Hanoi, Vietnam – As you may be aware, at 16:10 (Japan Standard Time) on 1 January 2024, a magnitude 7.6 earthquake struck the Noto Peninsula in Ishikawa Prefecture, Japan (the “Noto Earthquake”). Some parts of the peninsula rose up to 4 meters (13 feet), shifting the position of coastlines and leaving some ports dry. As the epicenter was very shallow, large tremors were observed in many places and a tsunami warning was issued. Since then, 1,543 aftershocks have followed the main shock. It was the largest earthquake in the Noto region since records were kept in 1885.
The Noto Earthquake caused tsunami and fire that affects socio-economic life of Japan in general and those who apply for registration of their industrial property objects in particular. Based on the provisions of Article 15.3 and 15.4 of the Government’s Decree 65/2023/ND-CP dated 23 August 2023 detailing some articles and implementation measures of the Law on Intellectual Property of Vietnam
[Article 15. Time limit calculation
3. The time limit does not include when there is any force majeure or objective obstacle making the organization or individual fail to perform their concerned tasks and rights within the scope of the time limit if such an organization or individual requests and has reasonable evidence proving such a state. If the request is accepted, the industrial property right authority shall issue a notification and/or notification revoking the issued decision and/or notification regarding the failure to promptly perform tasks and rights of the individual or organization and restore the processing of the application to its previous state.
4. Force majeure means an objective event that cannot be predicted (such as natural disasters, epidemics, etc.) and cannot be remedied though necessary and permissible measures are applied.
Objective obstacles mean obstacles caused by objective situations (such as sickness, work or study at a faraway location, etc.), making persons with rights and tasks unable to know their legitimate rights and benefits are infringed upon or fail to perform their tasks and rights.],
to support those who have been affected by the Noto Earthquake, on 29 January 2024, the Intellectual Property Office of Vietnam (IP Vietnam) issued Notice No. 370/TB-SHTT on the application of legal provisions to applicants affected by the Noto Earthquake. In light of this Notice, the following legal regulations on deadlines are applicable to applicants affected by the Noto Earthquake:
– For applicants affected by the Noto Earthquake (around the Noto Peninsula area, mainly in Ishikawa, Niigata, Toyama and Fukui prefectures), the entire period during which the said force majeure event hinders the implementation of procedures for establishing industrial property rights (request for priority rights, submission of documents, response to decisions/notices of IP Vietnam, annuities and renewal of protection titles, payment of fees, charges, filing of appeals) at IP Vietnam will not be counted towards the corresponding legal deadline.
– Applicants requesting for the above exception must specifically state the period of the force majeure event and submit documents issued by any competent organization confirming the impact of the Noto Earthquake.