Amateur inventors as well as scientists at research institutes and universities are also afraid of writing descriptions about their inventions when registering for patents.
Phung Minh Hai from Niptex (National Institute of Patent and Technology Exploitation), said that Vietnam only had 661 patents in the last 33 years, from 1982 to 2015.
Meanwhile, Singapore granted 1,651 patents within three years, from 2012 to 2016, Thailand 4,899 within six years (2005-2011) and Malaysia 381 in 2014 alone.
As such, each of the country granted 381-816 patents, while Vietnam had 20.
Another paradox is that research institutes and universities are the authors of 15 percent of patents and utility solutions, according to a report by the National Office of Intellectual Property (NOIP) in 2015.
The Hanoi University of Technology, one of the most prestigious schools in Vietnam, has had only 70 applications for patent protection and 50 applications for utility solution protection since 2006.
At the Hanoi University of Natural Sciences, a member school of the Hanoi National University, there were only five and nine applications for patents in 2014 and 2015, respectively.
The leading school in Vietnam has set a modest target of 8-10 applications per annum in the upcoming years.
Nguyen Van Quy from the Hanoi University of Technology commented that scientists are ‘lazy’ about registering for patents because of the difficulties they meet when writing descriptions about the inventions.
The inventions, which have important significance, may be ignored by inspectors if the description is not good enough.
Pham Tien Dung from the Vietnam Science & Technology Academy, said scientists, who are familiar with scientific research language, meet difficulties when using legal language to describe their inventions.
“They feel discouraged as they have to re-write the description many times,” he said.
Even professional scientists say it is challenging to write descriptions.
Hai from Niptex commented that the challenges for amateur inventors are bigger, not only because they find it difficult to write descriptions.
They cannot see the benefits of the registration for patents because of the unclear product commercialization prospects.
Besides, the registration cost also causes amateur inventors to shrink back.
The fee they pay to the state is not high, but the fee to representatives for registering inventions for intellectual property protection and the annual fee for maintaining patents are high.
The long time waiting for patents is also a problem. One has to wait six months to know if their applications are approved and wait another 18 months to get patents. Quy commented that the ‘time is long enough for inventors to forget that they have applied for patents’.