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Viet Nam: Circular No. 16/2016/TT-BKHCN of June 30, 2016, amending and supplementing a Number of Articles of Circular No. 01/2007/TT-BKHCN of February 14, 2007

 Viet Nam: The Circular No. 16/2016/TT-BKHCN of June 30, 2016, amending and supplementing a Number of Articles of Circular No. 01/2007/TT-BKHCN of February 14, 2007, was issued on June 30, 2016, by the Ministry of Science and Technology of the Government of Viet Nam and entered into force on January 18, 2018.

The Circular introduces inter alia the following amendments to the procedure for examination of applications of trademarks, patents and utility models: (i) removal of the 6-month grace period for late PCT national phase entry and applicability of the time limit of 31 months from the PCT application's priority date; (ii) extension of 6 months to the period for requesting substantive examination, only in the case of "force majeure events" or "objective obstacles" (42 months for invention patents and 36 months for utility models, from the priority date); (iii) defining reasons for refusal of patent applications when inventions made in Viet Nam have not been filed in Viet Nam prior to filing abroad; (iv) requirements of power of attorney for the payment of annuity fees when made by an IP agent; (v) flexible requirements regarding evidence of recognition of well-known trademarks; (vi) extension of the time period (from 1 to 2 months) from the issuance date of the decision to grant trademark protection by the National Office of Intellectual Property ("NOIP") for publication of the statement in the IP Official Gazette, and granting three-month time period to respond to the provisional refusal issued by NOIP, in addition to the existing 90 days to appeal against the refusal for international applications under the Madrid Protocol; and (vii) introduction of a new definition of a product design for the examination process and the "first to file" principle for design applications.

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