Answer ... The National Office of Intellectual Property of Vietnam (NOIP) is the agency responsible for receiving and examining patent applications and granting patents.
Answer ... The costs may vary depending on the number of independent claims, drawings and pages of the specification (which are subject to mandatory Vietnamese translation). They typically range between several hundred and several thousand US dollars.
Answer ... Section 59 of the Law on Intellectual Property sets out seven categories of unpatentable subject matter (see question 3.7). A patent may also be refused registration due to lack of novelty, lack of inventive step or lack of industrial application.
Answer ... Yes. The Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH), a pilot programme signed by NOIP and the Japan Patent Office (JPO), was launched on 1 April 2016. Under this programme, substantive examination at NOIP may be expedited if the JPO has already found that the relevant invention is patentable. NOIP also recently began allowing applicants to proactively provide it with the results of foreign patentability searches and foreign substantive examination reports, on the basis of which NOIP may accelerate the substantive examination of a Vietnamese application or the Vietnamese phase of a Patent Cooperation Treaty application.
Answer ... ‘Use’ claims are not regarded as patentable subject matter. Therefore, ‘use’ claims, ‘Swiss-type’ claims and ‘second or further medical use’ claims are not accepted by NOIP at the formal examination stage. NOIP contends that they do not constitute patentable subject matter under Section 4(12) of the Law on Intellectual Property, which defines a ‘patentable invention’ as a technical solution in the form of a product or process which is intended to solve a problem by the application of natural laws
Answer ... Any substance, product or process/method that solves a particular technical problem by the application of natural laws is patentable, except for the following as outlined in Section 59:
- scientific discoveries or theories and mathematical methods;
- schemes, plans, rules and methods for performing mental acts, training domestic animals, playing games and doing business;
- computer programs;
- presentations of information;
- solutions of an aesthetic nature only;
- plant varieties and animal breeds;
- processes of plant or animal production which are principally of a biological nature, other than microbiological processes; and
human and animal disease prevention methods, diagnostic and treatment methods.
Answer ... Yes.
If NOIP rejects a patent application through what is known as a first office action, the applicant may submit a response to the NOIP patent department that issued the first office action within three months of the date of issuance (extendable for a further three months against a prescribed charge). If this response is not accepted by NOIP, confirmation of rejection (the second office action) will be released by NOIP. The applicant may appeal the second office action before NOIP’s Appeal Settlement and Enforcement Department within 90 days (non-extendable). If NOIP’s director general upholds the second office action, the applicant may appeal to NOIP’s supervisory body, the Ministry of Science and Technology, within 30 days of the date of issuance of the second office action. Alternatively, it may initiate an administrative lawsuit before a Hanoi-based court within one year of the date of receipt of NOIP’s decision.