Sunday, March 22, 2015

Vietnam civil trademark infringement litigation

Hoa Sen Group, a Vietnamese building material manufacturing group has sued Ho Tat Minh Enterprise for IP infringement in the Tay Ninh Province People's Court on 2 March 2015. Tay Ninh is 100 km NE of Saigon in the Southern part of Vietnam.
Hoa Sen Group alleges that Ho Tat Minh Enterprise has used their trademark on its signboard (left) and in price quotes. Although Hoa Sen Group arranged several meetings to try to resolve the dispute amicably, Ho Tat Minh Enterprise refused to settle. Ho Tat Minh Enterprise maintains that they are making fair use of the HOA SEN mark as they are selling Hoa Sen Group's products.

Hoa Sen Group, the plaintiff, registered the infringed mark at the National Office of Intellectual Property (NOIP) so have grounds for pursuing the case. Vietnam's legal system does not directly address the issue of "honest use", however, an equivalent is regulated in Article 125.2h of  Vietnam's Law on Intellectual Property, which states that IPR holders shall not have the right to prevent others from using in an honest manner people's names or marks descriptive of the goods or services. Tay Ninh Province People's Court is still considering the case.

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