The Hong Kong Intellectual Property Department (HKIPD) launches a new patent system on December 19, 2019. The system becomes effective through the Patents (Amendment) Ordinance 2016 and the Patents (General) (Amendment) Rules 2019, which will also come into force on the same date.
The new system modernises and reforms Hong Kong’s patent regime to support the innovation sector. Under the new system, a direct patent filing route for Hong Kong standard patent protection is introduced, the short-term patent system is refined and measures are introduced to regulate Hong Kong’s patent practice.
An Original Grant Patent (OGP) system will be introduced providing applicants with an alternative route when seeking standard patent protection in Hong Kong. Patent applicants have the option of filing standard patent applications directly in Hong Kong. This removes the prior requirement of filing corresponding applications with a designated patent office outside Hong Kong (also known as the re-registration system).
The current system will continue to exist where Hong Kong applicants may first file a patent application with one of three designated patent offices: China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA), United Kingdom Patent Office (UKPO) or the European Patent Office (EPO).
The new patent system also refines the existing short-term patent (STP) system to enhance its integrity while upkeeping the overall cost-effectiveness of seeking STP protection in Hong Kong.
The use of certain misleading or confusing titles/descriptions relating to patent practices in Hong Kong will also be prohibited.
The new system is an important move in the local patent protection regime to realise Hong Kong as a regional innovation and IP trading hub. The new OGP system provides an alternative route when obtaining standard patents. The refined STP system enhances integrity while maintaining cost-effectiveness. Measures for titles or descriptions relating to patent agency services provides regulation over local patent practitioners.
The commencement of the Patent (Amendments) Ordinance and Patents (General) (Amendment) will see the introduction of new and revised official fees.