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Cablegate: Gvn Seeks Way Forward On Ipr Criminal Circular

VZCZCXRO4017
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM RUEHNH
DE RUEHHI #2043 3391040
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 051040Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY HANOI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6832
INFO RUEHHM/AMCONSUL HO CHI MINH 4023
RUEHBK/AMEMBASSY BANGKOK 6085
RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS HANOI 002043

SIPDIS

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

STATE PASS USTR FOR DBISBEE AND RBAE
STATE ALSO PASS USPTO FOR PFOWLER AND EWU
AMEMBASSY BANGKOK FOR USPTO JNESS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KIPR ECON ETRD VM
SUBJECT: GVN SEEKS WAY FORWARD ON IPR CRIMINAL CIRCULAR


(U) This cable is sensitive but unclassified, not for Internet.

REF: A) Hanoi 1616; B) Hanoi 1212

1. (U) In a December 5 meeting, National Office of Intellectual
Property (NOIP) officials told visiting State Department DeskOff and
Embassy EconOff that the Prime Minister has directed the Ministry of
Science and Technology (MOST) to broker an inter-ministerial
solution to the impasse over an outstanding circular providing
criminal remedies for commercial scale trademark and copyright
infringement (Reftels). MOST has scheduled a December 7 meeting
with relevant Government of Vietnam (GVN) agencies to discuss a way
forward and to revise the current draft of the circular.

2. (U) NOIP and MOST will seek to ensure that the new circular
complies with Vietnam's international commitments, the officials
said, but stressed that its scope will be constrained by Vietnam's
Criminal Code provisions. For example, NOIP officials predicted
that to comply with the Criminal Code, the circular will ultimately
avoid the term "commercial scale," replacing it instead with a
monetary threshold which would trigger criminal proceedings. NOIP
agreed to share with the United States any new draft resulting from
the December 7 meeting.

3. (U) GVN officials recognize that Vietnam must revise its Criminal
Code to comply fully with its World Trade Organization (WTO) TRIPS
commitments. The Ministry of Justice, as the lead agency for
revising the Criminal Code, has already established a drafting
committee which includes NOIP. The committee will begin meeting
later this month, with the target of submitting a final draft to the
National Assembly by the end of 2008. Ideally, the revised code
could then be passed during the first session of the National
Assembly in 2009, the NOIP officials explained.

4. (SBU) Comment: The Prime Minister's directive wrests control
over the moribund circular from the Supreme People's Court and gives
it to MOST - believed to have more "clout" within the government -
likely in an effort to demonstrate progress in advance of the TIFA
Council. Furthermore, despite earlier indications that a
lower-level official from NOIP would participate in the upcoming
TIFA Council, NOIP officials reported today that Director General
Tran Viet Hung will personally travel to Washington. These signs
all seem to indicate that the GVN would like to resolve this
long-standing issue, perhaps in response to continued pressure from
the United States. It remains unclear, however, how MOST intends to
meet Vietnam's TRIPS obligations without superseding the current
Criminal Code. Post will keep Washington informed of further
developments in the coming days. End comment.

MICHALAK

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