VNIPO’s new notification temporarily loosening requirements on the legal capacity of the signers in the documents
As we informed in our previous news update, on 23 November 2020 the Intellectual Property Office of Vietnam (“VNIPO”) issued Notification no. 13822/TB-SHTT (“Notification no. 13822”) guiding the application of a number of regulations concerning the persons having the legal capacity to sign the documents on behalf of the applicants in the rights establishment procedures. Accordingly, it is required that, in the case an applicant is an organization/entity, all the documents submitted to the VNIPO must be signed by the persons holding either of the titles of Chairman of the Board Members, Chairman of the administrative board, President, General Director or Director; otherwise, the applicant must provide further documents proving the authority of the signer.
The said notification adversely changed the previous long-established practice according to which most of the documents submitted by the applicant used to be acceptable regardless of the titles of the signer and without fixing the titles as above mentioned. In view thereof, Notification no. 13822 has faced massive controversy as it was believed to impose on applicants more burden of unnecessary paperwork, especially in the context of the surging Covid-19 pandemic.
However, considering the situations that the socio-economic life is still seriously affected by the pandemic, on 14 July 2021, the VNIPO issued a new Notification no. 6959/TB-SHTT (“Notification no. 6959”) guiding the application of a number of contents of the Notification no. 13822. Accordingly, the documents submitted to the VNIPO would be acceptable provided that:
- By his/her hand signature and the organization’s seal (if any), the signer being the legal or authorized representative of the applicant acknowledges his/her own legal capacity to sign on behalf of the applicant,
- The said signer shall be fully responsible to the applicant and before the laws for the honesty and accuracy the information and documents submitted to the VNIPO and shall be liable for all consequences and obligations arisen from his/her declaration or provision of dishonest and/or inaccurate information.
As such, with this new notification, the VNIPO would temporarily come back to apply the previous practice as before the Notification no. 13822, thereby accepting the documents regardless of the titles of the signer provided that the signer commits to take all responsibilities for the accuracy of the documents submitted to the VNIPO. Of note, this new notification is effective as from 14 July 2021 and would be applicable to even the procedures initiated before the said date. This new notification is a reasonable action from the VNIPO to ease the burden of administrative paperwork for the applicants during the ongoing tough time, which is much appreciated. However, under the current regulations, in the cases where the accuracy of the submitted information or documents is doubted, especially in certain procedures such as recordal of assignment or recordal of changes to the registered IP protection titles. The VNIPO can still request the applicants to provide the documents proving the capacity of the signer as the legal or authorized representative of the applicant. We hope that the VNIPO would have prompt internal guides to its departments and divisions so as to make sure that the new notification will be applied consistently.
The Notification no. 6959 is published on VNIPO’s website at https://ipvietnam.gov.vn/