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SCED's speech at Intellectual Property Department Open Day (English only)

    Following is a speech by the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Frederick Ma, at Intellectual Property Department Open Day today (March 4):

Stephen (Selby), distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

    It gives me great pleasure to join you at the Open Day of the Intellectual Property Department (IPD).  Let me begin by thanking you all for the strong support that you have given to the protection of intellectual property rights in Hong Kong.

    Hong Kong's advancement as a service-oriented and knowledge-based economy hinges on the creativity and innovation of our people.  Their talents are a driving force for sustaining the economic well-being of Hong Kong. 

    To maintain our competitiveness in the globalised environment, we are working not only to protect our intellectual capital, but also to manage it.  Promoting the concept of Intellectual Capital Management (ICM) is the theme of IPD's Open Day this year.  Over the years, IPD has put increasing efforts on promoting wider understanding in the business community about the concept of ICM, and the potential benefits it offers.  I look forward to seeing IPD's endeavours in this area bearing fruit.

    Promoting awareness of intellectual property rights is an important part of the department's mission. Territory-wide programmes such as the "No Fakes" and "I Pledge" campaigns have helped reinforce respect in the community for intellectual property rights.  The department's education projects for school children are very well received.  IPD's collaboration with copyright owners further ensures that the promotional efforts are targeted and focused. 

    Technology evolves rapidly nowadays.  As part of the department's on-going endeavours to promote awareness, and riding on recent intense public discussions about the proper use of the internet to share and disseminate information, the department will step up its publicity and education work. Tips on do's and don'ts would be publicised and other programmes would be implemented to empower users, especially our youngsters, to respect each others' right when making use of the internet.  We will soon release our preliminary proposals on how copyright protection in the digital environment could be strengthened.  I invite all of you to let us have your comments and suggestions so that we can build consensus together and formulate legislative proposals in early 2009.

    In promoting intellectual property rights, IPD also makes efforts to reach out to our friends on the Mainland and overseas.  A case in point was the "Hong Kong Creativity - Intellectual Property in Hong Kong, China" exhibition held in Geneva last year.  The exhibition was hosted by the Government of the People's Republic of China and World Intellectual Property Organisation, and co-organised by IPD to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Hong Kong's reunification with the Mainland.  The event underscored Hong Kong's achievements in guarding intellectual property and helped project positive images about our creative industry on the international stage.

    I also commend IPD's efforts in promoting its e-services, in line with the government's Digital 21 Strategy.  These services are increasingly well supported by the IP community.  The number of e-applications filed since December, 2003, now exceeds 150,000.  In 2007, 58% of registered trademark applications were filed online.  As part of the fine tradition associated with IPD's Open Day, the top e-filers will be given recognition today.  May I take this opportunity to thank them for their support.

    Ladies and gentlemen, we have a new challenge this year. As Beijing moves forward with its preparations for the 2008 Olympic Games, Hong Kong is also gearing itself up for its role as the venue for the Olympic and Paralympic Equestrian events.  As a proud co-host city for the Games, we have a duty to help ensure that Beijing meets its obligations of protecting the Intellectual Property of the Olympic movement.  We are committed to achieving this goal.  The concept of fair play is crucial not just for the credibility of sports, but for commerce as well.

    I hope you all enjoy the evening.  Thank you very much.

Ends/Tuesday, March 4, 2008
Issued at HKT 18:45


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