1. Simple Procedure
A standard patent (R) is obtained via a two-stage re-registration process.
In the first stage, a request to record a “designated patent application” is filed at the Hong Kong Intellectual Property Office within 6 months after the date of publication of the designated patent application. A designated patent application may be a Chinese patent application, European patent application (designating the UK), or a UK patent application.
In the second stage, when the designated patent has been granted, a request for registration and grant is filed within 6 months after the date of grant of the designated patent or of publication of the request to record, whichever is the later.
Provided the above deadlines are met and all formal requirements are completed, the Hong Kong Intellectual Property Department will register the designated patent and grant a standard patent (R) for the invention.
Accordingly, if the designated patent is granted, obtaining grant of a corresponding standard patent (R) in Hong Kong is straightforward.
Given the relatively simple registration procedure, obtaining a patent is inexpensive compared with other jurisdictions. Since there is no substantive examination, the costs incurred are more administrative in nature. Therefore, for straightforward cases, the cost of obtaining a Hong Kong standard patent (R) is US$00s rather than US$000s.
3. Trade Fairs
A Hong Kong standard patent (R) can be a powerful tool for preventing the merchandising of infringing goods at the many trade fairs and exhibitions held in Hong Kong.
The Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) hosts multiple different trade fairs and exhibitions in Hong Kong each year. These events allow suppliers to showcase their goods, find potential buyers, and secure deals.
Whether intentional or not, infringing goods may find themselves on display at these events. The HKTDC is committed to safeguarding intellectual property rights and, therefore, has a complaints procedure in place to handle alleged infringements by suppliers.
Consequently, with appropriate Hong Kong patent protection in place, rights holders can restrict suppliers from displaying infringing goods and disrupt their subsequent sale and distribution in other markets.
4. Large Market
Whilst small in geographical area, at the time of writing, Hong Kong has a population of approximately 7.5 million. That makes Hong Kong the 104th most populous territory on earth, more populous than many European countries including Ireland, Denmark and Norway.
Hong Kong is also a relatively affluent territory with an especially strong demand for luxury goods, medicines and technology.
As a result, Hong Kong is a much larger and more commercially significant market than many people realise. Accordingly, Hong Kong should be given careful consideration as part of any patent filing strategy.
5. One Country, Two Systems
It may be stating the obvious, but a Chinese patent does not cover Hong Kong.
As many of you will know, Hong Kong is a special administrative region (SAR) of China which affords Hong Kong a high degree of autonomy. Under this “one country, two systems” principle, Hong Kong continues to have its own governmental system, legal, economic and financial affairs.
Consequently, Hong Kong has its own patent system and patent laws which are separate and distinct from those of mainland China. Therefore, if patent protection in Hong Kong is desired, a Hong Kong patent must be obtained in addition to a Chinese patent (which may be used as the designated patent).