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Cablegate: Vietnam: One Small Victory in Ipr War

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS HANOI 000343

SIPDIS

STATE FOR EB/IPC:DRBEAN, EAP/BCLTV AND EB/ODC
STATE ALSO PASS USTR BURCKY/ALVAREZ AND BRYAN
STATE ALSO PASS USPTO FOR URBAN/FOWLER
STATE ALSO PASS LIBRARY OF CONGRESS FOR TEPP
USDA FOR FAS/FAA/AO HUETE
USDOC FOR LASHLEY AND 4431/MAC/AP/OKSA/HPPHO
USDOC ALSO FOR ITA/TD/OTEA/JJANICKE AND ITA/TD/SIF/CMUIR

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KIPR ETRD ECON VM IPROP
SUBJECT: VIETNAM: ONE SMALL VICTORY IN IPR WAR


1. Vietnam's ongoing struggle to understand the value of
protecting intellectual property rights was demonstrated
clearly in January when an article in "The Guide" magazine,
a monthly supplement to The Vietnam Economic Times (VET),
proudly promoted Hanoi as "home to a thriving trade in
copying CDs and DVDs". It listed shops where pirated
materials could be purchased and provided tips on how to
identify good quality copies. The article is part of "The
Guide's" monthly list of prime hotels, restaurants and
shopping locals in Vietnam's major cities. In stark
contrast, the cover story of the companion issue of the VET
discussed "branding in Vietnam" - highlighting the need for
Vietnamese companies to register trademarks and build brand
awareness in order to promote Vietnamese products
internationally.

2. In response to U.S. industry complaints about the
article in "The Guide," Charge sent letters to the editor of
the VET as well as to the Vice Minister of Culture and
Information protesting the article and highlighting its
disregard for Vietnam's IPR commitments under both the U.S.
- Vietnam Copyright Agreement and the U.S.-Vietnam Bilateral
Trade Agreement (BTA). Charge also noted the damage such an
article can do to Vietnam's international reputation and its
investment climate. Just 5 days later, Professor Dao Nguyen
Cat, Editor-in Chief of the VET, sent a reply to Charge that
acknowledged the impropriety of the "The Guide" article,
promised to amend the February issue and encouraged the USG
to continue its cooperation with Vietnam on copyright
issues. As promised, the February edition of "The Guide"
did not include any information on purchasing pirated CDs or
DVDs in Vietnam.

3. COMMENT: True to form, The Ministry of Culture has not
yet responded to Charge's request that it shut down the
CD/DVD shops which are well known for selling pirated goods
in Hanoi that were specifically cited in the January issue
of "The Guide". Over the course of the last year, post has
sent several letters to the Ministry citing specific cases
of IPR violations and asking the Ministry to take action.
The Ministry often takes months to respond and rarely
directly acknowledges the IPR violation or details what
steps the Ministry will take to stop the violation and
prevent future recurrences. In contrast, however, we were
encouraged by the rapid response of Mr. Cat, which not only
acknowledged the problem but also agreed to ensure "The
Guide" would not continue to promote piracy in subsequent
editions of the magazine.

4. As evidenced by the focus of the January issue of the
VET on branding (as well as a number of other recent
articles and seminars), there is growing awareness in many
sectors of Vietnam's economy of the need for IP protection
for Vietnamese products. While this understanding is still
only evident among a small percentage of the population, it
is growing - among Vietnamese agricultural exporters,
software developers and artists, for example. While these
groups are a long way from forming a critical mass, we
remain hopeful that as their numbers increase they will
begin to demand greater protection from the GVN for the IPR
of domestic industries. Strong domestic demand for IP
protection may just be the additional element that will
compel the GVN to develop effective enforcement capabilities
in line with the international commitments it has made to
protect IPR.
BURGHARDT

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