China may be responsible for more than 86 per cent of the world’s counterfeit goods, according to a 2017 report by law enforcement agency Europol, but Vietnam may be more of a worry according to Jonathan Pearl, a former executive vice president and lawyer at Sony. Speaking ahead of the Luxury Law Summit in London next week, Mr Pearl will tell delegates: “China is much less of a problem for counterfeit origination than it used to be. This is because China now has its own coterie of high-end brands to protect. The next big challenge will be in Vietnam.”
A statement by the American Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam also acknowledges the problem. “IP protection is critical to fostering innovation… Unfortunately, IPR protection and enforcement in Vietnam is not as strong as it should be and the Government’s enforcement mechanisms need improvement to effectively stop, punish and deter IPR infringement here.” Amcham members want to see the Government simplify copyright registration procedures, and implement stricter enforcement of infringers. However, the capacity of IPR enforcement agencies is lacking and weak in terms of technical infrastructure and staff, often lacking any IP specialised officials.
Vietnamese authorities have stepped up their efforts to enforce IP rights in recent years, especially in the area of combating counterfeit goods. According to the government’s official statistics, all agencies are increasing their activities in IP protection. The Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) Inspectorate, which typically handles the most complex cases in anti-counterfeiting and IP infringement, has seen fivefold increases in cases handled. The Market Surveillance Department (MSD) under the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT), the core enforcement agency in anti-counterfeiting, has tackled a doubling of cases involving anti-counterfeiting and IP infringements in 2015.