setting a time limit of two (2) months from the date of issuance of the notice for the applicant to give opinions and satisfy the requirements (the applicant may request prolongation of the above time limit), if the object claimed in the application fails to satisfy the protection conditions;
Ø a notice on its intended refusal to grant a GI registration, clearly pointing out errors and setting a time limit of two (2) months from the date of issuance of the notice for the applicant to justify or correct errors (the applicant may request prolongation of the above time limit), if the object claimed in the application satisfy the protection conditions but the application still contains errors;
Ø a notice on its intended grant of a GI registration and request the applicant to pay the fee as referred to in the Item (9), if the object claimed in the application satisfy the protection conditions or the applicant satisfactorily corrects errors or makes reasonable justifications within the time limit above.
(8) Notification of refusal
If the applicant to whom the NOIP has sent a notice on its intended refusal of the application fails to correct errors or unsatisfactorily corrects errors or makes no opposition or makes unreasonable opposition to the intended rejection within the set time limit, the NOIP shall send a notice on its refusal of the application.
When dissatisfaction is in the decision of refusal of examiners, the applicant may appeal against the decision of refusal with Director General of NOIP or initiate lawsuits at court in accordance with procedures mentioned in the item (4) above.
(9) Notification of intention to grant GI registration and request to pay fee
If examiners judge that the application fulfills the requirements, NOIP will issue a notification of its intention to grant the GI registration and request to pay fee for the issue of a GI registration to the applicant.
(10) Issue the GI Registration Certificate
Within 10 days after applicants pay fully and on time the prescribed fees and charges, the NOIP shall carry out the procedures for granting the GI Registration Certificate.
(11) Entry into the National Register of Industrial Property and publication of the GI Registration Certificate
The GI Registration Certificate shall be recorded in the National Register of GIs and the decision on granting the GI registration shall be published by the NOIP in the Industrial Property Official Gazette within two (2) months from the date of issuance and after applicants pay a publication fee.
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