Sunday, August 2, 2009

Counterfeit & fake products-Vietnam

The growing number of counterfeit and fake products and violations of intellectual property rights is a complicated problem in Vietnam. As a result, businesses and consumers have suffered huge losses.

Violations of intellectual property rights on the rise

According to the Department of Market Management, their investigation teams uncovered nearly 13,000 cases of trading and producing counterfeit and low-quality products as well as violations of intellectual property rights in 2006.

More than 15,000 cases were discovered in 2007 and 18,500 in 2008 and fines of over VND22 billion were handed out. In the first half of the year, statistics have shown that inspectors uncovered 2,650 cases of trading fake goods and 437 cases which violated intellectual property rights. Fines of VND1.2 billion were imposed.

According to experts, Vietnamese market consumes some one million motorbikes each year of which 50 percent are imitation. In a recent case in the northern province of Nam Dinh, nearly 2,000 fake Wave Alpha motorbikes were sold. The price of these motorbikes is around VND5.5 million each while the actual selling price can reach VND13 million.

In fact, many kinds of goods such as motorbikes, computer software and children’s sweets can be counterfeited. To sell fake goods more easily, they are sometimes stamped with counterfeit import stamps. Apart from counterfeit goods, there are now many low-quality foodstuff and drugs which have seriously affected consumers’ health.

Businesses have to defend themselves

It’s very difficult to catch the makers of fake goods red-handed, said the Hanoi Market Management Department. It’s even more difficult to prove violations because this involves a complicated chain of legal procedures, from inspection to assessment and subsequently fining.

The situation is also deteriorating as there is no specialized agency responsible for assessing intellectual property rights. Punishments so far have been confined to fines and inspection agencies and affected producers are unable to act together or in time.

Meanwhile, inspectors from the Ministry of Science and Technology said that businesses have paid attention only to building up their trademarks and designs and improving product quality without registering their brand names on the market. Few businesses have set up departments to deal with this issue or work out strategies for it.

Prior to the market being swamped with fakes, each business needs to have its own method of self-protection. But state functional agencies play an essential role in solving this problem.

Le Tat Chien, a specialist from the Intellectual Property Office, suggests that enterprises need to resort to technical solutions in order to protect their products by coding and other anti-copying techniques. He also confirmed that each business should establish a department in charge of safeguarding its intellectual property rights.

VietNamNet/VOV
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