Vietnamese mini-subs to serve tourism in Malaysia

Phan Boi Tran is quite happy in his workship these days. Some Malaysian resort owners have ordered four of his mini-submarines They plan to use them to take tourists on underwater sojourns of coral reefs. Four years after his first prototype, Tran can finally sell his products. Phan Boi Tran: I made these but couldn’t sell them in Vietnam. So exporting them may be a good way to boost business I hope local businesses can see their weakness through this. Tran introduced his first mini-sub in 2010. He named the sub Yet Kieu, a legendary warrior famous for his diving ability during the Tran Dynasty in the 13th century. The Yet Kieu was successfully tested in a pool at the Vietnam Naval Academy, but troubles with the current legal procedures have prevented it from ever being put into practical use. Tran: The problem is that those administrative officials are not used to licensing products like mini-subs. There aren’t any legal document recognizing such products. Without customers at home, Tran has had to sell his invention abroad. He’s happy to be paid for his invention and to see his work recognized, but he’s worried at the same time. I can’t rule out the possibility that some people overseas may copy my design and export the mini-subs back to Vietnam. In that case, those mini-subs would have been officially tested and legalized. We may lose our intellectual property in that way. Tran is working on his new mini-subs every day. He has also applied for licensing intellectual property of his products. He has sent a list of inventions to the Ministry of Defense and is waiting every day for them to be approved. Tran says he longs for the day that his inventions can contribute to the country.

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