Hong Kong: Guide to Doing Business in Vietnam (Update) - Part 2

Last Updated: 12 October 2009
Article by Dao Nguyen, David Lim, Hoang Anh Nguyen and Mai Phuong Nguyen
Most Read Contributor in Hong Kong, October 2018
This article is part of a series: Click Guide to Doing Business in Vietnam (Update) - Part 1 for the previous article.

Intellectual Property


The Civil Code and the Law on Intellectual Property codify the bulk of the regulations on intellectual property. Vietnam is also a signatory to the Paris Convention, the Madrid Agreement and the Stockholm Convention of 1967, the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, and the Geneva Convention for the Protection of Producers of Phonogrammes against Unauthorised Duplication of their Phonogrammes.

Industrial property and copyright are regulated separately. Industrial property is administered principally by the Ministry of Science and Technology and copyright is regulated by the National Office of Intellectual Property.


Yes, registration is generally required except for copyright. Registration of copyright will create prima facie evidence for protection. Generally, for other intellectual property rights, the rights are protected upon registration on a first to file priority basis. Exceptions to the first to file rule are trade secrets, geographic indications, and trade names which are entitled to legal protection upon fulfilment of their own conditions for formation and usage.






A technological solution presenting worldwide novelty, an inventive step applicable in socio-economic fields

20 years from the date of Application`


Rights of an organisation or individual to works which such organisation or individual created or owns – "works" means a creation of the mind in the literary, fi rst artistic or scientific sectors, expressed in any mode or form

Authors' life plus 50 years except for movies, photographs, plays, applied fine arts works which enjoy only 50 years' protection from date of publication


Marks used to distinguish goods or services of diff erent organisations and individuals. They may take the form of words, images or any combination presented in one or more colours

10 years from the date of application, renewable for successive 10 year periods without limit


The outward appearance of a product embodied in three dimensional configuration, lines, colours or a combination of such elements

5 years from the date of application, renewable for an additional two periods of 5 years – up to a maximum of 15 years


The designation of an organisation or individual used in business activities in order to distinguish the business entity bearing such trade name from other business entities in the same business sector and area

Entire duration of use

Technology Transfer


The following organisations and individuals have the right to transfer, the right to use (by licensing / sub-licensing) or the ownership of technology:

  • The owner of the technology
  • Any organisation or individual being permitted by the owner of the technology to transfer the use or ownership of the technology

A technology transfer must be implemented on the basis of a written contract that includes specific terms required by law and, generally, must be registered with the competent State body.


The legal objects of technology transfer are:

  • Technical know-how
  • Technical knowledge in the form of technological plans, technical solutions, formulae, technical parameters, design drawings, technical plans, computer programs, and data information about the transferred technology
  • Solutions for rationalisation of production and renovation of technology, licences for special business rights and other objects as provided in the Law on Technology Transfer.

In situations where the technology is also subject to protected intellectual property rights, the transfer of such technology must be conducted together with the transfer of intellectual property rights in accordance with the Law on Intellectual Property.


The following technologies are not permitted to be transferred:

  • Technology that does not meet the regulations of the law on occupational safety, occupational hygiene, ensuring the health of people, or on protection of the environment
  • Technology that adversely aff ects culture, security and social safety
  • Technology which fails to have technical, economic or social efficiency
  • Technology which serves national security or defence, but the permission of the authorised State body has not been obtained



A technology transfer must be implemented on the basis of a written contract which must include specific terms required by law.

The technology transfer contract is subject to registration with the competent State body, in the following circumstances:

  • The transfer of foreign technology into Vietnam
  • The transfer of Vietnamese technology outside of Vietnam
  • Domestic transfer of technology within Vietnam where the value of the technology transfer contract exceeds VND 500,000,000 (approximately USD 27,777)

Registration must take place within ninety days after executing the technology transfer contract.

The parties to a technology transfer contract may agree on the price where the transferee does not use State funds. If a transferee is to use State funds, it must submit the contract to a competent State body for approval.

Government of Vietnam and Charts of Major State Agencies


The Socialist Republic of Vietnam is a single-party state. Only political organisations affiliated with or endorsed by the Communist Party are permitted to contest elections. The President of Vietnam is the titular head of state and the nominal commander in chief of the military of Vietnam, chairing the Council on National Defence and Security. The Prime Minister of Vietnam is the head of government, presiding over a council of ministers.

The National Assembly of Vietnam is the unicameral legislature of the government, composed of 498 members. It is superior to both the executive and judicial branches. All members of the council of ministers are derived from the National Assembly. The Supreme People's Court of Vietnam, which is the highest court of appeal in the nation, is also answerable to the National Assembly. The General Secretary of the Communist Party is perhaps one of the most important political leaders in the nation, controlling the party's national organisation and state appointments, as well as setting policy.

The following charts show the general organisational structure of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.




Learn more about our Vietnam offices.

Visit us at www.mayerbrownjsm.com

Copyright 2008. JSM, Mayer Brown International LLP and/or Mayer Brown LLP. All rights reserved. Mayer Brown is a global legal services organization comprising legal practices that are separate entities ("Mayer Brown Practices"). The Mayer Brown Practices are: JSM, a Hong Kong partnership, and its associated entities in Asia; Mayer Brown International LLP, a limited liability partnership incorporated in England and Wales; and Mayer Brown LLP, a limited liability partnership established in the United States. The Mayer Brown Practices are known as Mayer Brown JSM in Asia.

This article provides information and comments on legal issues and developments of interest. The foregoing is not a comprehensive treatment of the subject matter covered and is not intended to provide legal advice. Readers should seek specific legal advice before taking any action with respect to the matters discussed herein. Please also read the JSM legal publications Disclaimer.

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This article is part of a series: Click Guide to Doing Business in Vietnam (Update) - Part 1 for the previous article.
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