The Heads of IP Office Conference (HIPOC in short) for Countries in South Asia, Southeast Asia, Iran (Islamic Republic of) and Mongolia is a high-level interactive forum regularly organized by the Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific of WIPO (ASPAC) in recent years. The objectives of HIPOC are to create an opportunity for leaders of IP Offices to update recent development of their national IP systems, exchange of views and experiences on direction and administration of IP Offices, and discuss WIPO’s cooperation initiatives and programs for capacity enhancement and institutional improvement of member states in the region.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, this year’s Conference was virtually organized for the first time on 23 and 30, July, 2020. There were Mr. Mario Matus, WIPO’s Deputy Director General in charge of development sector, Mr. Andrew Michael Ong, ASPAC’s Head and more than 60 representatives from IP Offices in the region attending the Conference. Mr. Le Ngoc Lam represented IP Viet Nam to attend the Conference live from Hanoi, Viet Nam.
The Intellectual Property Office of Viet Nam attended the HIPOC live from, Hanoi, Viet Nam
In the context that the complicated and long-lasting Covid-19 pandemic has significantly affected the operation and activities of WIPO and IP Offices, WIPO has selected the theme “At Home with IP” for the Conference this year. Accordingly, the key topics at the Conference were measures, policies taken by IP Offices as reactions to the pandemic and their priorities in cooperation in this challenging time.
Mr. Andrew Michael Ong, ASPAC’s Head, advised that due to the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, many meetings, seminars and training courses organized by WIPO have been changed into virtual format, including the HIPOC this year, in order to adapt the current situation. Several meetings at the WIPO’s Headquarters in Geneva scheduled in the second half of this year were planned to be organized in “hybrid” format, which is a combination of the format of on-site meeting allowing a limited number of participants, namely that each member state can only dispatch 01 delegate from the capital and 01 permanent representative in Geneva to the WIPO, with the format of on-line meeting allowing member states’ representatives can attend the meeting live from their countries. Mr. Andrew affirmed that, despite the current challenging context, WIPO in general and ASPAC in particular, will endeavor to implement cooperation plans with member states in the most effective and appropriate manner. Additionally, WIPO and IP Offices’ leaders also exchanged of views on their cooperation priorities in this period, so that cooperative action plans can be modified appropriately.
At the Conference, IP Viet Nam presented its country report to share some major points on recent developments of the national IP system as well as reactions of the Office to the COVID-19 pandemic. With regards to the legal framework, Viet Nam has promulgated the Law amending and supplementing a number of provisions of the IP Law and the Law on Insurance Business in 2019 to implement immediate commitments under of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). Viet Nam also commenced to implement the Hague system on international registration for industrial designs. More than a half of year since the effective date of the Hague Agreement in Viet Nam, to date, IP Viet Nam has received 41 applications designating Viet Nam with a total of 82 designs.
Concerning the National IP Strategy of Viet Nam, IP Viet Nam expressed its compliments and appreciation for technical assistance provided by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) to Viet Nam in formulating and submitting the National IP Strategy until 2030 for Prime Minister’s approval, and stated that several ministries and localities, including the Ministry of Science and Technology and IP Viet Nam, have promulgated their own Strategy’s Implementation Plan for 2020-2025 period. Especially, IP Viet Nam has embarked on implementation of the Strategy’s tasks, namely the Project on Developing the WIPO IPAS system, Upgrade of the IT infrastructure and Deployment of e-Government service level 4 at IP Viet Nam. IP Viet Nam has proposed WIPO to continue its support to Viet Nam in implementing the National IP Strategy in the coming time.
Furthermore, IP Viet Nam also shared some measures to assist applicants affected by the pandemic, such as reduction of IP Government fees by 50% for applications from 26 May to 31 December, 2020 (according to the Circular No. 45/2020/TT-BTC dated 26 May, 2020 of the Ministry of Finance) and other measures as instructed by competent authorities such as work from home, virtual meetings, etc. in quarantine time.
In addition to the country reports, WIP also updated the implementation status of cooperation initiatives/programs of ASPAC to enhance capacity of IP Offices, namely the Project on Formulating the National IP Strategy, Resource and Management Diagnostic for IP Offices, Enabling Innovation Environment (EIE) Project for Branding and Designs, EIE Project for IP and Technology Support, and Individualized Training and Learning Management System for Patent and Trade Mark Examiners. Besides the above-mentioned projects, in recent times, WIPO has also developed some other useful tools such as WIPO PROOF – WIPO’s New Trusted Digital Evidence which offers innovators and creators a way to safeguard digital files via digital fingerprint, WIPO Lex-Judgments – WIPO’s New Database of IP Decisions or Mentimeter – supporting tools for virtual meetings. IP Offices can select suitable programs and projects to cooperate with WIPO, thereby to contribute to development of the global IP system.
WIPO and member states attend the HIPOC live from their countries
The virtual HIPOC (e-HIPOC) has finished successfully after 02 working days with many presentations of members states’ representatives and WIPO’s experts. Hopefully the Conference will continue to be a forum for leaders of IP Offices from countries in South Asia, Southeast Asia, Iran (Islamic Republic of) and Mongolia to periodically exchange information and experience on direction and administration, especially on innovative views on development as mentioned in the inspiring presentation of a speaker from the University of California Berkeley, USA at this year's HIPOC Conference./.