Trademark Registration Vs. Copyright: What's The Difference?

Trademark Registration Vs. Copyright: What's The Difference?

May 7, 2024

In the Vietnamese intellectual property (IP) landscape, trademarks and copyrights stand out as two essential forms of protection. While both serve to safeguard valuable assets, they differ in their scope, purpose, and registration process. For businesses and creators navigating the complexities of IP in Vietnam, understanding the key distinctions between trademarks and copyrights is crucial to effectively protect their brands and creative works.

In the fast-paced world of business and innovation in Vietnam, protecting your intellectual property (IP) is paramount. Two key forms of IP protection – registered trademarks and copyrights – are often the subject of confusion and debate. While both serve to safeguard valuable assets, the trademark vs copyright difference lies in their specific purposes and the nature of the protection they offer. To determine which is better, trademark or copyright, it is crucial to understand their distinct characteristics and how they align with your IP strategy. This article will delve into the registered trademark vs copyright comparison, empowering businesses and creators to make informed decisions when it comes to protecting their brands and creative works in Vietnam.

Understanding of trademarks in Vietnam

Trademarks play a crucial role in protecting brand identity and distinguishing products or services in the marketplace. In Vietnam, trademarks are governed by the Law on Intellectual Property and administered by the National Office of Intellectual Property (NOIP). To fully grasp the concept of trademarks in Vietnam, it is essential to understand their definition, the various types of trademarks recognized, the registration process, and the scope and duration of protection they offer.

Definition and varieties of trademarks

A trademark is a distinctive sign used to identify a company’s products or services. It can take various forms, such as logos, slogans, brand names, or even specific colors associated with a brand. Trademarks play a vital role in building brand identity, ensuring product origin, and protecting against unfair competition. They help consumers distinguish between different products and services in the market.

In Vietnam, trademarks come in several varieties:

  • Words and names: These include company names, brand names, and product names.
  • Logos and symbols: Graphic elements that visually represent the brand.
  • Slogans: Memorable phrases or taglines associated with a brand.
  • Packaging and product designs: Distinctive shapes or appearance of products or their packaging.
  • Three-dimensional (3D) trademarks: The unique shape of products or their packaging.

Sound trademarks: Unique sounds or jingles that identify a brand.

What's the difference between copyright and trademark
What’s the difference between copyright and trademark

Trademark registration process

Vietnam follows the “First-to-File” system, which means that trademark rights are primarily granted to the first party who files a registration with the Intellectual Property Office of Vietnam (IP Vietnam). To secure a trademark, applicants must follow these steps:

  1. Trademark search: Conduct a thorough search to ensure the desired trademark is available and not already registered by another party.
  2. Application preparation: Submit a complete application to IP Vietnam, including the trademark representation, list of goods/services, and required fees.
  3. Examination: IP Vietnam will examine the application to ensure it meets all legal requirements and does not conflict with existing trademarks.
  4. Publication: If the application is accepted, it will be published for a set period, allowing others to object if they believe the trademark infringes on their rights.
  5. Registration and issuance of a certificate: If no objections are raised or they are resolved, the trademark will be registered, and a certificate will be issued.

For businesses looking to protect their trademarks internationally, Vietnam is a member of the Madrid Protocol and the Paris Convention. These treaties provide streamlined processes for registering trademarks across multiple countries.

Trademark protection and duration

Once a trademark is registered in Vietnam, the owner gains exclusive rights to use the mark in association with the designated goods or services. This protection prevents others from using identical or confusingly similar marks, helping to maintain brand integrity and avoid consumer confusion.

In addition to registered trademarks, Vietnam also offers protection for unregistered business names, known as trade names, if they have been established through use in the market. Domain names, on the other hand, are registered on a first-come, first-served basis for .vn domains.

The duration of trademark protection in Vietnam is 10 years from the filing date. However, trademarks can be renewed indefinitely for additional 10-year periods, ensuring ongoing protection as long as the mark remains in use and renewal fees are paid.

Understanding of copyrights in Vietnam

While trademarks protect brand identities, copyrights safeguard original creative works. In Vietnam, the legal framework for copyrights is well-established, providing creators with exclusive rights to control the use and distribution of their works. To fully comprehend the concept of copyrights in Vietnam, it is crucial to grasp their definition, the types of works protected, the registration process, and the duration of protection.

Definition and importance

Copyright is a form of intellectual property protection that safeguards original creative works, such as literature, art, music, and software. It grants the creator exclusive economic rights to control the use and distribution of their work, including the right to reproduce, distribute, perform, display, and create derivative works.

Copyrights play a vital role in fostering creativity and innovation by ensuring that creators can benefit from their work and prevent unauthorized use by others. This protection encourages individuals and organizations to invest time and resources into creating new works, knowing that their rights will be respected.

Trademark vs copyright difference
Trademark vs copyright difference

Legal framework

Vietnam is a member of the Berne Convention, an international agreement that sets minimum standards for copyright protection. By joining the Berne Convention, Vietnam ensures that works created by Vietnamese authors are automatically protected in other member countries, and vice versa.

On a national level, copyrights in Vietnam are governed by the Law on Intellectual Property and its implementing regulations. These laws define the types of works protected, the rights granted to creators, and the procedures for enforcing those rights.

The following types of works are eligible for copyright protection in Vietnam:

  • Literary works: Books, articles, scripts, and computer code.
  • Artistic works: Paintings, sculptures, photographs, and architectural designs.
  • Musical works: Songs and compositions.
  • Other works: Broadcasts, databases, and more.

Copyright registration

In Vietnam, copyright protection arises automatically upon the creation of a work, without the need for formal registration. However, voluntary registration is highly recommended as it provides evidence of ownership and can be helpful in case of disputes.

The National Office of Copyright, under the Ministry of Culture, is the authority responsible for handling voluntary copyright registrations in Vietnam. To register a copyright, creators must submit an application along with copies of the work and pay the required fees.

The registration process typically involves the following steps:

  1. Application submission: The creator or their representative submits a completed application form, along with copies of the work and any supporting documents.
  2. Examination: The National Office of Copyright reviews the application to ensure it meets all requirements and the work is eligible for protection.
  3. Issuance of certificate: If the application is approved, the National Office of Copyright will issue a certificate of registration, which serves as official proof of ownership.

While copyright registration is not mandatory, it provides several benefits, such as establishing a public record of ownership, facilitating licensing and transfer of rights, and strengthening the creator’s position in case of infringement.

Duration of copyright

The duration of copyright protection in Vietnam varies depending on the type of work. In general, copyrights last for the life of the author plus 75 years. This means that the work remains protected for 75 years after the author’s death, allowing their heirs to benefit from the work’s continued use.

However, certain types of works may have shorter terms of protection. For example:

  • Copyright protection for photographs lasts for 50 years from the date of publication.
  • Works of applied art, such as designs for textiles or furniture, are protected for 50 years from the date of creation.
  • If the author’s identity is unknown, copyright protection lasts for 75 years from the date of publication.

It is important to note that once the copyright term expires, the work enters the public domain, meaning it can be used freely by anyone without the need for permission or payment of royalties.

Understanding the concept of copyrights in Vietnam is essential for creators, businesses, and individuals who wish to protect their original works or use the works of others. By familiarizing themselves with the legal framework, registration process, and duration of protection, creators can ensure that their rights are respected and their works are properly safeguarded.

Navigating the intricacies of registered trademarks vs copyrights is crucial for businesses and creators aiming to protect their intellectual property in Vietnam.

To ensure a smooth and successful IP protection process, it is highly recommended to seek the assistance of professional registration services. These experts can guide you through the complexities of Vietnamese IP laws, help you understand the trademark vs copyright difference, and assist in determining which is better, trademark or copyright, for your specific situation. By working with experienced registration services and developing a comprehensive IP strategy, you can effectively safeguard your valuable assets and establish a strong foundation for growth in the competitive Vietnamese market.

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