Over 1,200 fake Charles&Keith and Pedro handbags are destroyed in Hanoi last December (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Businesses need to be fully aware of the importance of intellectual property (IP) and make it a critical part of their development strategies, especially when the country is now a member of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

TPP, the world’s biggest free trade agreement with its 12 member countries making up 40 percent of the global economy, has an IP chapter that covers patents, industrial designs, trademarks, geographical indications, copyrights, among others.

Vietnam’s efforts to protect IP rights have yet to meet the real demand as well as international commitments, Deputy Minister of Science and Technology Tran Viet Thanh said at a discussion in Hanoi on April 20.

Thanh said the country has implemented IP rights from the central to grassroots levels with such programmes as the one on fighting smuggling, trade fraud and counterfeits, and the other on preventing IP infringements.

However, the violation of IP rights is still rising and becomes more complicated, he emphasised.

The market control force has dealt with more than 22,400 cases relating to fake and low-quality goods and IP rights violation, said Pham Van Toan – Deputy Chief Inspector of the Science and Technology Ministry (MoST).

Of the figure, MoST inspectors have handled 752 cases and fined 344 violating organisations while their counterparts in the culture, sports and tourism ministry have tackled 419 cases and fined 384 violators.

As a TPP member, Vietnam must realise the commitments on IP rights, foreign investment, environment and labour standards, competition and State-owned enterprises, and the settlement of disputes, Deputy Minister Thanh noted.

To promote the law enforcement’s effectiveness, Toan stressed the need for aligning relevant legal documents, such as the Law on Intellectual Property, the Penal Code, the Law on Customs and the Law on Pharmaceuticals, with the reality and international commitments.

While the law enforcement staff should receive intensive training, inspections and the punishment of violations must be strengthened, he added.

At the discussion, many insiders called on companies to survey the market regularly to timely detect any violations of their IP rights.

The function, held by the MoST and the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, was among activities in response to the World Intellectual Property Day (April 26).-VNA