Many local software firms are still puzzled about how to apply the
newly passed intellectual property law in their operations, heard a
seminar in HCMC last Tuesday.
Company owners raised questions at the seminar on how to deal with
employees and business partners in a field whose products are solely
the fruits of intellectual creation.
One of the major confusions concerns patent and copyright, which
protect any application. Most of the companies at the seminar could not
tell the difference.
"If I list my programmers as authors of our company's software, will I
be in trouble when they use their copyright to reproduce the software
at another company?" asked the owner of a software firm.
"And what if they use their author's right to sue us or prevent us from
making improvements to the software?" another asked.
Copyright grants an author the right to protect the work so that no one
can legally change the software without the author's consent, said
workshop instructor Dao Minh Duc.
"But the author has to prove such changes harm his or her prestige,"
said Duc, who is also head of the intellectual property department of
the HCMC Service of Science and Technology.
Meanwhile, a company can preserve their ownership of a software
program. Duc said if the company owned a patent for the software,
people who participated in creating it could not reproduce it elsewhere.
Late last year, Vietnam passed the first act of a law on intellectual
property, which still shows some differences compared to world
Programmers' ownership of applications they write for a company is
handled differently in Vietnam.
Duc said in other countries, programmers whose task it is to write
software modules for a company were not generally considered authors of
(Saigon time daily – 1 June, 2006)