A trademark, as provided under Vietnam IP Law, is defined as a sign used to distinguish goods or services of different organizations or individuals. Trademarks under the laws of Vietnam can be categorized in five types as follows:
(i). Trademark including service mark means any sign used to distinguish goods and/or services of different organizations or individuals.
(ii). Collective mark means a mark used to distinguish goods and/or services of members from those of non-members of an organization which is the owner of such mark.
(iii). Certification mark means a mark which is authorized by its owner to be used by another organization or individual on the latter’s goods and/or services, for the purpose of certifying the origin, raw materials, materials, mode of manufacture of goods or manner of provision of services, quality, accuracy, safety or other characteristics of goods and/or services bearing the mark.
(iv). Associated mark means identical or similar marks registered by the same entity and intended for use on products or services which are of the same type or similar types or interrelated.
(v). Well-known mark: means a mark widely known by consumers throughout the Vietnamese territory.
For trademarks to be eligible for protection in Vietnam, they must meet the following requirements:
(i). To be visible signs in the form of letters, words, drawings or images including holograms, or a combination thereof, represented in one or more colours, and
(ii). To be capable of distinguishing goods or services of the mark owner from those of other subjects as provided under Vietnam IP Law. A mark is distinctive if it consists of one or more easily noticeable and memorable elements, or of many elements forming an easily noticeable and memorable combination. Three-dimensional signs (shapes) can be registered as trademarks under the laws and practice in Vietnam.
Thus, the unconventional trademarks based on sound and smell which are not visible are not yet recognised.
Trademark rights are established on ground of a decision issued by the IP Office of Vietnam on trademark registration or protection in Vietnam (with an exception of well-known trademarks where trademark rights can be established on use) as provided. Vietnam’s trademark regime operates on a first-to-file basis, protection for unregistered trademarks is only granted in limited cases.