Patents protect inventions, that is products, substances, or processes which are new and inventive. Patent owners have the right to prevent others from manufacturing, using, selling, or importing the invention.
There are two types of patents in Hong Kong, China
Protection under standard patents is renewable annually after the end of the third year, for a maximum of 20 years.
Protection under short-term patents is renewable, after four years from filing, for a maximum term of eight years.
You need patent protection in Hong Kong, China to stop unauthorised manufacture, use, sales, or imports of your invention in Hong Kong. You will need a patent in Hong Kong, China if you intend to license someone else to manufacture, use, sell, or import your invention in Hong Kong, China.
Applying for a patent elsewhere in the world or in other regions of China does not automatically give you patent protection in Hong Kong, China.
Anyone can make a search about published patent applications and patents granted in Hong Kong, China at the online search system provided by the Intellectual Property Department (http://ipsearch.ipd.gov.hk).
If you wish to find out whether there is prior art affecting the novelty/inventive step of the invention of a granted short-term patent that you are searching, please conduct a patent search by using the Intellectual Property Department's online search system http://ipsearch.ipd.gov.hk/patent/index.html and view the search report in relation to the invention to obtain information on the prior art.
Computer software is protected under copyright law. But patent protection may be available for software related inventions that are not merely computer programs. For example, in the European Patent Office and in the United Kingdom Patent Office, software is patentable if it is a computer-related invention that produces a 'further technical effect'. Essentially, software that merely automates a process that was previously done mentally or manually is not patentable. But if the software solves a technical problem it is patentable.
You need to keep your invention confidential until you file a patent application. Disclosure of your invention before filing may mean that you cannot get a patent because your invention is no longer considered new.
You may also want protection for your invention outside Hong Kong, China, so you need to ensure that any disclosure in Hong Kong, China, even after filing, does not prejudice your patent application in another country.
When we publish a patent application in the Hong Kong Intellectual Property Journal, we include the international publication number which you can use to search in other databases, including esp@cenet of the European Patent Office. In addition we publish the priority application numbers and designated patent publication numbers which are useful search criteria for making a patent 'family' search, in other words, a search for patents elsewhere that protect the same invention.