February 15, 2023
Vietnam Drafts Amendment to Patent Examination Guidelines for Inventions Related to Computer Programs

To improve its patent application processing capacity, the Intellectual Property Office of Vietnam (IP Office), with the support of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), is continuing to develop a draft amendment to the patent application examination guidelines for inventions related to computer programs.

After issuing Annex I to the patent application examination guidelines in 2021, which covered subject-matters related to computer programs that are protected as inventions, the IP Office’s Patent Examination Center, with the support of experts from the JICA, has now developed a draft of Annex II. This draft provides guidance on examination related to a sufficient disclosure of the substance of claimed subject-matters and an assessment of the protection criteria (novelty and inventive step) of subject-matters related to computer programs, along with illustrative examples.

In addition, the draft introduces the concepts of “sub-combination inventions” and “mixed-type inventions”, an assessment of the clarity of sub-combination inventions, and the assessment of novelty and inventive step of mixed-type inventions.

To evaluate the amendments in the draft, in conformity with the legal regulations and the examination practice, the Patent Examination Center organized a discussion of the draft on February 4, 2023, with the contribution of opinions and comments from IP representatives, organizations, schools, institutes, and individuals. The Patent Examination Center announced that it wishes to receive further constructive opinions from interested parties to improve the amendments of the guidelines.

In the context that inventions related to computer programs are closely related to new technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), and noting the many difficulties arising in the examination process, we hope that the amendments to the guidelines, specifically as outlined in the draft of Annex II, will soon be finalized and officially released. This annex will certainly facilitate the examination of inventions related to computer programs, as well as be a useful reference for applicants and inventors when establishing rights to inventions related to computer programs.

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Dat Thanh Nguyen
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