Vietnam - 2019 Review - Sailing to the Ocean - IP considerations for Vietnamese enterprises

Vietnam - 2019 Review - Sailing to the Ocean - IP considerations for Vietnamese enterprises


It’s now a good time to look back on 2019.

Vietnam has achieved positive results – the economy still performed well in 2019 with GDP increased by more than 7.0 per cent despite of the global crisis.

Outbound investments and exports

The steady increases in investment outflows and exports in recent years signal strength of Vietnamese enterprises. 

  • Exports of goods in 2019 reached more than US$263 billion, 8.1% higher than 2018 figure, and the domestic sector’s exports recorded an increase of 17.7%, even higher than the growth rate of the FDI sector (4.2%). The trade surplus reached $9.9 billion, the highest in recent four years.[1]
  • In 2019, overseas Vietnamese investments are mainly poured in the following countries and economic sectors:

Government policies

The Government has continued encouraging overseas investment and supporting activities to improve national position in international arena, especially in terms of science and technology.

Vietnam’s Innovation Index jumped to 42 in 2019 global rankings[2]. The country strives to maintain its position in the top three ASEAN countries in the Global Innovation Index (GII) rankings by 2025 and among the top 40 countries in the world by 2030[3]. This is the first sweet fruit from the seed of Vietnam Innovation Network program which was officially launched by the Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc in August 2018.

National IP strategy until 2030: 2019 also marked the first time Vietnam government released its national IP strategy which would help build up strong national brands and set out strategies to explore potentials and commercializing the brands overseas. Vietnam owns billion-dollar brands with Top 10 of the most valuable almost owned by the state corporations in telecom, food and beverage and banking industries (matured brands). But it is expected more strong brands from private sectors (e.g. fast-growing companies) and other industries to climb up to the top list.


(Sources: Brand Finance Ranking 2019)

Outbound trademark registrations

Top six destinations for outbound filings of Vietnamese applicants within 2015-2019 are US, Korea, China, Japan, EU and Russia. International registrations in the name of Vietnamese owners focus on food/beverages, wholesale/retail and restaurant services in Classes 29, 30, 32, 35 and 43.


Opportunities for Vietnamese enterprises

EVFTA has just been rectified by Vietnam’s National Assembly on June, 8 2020 and is expected to take effect sometime in July or August this year. It would pave the way for the tax-free flows of major export goods from Vietnam into the EU market, beneficial to owners of garment and textile brands and of course agricultural brands bearing 39 Vietnamese GIs under the agreement.

The shift of production location from China to Vietnam after the Trade War also promises a continued surge in exports goods to US, including footwear or consumer electronic goods brands.

Currently, Vietnam is promoting an innovative and creative ecosystem. Vietnamese IT enterprises are no longer the programmers who are hired for writing codes but also capable to take over creative work. So, there are many potential markets and opportunities for them to participate and produce IT high quality services (AI, cloud, or IoT).

The numbers of outbound filings are currently not in line with the actual investments by countries and sectors. International registration tool has not been maximized. However, there would be more changes in the coming years when the awareness of Vietnamese enterprises on IP and related tools is more improved.

IP considerations

Entering worldwide market, Vietnamese enterprises would need to equip with relevant knowledge and skills to explore the potentials while minimizing risks to low or zero point. One important note is consider how to protect their IP assets and avoid risks of infringing IP rights of others in foreign markets such as: -

  • Identifying and clearing legal risks
  • Managing IP portfolios
  • Exploiting the IP assets
  • Establishing and enforcing IP rights
  • Adopting cost effective tools

The above are applicable to not only the state-owned corporations but also startups or SMEs.

The opportunities are great but we would need to take into account the unexpected coronavirus Covid19 pandemic which may adversely impact business activities and IP investment of enterprises in the world. It is also important for IP owners to understand policies of countries, and follow practical strategies with reasonable costs in this difficult time.

by Hai Anh Nguyen June, 22 2020





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