Computer software and intellectual property rights in workshop spotlight

This morning, Vietnam Intellectual Property Association (VIPA) and Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Vietnam (VCCI), in cooperation with BSA|The Software Alliance, held the “Opportunities for businesses to explore the way for legally and efficiently using software” workshop. 

This marked the first time most major players in the software world who are also BSA members, including Microsoft, PTC, Autodesk, Siemens, and CNC Mastercam, were present introducing effective software licensing policies for Vietnamese businesses. The workshop also attracted participants from interested domestic companies and regulatory agencies.

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In his opening remarks to the workshop, VIPA chairman Mai Ha said that as Vietnam made strong commitments to international integration, compliance with international laws emerged as an imperative. This requires businesses in particular to closely adhere to the law and observe fair competition rules if they want sustainable achievements.

“I believe that at this workshop, what experts from software companies can share with their corporate audience about policies on using legal software will set the tone for a very good start and strong groundwork for businesses. We hope that through this workshop, you can share the best practices to better understand the policies of software companies and the policies of Vietnam in general,” Ha stressed.

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Opening remarks by chairman of Vietnam Intellectual Property Association Mai Ha at the workshop

Discussing what it means to have a workshop that gathers both software corporate users and software companies, Nguyen Thi Thu Hang, VCCI general secretary, said: “Actually, many businesses are unaware that most current software companies like PTC, Microsoft, Autodesk, Siemens, and others now have various policies in place to help businesses use software in an efficient manner. This is an opportunity for local businesses to learn how to use software legally from major software companies in the world, therefore tapping into the potentials of their intellectual prowess and improving the performance of their business activities”.

Bolstering IPR enforcement, including computer software, is now high on the government’s agenda as part of its efforts to uphold the IPR international commitments it made. 

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Tran Van Minh, deputy snspector general of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, giving an update on the enforcement and protection of ownership rights for computer software in Vietnam

Addressing the workshop, Tran Van Minh, deputy inspector general of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MoCST), said: “Our inspections indicate that violation of ownership and related rights is still rampant, abusing the legitimate rights and interests of both domestic and foreign owners and compromising innovation, the economic-cultural-social development of the nation, and its integration into the world economy. The causes of this mostly come from a lack of awareness, understanding, and particularly a culture of adherence to ownership rights and related rights by relevant organisations and individuals or the inability to recognise the gravity of the problem.”

Minh also informed that in its summary of the 10 years of the Intellectual Property Law being in effect (2006 to 2016), regarding ownership rights and related rights, MoCST’s Inspectorate audited 541 businesses, inspected 27,602 computers, and imposed administrative fines of altogether VND8.613 billion ($379,000). In the first eight months of 2017 alone, inspection activities took place at 55 businesses, with VND1.38 billion ($60,720) in administrative fines levied.

“The enforcement and protection of ownerships and related rights, particularly for computer software, are one of the biggest concerns that require special attention from businesses. Without adequate awareness, businesses may face adverse implications on their operations and challenges in their integration attempts,” Minh accentuated.

In addition to being able to steer clear of legal risks, probably the most important benefit of using licensed software is that it can improve efficiency and information security for businesses.

Reports from Vietnam Computer Emergency Response Team (VNCERT) from 2016 show a total of 134,375 instances of cyberattacks in three different forms of phishing, malware (malicious software), and deface (interface change), 4.2-times higher than in 2015. In the first half of 2017 alone, Vietnamese websites were victims to over 6,000 instances of cyberattacks.

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Gary Gan, director of Compliance Programs for Asia-Pacific, BSA|The Software Alliance, talking about Software Asset Management

As cybersecurity attacks targeting major Vietnamese organisations and businesses are increasing at a dangerous pace, Gary Gan, director of Compliance Programs for Asia-Pacific at BSA|The Software Alliance, underscored: “There is strong connection between the use of illegal or unlicensed software and malware attacks. The first advice for Vietnamese businesses is to use licensed software. This enables you to have the latest patches from software companies, and will allow you to identify a cyberattack quickly when it happens, and deal with it effectively.”

Gary also spoke about Software Asset Management (SAM), which allows businesses to conduct an assessment of the software they have. Businesses should align their software use with their business needs and make sure it is integrated within the business.

He said: “Traditionally, when people think of software, they think it is the responsibility of the management or the IT manager. But with every employee using mobile phones, laptops, and the internet, everyone needs to know what they are using, how they are using it, what risks they are exposing themselves to, and when there is an instance of an attack, how to identify it quickly and deal with it effectively.”

By Thu Ha

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