Should IP holders handle with the infringement through litigation?
How to handle effectively with infringement is a big concern of Intellectual Property (IP) holders. Should the IP holder file a lawsuit at Court? Is this way effective in Vietnam? This article will give you general information about handling of intellectual property disputes through legal action at court in Vietnam.
Unlike many countries in the world, in case of infringement, most IP holders proceed with lawsuits in the courts (judicial authorities), while other administrative agencies only perform measures to ensure enforcement of judgments of the court.
Protection of IP rights through the litigation has many advantages over administrative measures because it guarantees the enforcement and compensation from infringers. However, in our opinions, the practice of resolving IP rights disputes in courts is not as effective as administrative measures in Vietnam.
Vietnamese laws have not given separate regulations on procedures for settling IP disputes. Therefore, the procedures for settling disputes shall be governed by the Law on Civil procedure. According to Clause 2 of Article 30 and Clause 1 of Article 34 of this law, disputes over intellectual property rights and technology transfer between individuals and organizations and all purposes of profit are commercial disputes to be trialed at the courts of the province.
According to Article 202 of the IP Law, the court could decide the following civil measures to the infringers upon IP right:
-Compelling termination of the infringement of intellectual property rights;
-Compelling public rectification and apology;
-Compelling the performance of civil obligations;
-Compelling compensation for damages;
-Compelling destruction, or distribution/ use for non-commercial purpose.
In addition, when initiating a lawsuit or during dispute at court, the IP holders may request the court to apply provisional emergency measures in order to prevent damages.
In practice, the IP holder does not proactively protect IP rights by civil measures to file a lawsuit at court. The number of cases resolved by courts is much lower than the number of cases handled by administrative measures. Specifically, the number of cases resolved by court are 177 cases from 2012 to 2015, of which 91 cases were canceled. The number of cases resolved by administrative measure is of 22,914 cases (excluding cases handled by Vietnam Customs Authority)
Figure 1: IP dispute resolution in Vietnam (2012-2015)
Source: Final Report on the Project of IPR Protection and Prevention (2012-2015)
The reason for the above survey is that, the IP holder is less likely to resolve disputes through courts because time for dispute resolution is lengthy, the process is cumbersome and complicated, but not as effective as administrative measures. Therefore, dealing with disputes in the specialized administrations will give faster effects to the IP holders in Vietnam.
Tuan Nguyen and Thao Hoang @ ANT Lawyers