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Thursday, August 2, 2012

Trademark infringement case in Vietnam

Civil IP litigation is rare in Vietnam. The country runs a large administrative IP enforcement system much like other former centrally planned economies. This case illustrates how many IP disputes are resolved.  Bayer brought an action to enforce its NATIVO trademark against Viet Duc Ltd a local company in Kien Giang, a province south of the main commercial centre Ho Chi Minh City. Viet Duc sold fungicides in packaging which looked similar to Bayer CropScience´s NATIVO rice fungicide product, under a similar trademark NATIDO.

In February 2012, Bayer filed a request at Vietnam's Intellectual Property Office to seek a determination that NATIDO infringed its trademark NATIVO. After a positive opinion, Bayer filed a petition with Vietnam's Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) to enforce the opinion. MOST officers then carried out a raid on Viet Duc´s premises, with Bayer's lawyers, and then later on MOST ordered a the company to cease infringement, fined them and ordered destruction of the goods.

This has been the way most cases are solved for many years. It is a relatively simple and inexpensive system for disputes like this, which in other countries would need civil court proceedings.

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