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Vietnamese enVietnamese firms seek trademark protection in foreign marketsterprises have started actions to protect and take back their brand names which were used illegally overseas.

After three years, Phu Quoc Fish Sauce has officially received Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) recognition by the European Commission. Chairwoman of the Association of Phu Quoc Fish Sauce Producers, Nguyen Thi Tinh, said this is their chance to expand their market-share. Phu Quoc Fish Sauce is the first Vietnamese product that is protected in 28 countries in the EU.

According to Tinh, the association is also preparing documents to seek protection in other markets such as Thailand and Hong Kong. In addition, they plan to sue the producers in Thailand who have illegally used the Phu Quoc brand name in the EU.

According to the National Office of Intellectual Property, Vietnam has thousands of agricultural products that can be registered for geographic indication protection. However, only 35 products have registered in Vietnam and three registered overseas. Economists said they should not have too many problems in Vietnam’s major markets including, EU, US, Japan and China. Depending on the country involved, the protection can last from one year to several years.

In past years, several Vietnamese brand names have been illegally registered for monopoly overseas– such as Trung Nguyen Coffee and Phan Thiet Fish Sauce. It’s extremely costly and time-consuming to take back the names and as a result, only a few Vietnamese firms are able to regain their brand names.

Earlier this year, the Beijing Commercial Court ruled in favour of the Vietnamese dried fruit manufacturer, Vinamit’s, ownership of the Duc Thanh brand name over its use by a rival Chinese firm.

“It took us four years and hundreds of thousands of USD, but losing our brand name meant that we lost a serious amount of market share. The fee for trademark protection is small compared to what we lost during this time.” Nguyen Lam Vien, Chairman of Vinamit said. “We usually release several kinds of products under different brands in China, so we hired a special firm to monitor the market in order to inform us if they detected any infringement.”

Vien advised other firms to establish a team to deal with trademark infringement cases efficiently.

Trademark registration is very important when a company wants to expand its business overseas, but many Vietnamese firms still do not understand its importance.

Source nld, dtinews

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