With reference to the above-mentioned issue, Mr. Dinh Huu Phi, Director General of the Intellectual Property Office, Ministry of Science and Technology had an interview with VTV News.
Intellectual property (IP) has really played a key role in driving innovation activities to develop national value assets in both quantity and value, could you please provide more details?
Mr. Dinh Huu Phi: In the current era with stormy science and technology (S&T) development, all countries recognize that IP is not only a product but also an effective tool to promote development of S&T and market economy. Protection of IP rights of organizations and individuals encouraging innovation activities, ensuring dissemination of S&T, art and cultural advances to social development.
At this juncture, technical innovative subject-matters are factors to determine level of technology, and then level of development and competitiveness of an economy. In those subject-matters, invention is considered typical one. Similar to subject-matters of technical innovation, commercial signs (trademarks, trade names, product designs, etc.) also play decisive roles in establishing competitive position, so in order to protect and improve market advantages, enterprises are required to take care of products representing that advantages.
Consequently, one of important roles of IP protection system is to establish a mechanism keeping balance benefits between IP right holders and the society, in which any infringement of the right holder shall be prevented and handled. Therefore, any market economy without an IP system is almost in situation of chaotic, unhealthy competition and lacking of endogenous technological capacity.
Moreover, with mechanism of establishment and management of IP rights in accordance with the prescribed law, it creates a comprehensive system with sufficient legal, economic and technical data reflecting technological innovative situation with update business information, etc. Such data is extremely useful for research, production and business circles.
Recognizing this importance, in recent years, the IP Viet Nam (Ministry of Science and Technology) and competent authorities have been focusing on improvement of legal regulations on IP, contributing to the increase in quantity and quality of innovative startups. This is also one of expectations of the Government and the Ministry of Science and Technology carried by Decision No. 1068/QD-TTg of 22 August 2019 of the Prime Minister approving the Intellectual Property Strategy of Viet Nam until 2030 with an important goal of bringing Viet Nam to join group of leading ASEAN countries in terms of creation, protection and exploitation of IP rights.
Mr. Dinh Huu Phi, Director General of the Intellectual Property Office of Viet Nam
Key points of the Strategy are including effective formation in both quantity and quality of new IP assets of Vietnamese individuals and organizations; substantial improvement of IP-related indicators of Viet Nam in the Global Innovation Index (GII): number of invention applications and patents will grow by an average of 16-18% /year; number of industrial design applications will grow by an average of 6 - 8%/year; number of trademark applications will grow by an average of 8-10%/ year; number of applications for new plant varieties protection will grow by an average of 12-14%/year, 10-12% of which will be filed in foreign countries; bringing Viet Nam become a center for new plant variety protection with the establishment of a plant variety protection agency for ASEAN+ area.
The World IP Day 2020 aims at “innovative for a green future”. It is a start for a "green roadmap" focusing on environmental protection - an urgent requirement nowadays. Therefore, which policies and measures applied by the IP Viet Nam to support inventors and efforts of the Office in contributing to creation of a "green future" and promotion of a "green economy"?
Mr. Dinh Huu Phi: As I mentioned above, in order to further promote the role of IP in economic development, the Prime Minister recently promulgated the National Intellectual Property Strategy to 2030 with expectation that Viet Nam will have great development not only to create motivation for promotion of innovation but also to popularize and further more, to commercialize innovative products, thereby enriching IP assets - a resource of national internal power directly serving for sustainable development, and creating a "green future" for future generations.
Many measures have been carried out by the IP Viet Nam to encourage, support and promote research, creativity and application of S&T creativities to all aspects of life and production, such as: procedures of registration of industrial property rights; establishment, management and organization of exploitation of industrial property information database to serve activities of research and application of S&T achievements to production and business; outreaching and dissemination of IP knowledge and laws; provision of advises and supports to organizations and individuals in the creation, registration of IP rights, exploitation and protection of IP assets, etc., significantly contributing to promotion of sustainable development goal.
In recent years, some programs and projects have been effectively implemented. For instance, The National Program for Supporting Development of IP Assets has been strongly implemented by localities. In addition to the participation in the National Program, all 63 centrally-administered provinces and cities have their own mechanism and policies to support the development of local IP assets (via television programs, training courses, etc.). At present, the National Program has supported 118 key and specific local agricultural products, and provided with IP assistances to 600 businesses, including large enterprises such as Viet Nam National Textile and Garment Group, Viet Nam Leather and Footwear Association, DABACO Group, etc. The National Program has also supported registration for invention protection and application to practice for 51 technical solutions.
Another project, namely Network of Technology and Innovation Support Centers and Intellectual Property Centers (TISC & IP-HUB) aiming at connection and promotion of IP activities and technology transfer in universities and research institutes. Under the Project many training courses for network members have been organized on subject-matters of patent information search and drafting patent descriptions, etc.
Currently, about 60 research institutes and universities through out the country registered to participate in such Network in order to get supports to their patent registration processes, i.e. support in access to high quality patent information, support in searching patent information; provision of training on industrial property information search, etc. Among them, 12 research institutes and universities have been selected to receive supports in technology transfer activities on the basis of their valuable technical solutions, provision of links between their research and development activities with enterprises, and formulation of IP professional team of these research institutes and universities, etc.
Sustainable management, protection and development of IP assets are being focused on by localities, could you please give some typical examples of effectively sustainable development of businesses, inventors and/or products?
Mr. Dinh Huu Phi: Recently, due to negative impacts of climate change, inventions are increasingly focused on solving problems arisen from environmental technology such as recycling, purifying water, treating harmful emissions, purifying the air, conserving energy, or green technology preserving and restoring ecosystem, etc. Please find below some example of such technology solutions.
Ba Ria – Vung Tau Urban Sewerage and Development Company (Busadco) is a good example of S&T enterprise succeeded in exploitation of IP rights, including inventions on environmental protection, especially solutions to prevent flooding and water pollution in all urban areas, in practice, there are some typical inventions of Busadco relate to treatment technologies of waste, hazardous industrial waste which have been effectively applied, namely "Emission treatment equipment XLKT-HB0005GPCN " of author Hoang Huu Binh; "Equipment for taking back and recycling hazardous waste in industry", of author Tran Ba Phuoc Anh; "Multi-purpose garbage disposal machine and HKM waste treatment technology" of author Ngo Thai Nguyen, etc.
However, in order to have more inventions, utility solutions as well as to enhance IP protection serving sustainable development, it is necessary for all entities to join hands for improving awareness of role of IP in innovation and formulating IP culture in the whole society.
Creators should further improve their capacity in using IP tools in research and development activities as well as promptly register for IP rights with reference to their research results.
Enterprises should promote their leading role in creating and exploiting IP assets. In order to narrow the gap between research and application in practice, enterprises should be proactive and active in accompany universities and research institutes to create products and technologies solving practical issues of Viet Nam, especially environmental issues ensuring sustainable development.
Another important issue is the necessity to promote outreach activities for improving awareness of respects for IP rights, encouraging consumers to support products and services applied clean technologies.
World Intellectual Property Day (abbreviated as IP Day) was first launched in 2000 following a declaration of member countries of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) of which the day of 26 April - the day on which the WIPO Convention officially came into force in 1970 - is observed annually for member countries to increase general understanding of IP worldwide. Since then, "World IP Day" has offered a unique day each year for people to join with others around the world to learn and promote contribution of IP to the development of culture, arts, technology and innovation for human life.
Over the past 5 years (2015 - 2019), the "World IP Day" event in Viet Nam has been creatively organized. It has attracted attention and participation of various social sectors and has had significant propaganda impacts on IP field.
WIPO and many international organizations have constantly communicated about innovation strategies for sustainable development. However, does this message fully and properly perceive in all levels, sectors and social community?
Mr. Dinh Huu Phi: Our Party and State always consider innovation as a key tool to realize the goals of sustainable development. It can be seen that the wave of innovation has appeared in all industries, fields and localities for economic and social growth in parallel with environmental conservation, to create a driving force for national development. It takes into account the strong spread of startups across the country contributing to improvement of the national competitiveness.
In addition to acknowledgement of our initial positive changes, we also have to frankly recognize a fact that there are still a number of agencies, enterprises and people who have not yet fully aware of sustainable development. Therefore, innovation activities are more about rapid economic growth and social stability without consideration of environmental factor, and are unequal among regions and enterprises.
We also need to pay attention to improve issues of institutions, human resources, and comprehensive infrastructure. Sustainable growth needs to link all resources, especially to promote dynamic creativity in the private sector. It is necessary to pay more attention to institutes/universities for more appropriate researches and technologies, to increase number of applications filed by Vietnamese in comparison with foreigners.
A meaningful activity to celebrate the World IP Day in Ha Noi
Please share your opinion about a significant challenge for IP system, i.e. the issue of improvement and renovation of IP protection mechanism which covering new IP subject-matters created by Industry 4.0 (patent protection in the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), 3D printing technology, nanotechnology, biotechnology, ...)?
Mr. Dinh Huu Phi: Statistics show that in 2016, more than 5,000 patent applications related to the Internet of Things (IoT) were filed with the European Patent Office, with a growth of 54% in just 3 years (2014-2016). It confirms that patent applications in the field of smart technologies will increase rapidly together with the coming out of new materials and inventions created by artificial intelligence (AI).
Therefore, one of the important tasks of the IP system is effective operation for tectonics of innovation and promotion of commercialization of IP assets, make a significant contribution to socio-economic development of the country.
Therefore, it is necessary to improve and renovate the IP protection mechanism to cover new IP subject-matters created by Industry 4.0. So, it is also necessary to improve mechanism and enhance capacity of IP enforcement, especially in environment of Internet. Attention should be paid to the capacity building of the IP Office in handling applications for registration of new subject-matters; promotion of cooperation on protection and enforcement of IP rights in regional and global scale, because many IP issues have developed beyond border of a single country and cannot be dealt with by each country individually.
In addition, the enforcement of IP rights in the digital environment will become more difficult, so policies need to be studied in details in order to not only prevent S&T development but also ensure security, confidentiality and adequate protection of IP rights.
In particular, it is necessary to have connection between IP and industries because IP system has been supporting growth of industries. In order to keep up with the trend of the Industry 4.0, IP offices need to have action plans to apply AI to each IP subject-matters, including inventions, designs and trademarks.
What are messages that the IP Viet Nam has conveyed to society in the context of COVID-19 pandemic (to enterprises, organizations, individuals, localities, etc.)?
Mr. Dinh Huu Phi: With purpose of keeping everyone safe, according to recommendations of WIPO, Viet Nam has been conducting outreach activities to celebrate the World IP Day 2020 on mass media with widespread scope.
Provinces, universities and research institutes have early received the message of the World IP Day of this year and organized activities of celebration based on circumstance of each locality and organization.
Through mass media, the message "Innovate for a Green Future" of the World IP Day of this year have been spreading throughout the country, to all groups of stakeholders in the society in order to promote wisdom, join hands to overcome difficulties and challenges towards a green future and a sustainable development society.
Thank you very much!