How to protect and enforce?
Registration of IPRs
(The above link will provide you with information on how to register a trademark)
(The above link will provide you with information on how to register a patent)
(The above link will provide you with information on how to register a design)
- Plant varieties
Applications for registrations of plant variety rights should be made to the Plant Variety Registry, which is administered by the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department.
The following will provide you with further information on the registration of plant variety rights:
(i) Plant Varieties Protection Ordinance (Cap 490)
(ii) Plant Breeder's Right (Plant Varieties Protection Ordinance)
(iii) Leaflet - General Information about Plant Varieties Protection (PDF file format)
(iv) New Plant Varieties Application Approved under the Plant Varieties Protection Ordinance Chapter 490
(v) New Plant Varieties Application Received under the Plant Varieties Protection Ordinance Chapter 490
- Online search for existing registered IPRs and published applications
By the above link, you may have access to the online search system administered by the Intellectual Property Department. Registrations of trademarks, patents and registered designs and published applications therefor can be found by the online search.
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IPRs that do not require registration
- Copyright and Layout-Designs (Topographies) of Integrated Circuits
Registration is not required in order for a copyright work or a layout-design (topography) of integrated circuit to be protected. For further information on copyright and layout-designs (typographies), please refer to the section " What is IP" above.
- Unregistered trademark
An unregistered trademark well-known in Hong Kong may be entitled to limited protections under the Trade Marks Ordinance, Cap. 559. For example, the owner of a well-known trademark may seek an injunction against the use of an identical or similar trademark by another person under certain circumstances. Also, the owner of a well-known trademark may be entitled to oppose the registration of an identical or similar trademark by another person under certain circumstances. Details of the relevant protections for well-known trademarks can be found in the Trade Marks Ordinance, Cap.559. You may have access to the Ordinance by clicking on the link provided in the section " What is IP" above.
An unregistered trademark or other sign may also be protected by the common law action of “passing off” if it can be established that:
(i) there is a goodwill associated with the use of the trademark or sign by the owner,
(ii) there is a misrepresentation made by another person, and
(iii) such misrepresentation has caused or is likely to cause damage to the goodwill or business of the owner of the trademark or sign concerned.
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IPR administrative and enforcement authorities
- Intellectual Property Department (IPD)
IPD is responsible for administering the Trade Marks Registry, Patents Registry and Designs Registry. Applications for registering patents, trademarks and designs should be made to the relevant registries. For further information on registration, please refer to the above section on “Registration of IPRs”.
Further information on IPD and its contact details can be found on the IPD website (http://www.ipd.gov.hk/)
- Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD)
AFCD is responsible for administering the Plant Variety Registry. Applications for registering plant variety rights should be made to the Plant Variety Registry. For further information on the registration of plant variety rights, please refer to the above section on “Registration of IPRs”.
Further information on AFCD and its contact details can be found on AFCD website (http://www.afcd.gov.hk/)
- Customs and Excise Department (C&ED)
C&ED is responsible for enforcing criminal sanctions against copyright and trademark infringements in Hong Kong. Rights owners and any other members of the public may report any criminal infringements (or suspected infringements) of copyright or trademark to C&ED for further actions. Actions taken by C&ED include investigations of infringements, arrests of offenders, seizures of counterfeit and pirated goods and prosecutions of trademark and copyright offences.
Further information on C&ED and its contact details can be found on C&ED website (http://www.customs.gov.hk/)
- Hong Kong Police Force (HKPF)
Police officers may exercise their power of arrest and seizure should they encounter suspected copies of infringing goods in the performance of their duties. The cases will then be passed to C&ED for follow-up investigation and prosecution action.
Further information on HKPF and its contact details can be found on HKPF website (http://www.info.gov.hk/police/index.htm)
- Department of Justice (DOJ)
The prosecution of the more serious criminal cases will be undertaken by the DOJ in place of C&ED.
Further information on DOJ and its contact details can be found on DOJ's website (http://www.doj.gov.hk/)
Criminal cases of intellectual property related offences are adjudicated in the courts. There are a number of courts in Hong Kong that deal with criminal cases, such as the Magistrates’ Courts, the Juvenile Court, the District Court and the High Court. Which court will hear a particular case will depend on the penalties and fines that may be imposed upon conviction of the offences, the age of the offenders, etc.
An individual may sue another for infringement of any intellectual property rights by commencing a civil action in the court. There are a number of courts in Hong Kong that deal with civil actions on intellectual property, such as the Small Claims Tribunal, the District Court and the High Court. In which court should a civil action be brought depends on the type of the relief sought, the amount of money claimed, etc.
Further information on the courts and the contact details of the Judiciary in Hong Kong can be found on the website of the Judiciary (http://www.judiciary.gov.hk/en/index/index.htm)
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In appropriate cases, disputes concerning intellectual property rights may be resolved by arbitration. The Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre provides an independent forum for dispute resolution by arbitration in Hong Kong. You may click on the above link for further information on the Centre.
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