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SCED's speech at Top e-Filers' Award Presentation Ceremony (English only)

     Following is a speech by the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mrs Rita Lau, at the Top e-Filers' Award Presentation  Ceremony of the Intellectual Property Department this (March 2) evening:

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

     Good evening.  It gives me great pleasure to officiate at the Top e-Filers' Award Presentation Ceremony of the Intellectual Property Department today.  

     In recent years, there is growing recognition, in the business community, of the value of intellectual property rights as assets that help sustain success and development in business.  The benefits offered by properly managed intellectual property rights have become all the more evident in the current knowledge-based economy.   

     To facilitate the protection of various IP rights, IPD will continue to provide efficient e-services for registration of trademarks, patents and designs.  The rights-owners and IP practitioners have put IPD's e-services to very good use and the number of e-applications filed since December 2003 now exceeds 210,000.  In 2008, nearly 60% of the trademark applications we received were filed online.  

     Apart from promoting migration to e-services as a means for transacting IP business, IPD has also been proactively reaching out to the business community to promote the concept of intellectual capital management (ICM) in recent years.  ICM helps companies better utilise their intangible assets including IP rights and organisational creativity and turn such assets into business development opportunities.  To help local companies with limited resources, IPD is about to start a pilot ICM Programme targeting small and medium enterprises.  Through this project, IPD will provide free consultancy services to SMEs to help them build up, manage and harness their intellectual capital.  In the process, we would also like to promote better appreciation of the importance of a culture of respect in the business community for IP rights.  

     IPD recently published the findings of a survey tracking changes in public awareness of IPRs over time.  We are encouraged to note that more than 96% of the respondents considered it necessary to protect IP rights in Hong Kong, relative to 92% in 2003.  Looking ahead, we need to sustain our efforts in order to transform this change in mindset into values that could stand the test of time.  IPD is looking for ideas to better reinforce the impact of its public education programmes, particularly amongst the younger generation.  In this regard, I invite you to share your ideas with Stephen.

     Separately, IPD and many of you are making efforts to bring major IP events to Hong Kong.  These include an international convention of the Asian Patent Attorneys Association, and a regional symposium of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) in 2009.  I earnestly invite you all to join us in these events to share, with our friends from other parts of the world, experience and best practices in protecting IP rights.  

     Ladies and gentlemen, I have stressed on a number of occasions the importance of public-private partnership in protecting IP rights.  Your insights, support and contributions are pivotal to perfecting the IP protection regime in Hong Kong.  Currently we are embarking on a review on how best to strengthen copyright protection in the digital environment.  I am glad that some of you are actively participating in the exercise and am confident that the synergy generated by this collaborative relationship will continue to serve us well in fighting infringements and protecting IP rights in Hong Kong.

     Once again, I would like to thank every one of you for your past contributions to the protection of IP rights in Hong Kong.  We all look forward to seeing your work reaching new heights.  I would also like to extend my warmest congratulations to all the award winners for the sterling support that they have rendered us in encouraging wider use of e-services in managing intellectual capital.

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

Ends/Monday, March 2, 2009
Issued at HKT 19:00


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