Vietnam

The Vietnamese patent scene is undergoing gradual change, which is being led by the country’s IP authorities. The recent restructuring of the National Office of Intellectual Property of Vietnam (NOIP) has seen the creation of five centres, dedicated to the examination of trademarks, patents, industrial designs, geographical indication and Madrid protocol applications and post-grant actions respectively. They are collectively supervised by the newly renamed Intellectual Property Office of Vietnam (IP Vietnam), in a reorganisation which is designed to boost efficiency and make the examination process more clear for prospective rightsholders. As the number of overseas filers grows, the importance of high-quality translation services grows with it – especially given the difficulty of amending the language of Vietnamese patents once they have been granted. As a result, translation verification services are being increasingly offered by firms that are looking to cater to foreign rights holders interested in taking advantage of Vietnam’s robust patent system. In the litigation sphere, the country’s thriving mobile phone manufacturing industry is leading multinationals to view Vietnam as an increasingly desirable venue in which to commence SEP litigation suits in Southeast Asia. Interesting times lie ahead for IP observers in the jurisdiction.

Firms

  • Pham & Associates
  • Tilleke & Gibbins
  • Vision & Associates
  • Ambys
  • BMVN LLC, a member of Baker McKenzie
  • D&N International
  • Rouse Legal
  • TRUNG THUC JSC
  • VCCI-IP Co Ltd

Ambys

Ambys’ “excellent” patent department makes its debut in the IAM Patent 1000 this year. The boutique does a “sterling job in patent prosecution matters”, punching well above its weight considering its relatively small team size. Founding partner Thu Anh Nguyen is a highly respected name in Vietnamese intellectual property, having been a registered patent and trademark attorney since 1992.

BMVN LLC, a member of Baker McKenzie

“Baker McKenzie’s global offices enjoy a stellar reputation, and BMVN is no exception.” While all the firm’s Hanoi-based practitioners are au fait with the full spectrum of patent work, clients single out the outfit’s prosecution unit as deserving of special recognition. Not only does the group manage the Vietnamese portfolios of multinationals exceptionally well – often persuading top clients to entrust it with increasing numbers of Vietnamese patent applications – but its ability to walk local enterprises through the process of securing US patent grants also provides true “value for money”. Most importantly, the team’s “great attention to detail and superb responsiveness” shines through in every piece of work that leaves the office. Managing director Manh Hung Tran is a highly rated attorney whose “prompt and comprehensive style of communication” gives his clients complete peace of mind, helping him to build fantastic working relationships. Trilingual in English, Vietnamese and Japanese, he operates tenaciously on both sides of the contentious divide.

D&N International

“D&N International occupies a premier position among patent firms in Vietnam due to its impressive reliability, client-centric approach and the wealth of scientific nous it makes available to its patrons.” Founded in 1992, “D&N International has accumulated extensive experience in Vietnamese patent practice” and is “always on top of changes in the country’s legal climate”. Instrumental to the firm’s success is managing partner Thuy Dang, a distinguished attorney whose technical knowledge, legal skills and familiarity with National Office of Intellectual Property procedures inspire total trust from her patrons.

Pham & Associates

“Pham & Associates is held in high esteem due to its illustrious history and seasoned practitioners. With deep roots and a tradition of excellence, it is run in the style of a boutique firm and has avoided unnecessary expansion that might have diluted the quality of its services. It is most recognised for its substantial prosecution practice, although it has both contentious and non-contentious capabilities.” Founding partner Vu Khanh Toan Pham is a key contact for interested parties. He has undertaken work on behalf of an illustrious list of clients, including Honda, AstraZeneca, Microsoft and Takeda Pharmaceuticals.

Rouse Legal

Rouse Legal has been expanding rapidly of late. The past year has seen two new patent attorneys join the firm, creating a nine-person team with the ability to prosecute adroitly across a plethora of key technical areas, ranging from biotechnology to mechanics and information technology. Rouse is one of the few outfits in Vietnam that is regularly consulted on ultra-complex SEP issues, on which it is more than qualified to advise. The practice also excels at distilling complex patent assignment contracts into succinct pieces that meet compliance requirements. The energetic Yen Vu recently became country manager for Vietnam. Educated in Melbourne and Hanoi, she can commercialise a patent blindfolded. Chemical and environmental technology sage Yen Pham is especially skilled at meeting the needs of Fortune 500 companies; her polished practice is a C-suite executive’s dream. She counts the Coca-Cola Company and the Thai Plastic and Chemicals Public Co Ltd as valued patrons.

Tilleke & Gibbins

Regional heavyweight Tilleke & Gibbins is a pioneer of Vietnamese intellectual property. At present, it handles more than 10% of the country’s patent filings, which translated into more than 600 patent applications last year for the crème de la crème of a wide range of industries, including consumer goods, pharmaceuticals and telecoms. Patent group leader Thang Duc Nguyen is the driving force behind the outfit’s high-powered prosecution practice; a meticulous and precise drafter, his expertise in the chemical, automotive and software sectors is truly first rate. The firm’s litigation practice is distinguished by its dominant market share, deep well of experience and up-to-date knowledge of Vietnam Intellectual Property Research Institute opinions. The group has represented some of the world’s most famous pharmaceutical companies in patent infringement cases, as well as Bayer SAS in a successful civil litigation action in the agro-chemicals sphere. At the helm of the gold-ranked practice is semiconductor, encryption and database technology maven Thomas Treutler. As managing partner of the Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh offices, his input is vital to the firm’s operations in Vietnam. Life sciences sage Loc Xuan Le receives glowing feedback from clients, who often appreciate his “ability to conduct intricate analyses and lead legal teams in an efficient and systematic manner”. His style of work “minimises distraction to clients and gives excellent indicators of the final outcome throughout”.

TRUNG THUC JSC

“Highly approachable and dependable, TRUNG THUC is a safe pair of hands for patent owners and foreign associates alike. Its practitioners exhibit a deep understanding of the law and are extremely easy to deal with.” Although the Hanoi-based boutique is not one of the largest firms in Vietnam, it has a superb reputation for responsiveness and reliability among those who have benefited from its services. Aside from the group’s sterling work in more traditional technical areas, it also has a knack for emerging sectors including artificial intelligence and software patents. Managing partner Hai Yen Thieu is one of the firm’s most acclaimed patent attorneys; agriculture and life sciences are her most successful technical hunting grounds. Clients with patenting needs in the electrical and mechanical engineering spaces would do well to seek out Viet Thang Nguyen, whose deft drafting is a sight to behold.

VCCI-IP Co Ltd

Vietnam’s first IP agency VCCI-IP remains a prosecution powerhouse and one of the country’s top filers. Described as “a big firm with a long history”, the Hanoi-based outfit exhibits a strong network of clients – with especially impressive links to top Japanese patrons. President and managing director Tran Huy Phuong is a name for the contact book of any serious innovator.

Vision & Associates

“A source of detailed, thoughtful and timely advice on patent conundrums, Vision & Associates is distinguished by its robust knowledge and understanding of Vietnamese and foreign patent issues. Its attorneys are genuinely helpful – they render actionable and results-oriented opinions in plain terms. Their ability to draft patent applications across multiple technical areas is also highly appreciated.” Having been educated in Australia, Vietnam, Russia and the United States, IP practice director Nguyet Dzung Nguyen offers a uniquely cosmopolitan perspective on patent matters and is highly sought after by global pharmaceutical companies. Managing partner and founder Pham Nghiem Xuan Bac has 32 years’ all-round commercial law experience. His multifaceted, business-focused advice always considers the bottom line.

Other recommended experts

Bross & Partners’ IP practice director Le Quang Vinh is a welcome newcomer to the IAM Patent 1000 this year. Although he is most renowned for his trademark work, his roster of top patent prosecution clients continues to grow as word of his quality spreads across industries.

Individuals

  • Pham Nghiem Xuan Bac - Vision & Associates
  • Thuy TH Dang - D&N International
  • Thang Duc Nguyen - Tilleke & Gibbins
  • Nguyet Dzung Nguyen - Vision & Associates
  • Manh Hung Tran - BMVN LLC, a member of Baker McKenzie
  • Loc Xuan Le - Tilleke & Gibbins
  • Thu Anh Nguyen - Ambys
  • Viet Thang Nguyen - TRUNG THUC JSC
  • Vu Khanh Toan Pham - Pham & Associates
  • Yen Pham - Rouse Legal
  • Hai Yen Thieu - TRUNG THUC JSC
  • Thomas J Treutler - Tilleke & Gibbins
  • Le Quang Vinh - Bross & Partners
  • Yen Vu - Rouse Legal