Following is the speech (English only) by the Financial Secretary, Mr Henry Tang, at the Open Day of the Intellectual Property Department (IPD) at Wu Chung House, Wan Chai, this evening (February 28):
Mr [Stephen] Selby, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It's my great pleasure to join you today at the Open Day of the Intellectual Property Department.
The future of Hong Kong's economy hinges on our creativity and innovative capacity. For creative talents to blossom and flourish, we need to provide the best protection of intellectual property rights on par with international standards. In this respect, I must thank IPD for its exemplary work. Not only has IPD provided us with high quality and responsive registration services for patent, trademark and design; it has also done a great job in promoting the awareness of and respect for intellectual property rights among our fellow citizens.
With the successful implementation of CEPA, enterprises in Hong Kong and the Mainland are well positioned to join up and compete in the global market, where protection of intellectual property rights is the rule of the game.
Under CEPA, patent and trademark agency services have been opened up to Hong Kong practitioners. We have nearly 300 legal firms in Hong Kong providing intellectual property services. As at January 2005, six Hong Kong Service Supplier Certificates were granted to legal firms in Hong Kong to establish representative offices in the Mainland. Given our rich experience and extensive global network, we are well placed to cater for the increasing demand of professional IP-related services in the Mainland, and to become a springboard for Mainland brands to enter the global market.
Another area of excellence in IPD is its embracement of new technology. As early as 2001, IPD has started to outsource its IT and non-core office operations. The computer systems for registration of trademarks, patents and designs are now fully automated; and web-based search, filing, publication and payment are now available around the clock. I am particularly pleased to note that the improved IT support has enabled the department to handle an increase number of applications and registrations with fewer people and a smaller budget.
Today, we are giving our recognition to the first generation of IPD E-filers, who have pioneered in the testing, prototyping, development and use of the e-filing system for trademarks, patents and designs. This is another success story of public-private partnership.
Thank you very much.
Ends/Monday, February 28, 2005