From the islands of Indonesia, the IP Komodo prowls South East Asia and beyond looking for succulent morsels of intellectual property news with the aim of to raising awareness of South East Asia's IP issues to help people understand this diverse region's IP complexities.
On 4 August 2015, after three years and several rounds of negotiation,
the European Union – Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (“EVFTA”) officially
established principles for the basic content of the Agreement.
The EVFTA is a comprehensive and advanced Agreement, balancing rights
and benefits for both parties whilst simultaneously complying with WTO
regulations. The main content of the Agreement includes Trade of Goods,
Principles of Origin, Customs, sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) measures,
technical barriers to trade (TBT), Trade of Services, Investment, Trade
Defence, Competition, State Owned Corporation, Government Procurement,
Sustainable Development, Capacity Build and Cooperation, Legal Matters, and
The major elements of the agreement are Tariff Reductions and Facilitation
of Trade in Services and Investment. The Intellectual Property section commits Vietnam
to a high level of protection beyond the standards of the TRIPS agreement. The
IP sector of this Agreement includes copyrights, patents and other commitments
related to pharmaceuticals and Geographical Indications (GI).When the EVFTA takes effect, 169 of the EU’s
GIs will be protected in Vietnam and 39 of Vietnam’s GIs will be protected in
the EU, all of which are for agricultural products and foodstuffs. This aspect
facilitates some types of Vietnamese agricultural product branding activities
in the EU. This Agreement also allows new GIs to be added in the future. In the
pharmaceutical sector, data protection will be improved and there will possibly
be a patent extension of up to two years available in the event of delays in
obtaining marketing authorization.
The intention is also that EU innovations, artworks and brands will be
better protected against infringement through stronger enforcement provisions
Although at present only principles have been agreed, so we are still awaiting
the final legal texts, the EVFTA is being heralded as a ‘win-win agreement’
to boost trade activities and strengthen relations between the EU and Vietnam.