International integration is increasingly being promoted, creating new opportunities and challenges for businesses. The development of a market economy is proportional to the diversity of goods, services and suppliers, which requires a guide so that consumers can identify and choose exactly the products they want. desire. “Logo” is an important tool, carrying all the necessary criteria of an indication that consumers want, contributing to establishing the position of each business in the market.
Overview of “logos”
In all international conventions or important documents on intellectual property (IP) in general and Vietnamese law in particular, there is no general definition for logos. However, in fact, Vietnam has a certain recognition for this special asset class through current legal documents, specifically: According to Decision No. 33/2018/QD-UBND on the promulgating the regulation on management and use of the logo (logo) of Khanh Hoa province and the logo (logo) of the Nha Trang – Khanh Hoa sea festival on October 12, 2018 of the People’s Committee of Khanh Hoa province, the logo is prescribed “Suggesting images related to Think of the arms that unite to work together to build the homeland of Khanh Hoa in the shape of a bird’s nest, below is the image of Bird’s Nest and the clear blue sea. All of them exude typical features of the beauty and natural values of people and the homeland of Khanh Hoa. In addition, in the Circular 11/2015/TT-BKHCN dated June 26, 2015 guiding the sanctioning of administrative violations in the field of industrial property, it is mentioned that “Business logo” also has the characteristics of: similarity of a logo such as: Includes symbols, letters, drawings, shapes that are uniquely designed and are considered as symbols of the business used in business activities.
Thus, “logo” can be understood as a logo or symbol represented by a set of characters, images and colors in order to create a sign for the purpose of identifying the brand and image of the business. contribute to the establishment of the company’s position in the market.
Mechanisms to protect IP rights for corporate logos
As society develops, the subject matter of IPR protection is expanding and increasing continuously. In essence, a logo is a combination of shapes, layouts, lines and colors forming a sign used to identify and distinguish different objects. Because of such characteristics, logos can only be protected under three mechanisms: copyright, industrial property and anti-unfair competition rights.
Protection of logos under the copyright mechanism
The form of the logo is a combination of characters, lines, colors and shapes. This feature makes it a creative design, whose nature is copyright protection for the creative works that make the logo fully eligible for protection under the copyright mechanism. Although the current law stipulates that the copyright mechanism includes many types of protected objects, because of its own characteristics, logos have aesthetic and artistic characteristics, so they are often protected under the copyright law. works of applied art. It is also the most suitable type of protection compared to a logo because it is not a written work or an audio work in itself.
Protection of logos under the mechanism of industrial property rights
The current IP Law of Vietnam stipulates: Industrial property rights are the rights of organizations and individuals to inventions, industrial designs, layout designs of semiconductor integrated circuits, trademarks, trade names, geographical indications, trade secrets created or owned by themselves and the right to combat unfair competition”. With obvious commercial characteristics and industrial applicability when attached to each goods or product of an enterprise, the logo can be protected under the mechanism of industrial property rights. Although the current law stipulates that industrial property rights include many protection objects, the most suitable objects for logos only include: trademarks, industrial designs and geographical indications.
For most objects of industrial property rights, registration procedures to establish rights are mandatory (except for well-known trademarks and business secrets). Industrial property rights can only arise when they are registered at a competent state agency. Besides, not all logos just need to be registered to be protected. Depending on certain types of objects, the law stipulates different protection conditions and corresponding to each case, the logo must satisfy specific conditions to be protected under this mechanism.
Protection of logos according to the mechanism of competition law
According to the provisions of the law, specifically in Clause 6, Article 3 of the Competition Law 2018, an act of unfair competition is an act of an enterprise that is contrary to the principles of good faith, honesty, commercial practices and standards. other business activities, causing damage or may cause damage to the legitimate rights and interests of other enterprises.
In the field of IP, unfair competition is expressed through acts of infringing upon the commercial indications of rights holders. Acts of unfair competition related to IP rights usually contain three elements: (1) The subject performs the act with the aim of taking advantage of the reputation and reputation of other organizations and individuals; (2) The subject of unfair competition intentionally creates commercial indications, misleading consumers about the business entity, business activities, commercial origin of goods and services. services, or cause confusion about the origin, production method, features, quality of goods or services, quantity or other characteristics of goods or services, or conditions of supply of goods or services; (3) Unfair competition acts of the subject causing direct or indirect damage to the infringing individual or organization.
Protecting IPRs with logo design through the Mixi Food logo dispute story
Currently, in the field of copyright, there are not many infringements of applied art works, but there are mainly certain disputes as a result of the overlapping of protection mechanisms. together. These disputes mainly occur due to the overlapping of copyright and industrial property rights protection mechanisms, making it difficult to solve problems, typically the Mixi Food logo dispute.
The logo “Mixi Food” was created and used by Mr. Phung Thanh Do (hereinafter referred to as “Do” or “Do Mixi”) – the owner of the Mixi Gaming channel, created and used for a long time to sell food, but has not registered for insurance for a long time. in the name of a trademark. On December 12, 2018, Lawyer of Business Joint Stock Company (LOB) registered the logo “Mixi Food” under the name of a trademark, application number 4-2018-43852, registered for group 29 for the following products: Freeze-dried meat, meat, cured meat, meat extracts, preserved meat, canned meat. On January 11, 2019, this application was approved by the NOIP in terms of form.
On May 10, 2019, Mr. Do’s side contacted LOB to ask to solve the problem. Mr. Do said that LOB had “robbed” his logo to register first and then waited for the right time when the owner contacted him to start bargaining, asking to buy back to make a profit. Or if you do not buy it, it will cause difficulties such as requesting removal or termination of use.
The view of the LOB side is that they have absolutely no such intention. The LOB representative said that he is a fan of Do Mixi and the purpose of this registration is: (1) To avoid the logo being registered by other units first; (2) Helps to reduce registration time because the application examination time is now very long. In addition, LOB confirmed that when receiving the protection title, the LOB side will hand it over to Mr. Do. The LOB side proves that they have sent a message to Mr. Do about the registration of this logo. In addition, if LOB intends to “rob” the logo, LOB can completely register under the name and address of a “ghost” company, making it impossible to look up the registrant; In transfer transactions, LOB only needs to participate as a third party, not necessarily using the main company name to register the logo.
This is a typical case related to IP rights disputes, which is mainly caused by the overlap between copyright and industrial property rights. Mr. Do created the logo “Mixi Food”, has moral and property rights attached to the logo; however, the industrial property law does not have certain restrictions on the right of registration in this case. However, LOB’s conduct may still be considered an infringement of Team Mixi’s IP rights, if:
About copyright: Anh Do is recognized as the author of the logo “Mixi Food” and is protected under this mechanism. Here, it is necessary to prove (1) Mr. Do himself is the creator of the logo “Mixi Food”; (2) The logo “Mixi Food” that the LOB party registered for industrial property rights protection was born after but identical to the “Mixi Food” logo of Mr. Do; (3) LOB has copied Mr. Do’s logo.
Regarding industrial property rights, the “Mixi Food” logo is widely used and recognized for identical or similar goods and services from before the date of filing the LOB’s trademark protection application. The term “used” in this case means that such use is carried out in legal production, commercial, advertising and marketing activities. To prove the above problem, Mr. Do needs to provide information about the time of using the current scope and level of use for the “Mixi Food” logo. However, it is quite difficult to prove this in practice.
Instead of ending…
The context of socio-economic development in the current era puts Vietnam in certain opportunities and challenges. At the same time, the needs of enterprises in expanding production are increasing, requiring a more complete and strong legal corridor to protect the legitimate rights and interests of assets in general. and corporate logos in particular.
However, the current IP law still has some shortcomings, affecting the protection of intellectual property rights of enterprises. Therefore, the completion of legal provisions and the enhancement of the effectiveness of IPR protection for corporate logos is a very urgent requirement that needs to be resolved in order to improve the effectiveness of IPR protection in the current period of time. In modern times, helping businesses confidently compete, creating a solid step forward in the integration process of Vietnam in the international arena.
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