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An overview of Geographical indications

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  • Property intellectual law No. 07/VBHN-VPQH dated June 25, 2019
  • Circular No. 01/2007/TT-BKHCN dated February 14, 2007

1. What is Geographical indications?

Generally, geographical indication means a sign which identifies a product as originating from a specific region, locality, territory, or country. 
Accordingly, the reputation of products bearing a geographical indication shall be determined on the basis of consumers’ trust in such products through the selection of consumers.
In addition, Geographical conditions bearing such geographical indication include:

  • Natural factors (climatic, hydrological, geological, topographical and ecological factors and other natural conditions);
  • Human factors (skills and expertise of producers, and traditional production processes of localities).

Besides, the quality and characteristics of products bearing a geographical indication shall be defined by one or several qualitative, quantitative or physically, chemically, microbiologically perceptible criteria. The criteria can be tested by technical means or experts with appropriate testing methods.
Lastly, Geographical areas bearing geographical indications shall have their boundaries accurately determined in words and maps.

2. Right to register geographical indications

The right to register Vietnamese geographical indications belongs to the State.
Accordingly, The State allows organizations and individuals producing products bearing geographical indications, collective organizations representing such organizations or individuals, or administrative management agencies of localities to which such geographical indications pertain to exercise the right to register such geographical indications. 
Definitely, individuals who exercise the right to register geographical indications shall not become owners of such geographical indications.

3. Ownership and management of geographical indications

The owner of Vietnam’s geographical indications is the State.
The State shall directly exercise the right to manage geographical indications or grant that right to organizations representing the interests of all organizations or individuals granted with the right to use geographical indications.

4. The right to use geographical indications

The State shall grant the right to use geographical indications to organizations or individuals that turn out products bearing such geographical indications in relevant localities and put such products on the market. 

5. Use of a geographical indication means the performance of the following acts:

Initially, affixing the protected geographical indication on goods or goods packages, means of business, and transaction documents in business activities;
Besides, circulating, offering, advertising for the sale, or stocking for sale goods bearing the protected geographical indication;
Plus, importing goods bearing the protected geographical indication.

6. General conditions for geographical indications eligible for protection

A geographical indication shall be protected when satisfying the following conditions:

First of all, the product bearing the geographical indication originates from the area, locality, territory, or country corresponding to such geographical indication;
Further, The product bearing the geographical indication has a reputation, quality, or characteristics mainly attributable to geographical conditions of the area, locality, territory, or country corresponding to such geographical indication.

Subject matters not protected as geographical indications:

Firstly, Names or indications which have become generic names of goods in Vietnam;
Secondly, Geographical indications of foreign countries where they are not or no longer protected or no longer used;
Next, Geographical indications identical with or similar to a protected mark, where the use of such geographical indications is likely to cause confusion as to the origin of products;
Lastly, Geographical indications which mislead consumers as to the true geographical origin of products bearing such geographical indications.

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