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Speech by CE at 4th Business of Intellectual Property Asia Forum (English only) (with photo/ video)

     Following is the speech by the Chief Executive, Mr C Y Leung, at the 4th Business of Intellectual Property Asia Forum this morning (December 4):

Margaret, Ms Wang, Mr Zhao, Mr Taubman, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

     A few minutes ago, we just opened next door this year's Business of Design Week. As you well know, intellectual property (IP) is about design as well. The point I would like to make at the outset is that this year we have attracted more than 2,000 registered attendees, 45 per cent of the 2,000 are from outside of Hong Kong, made up of 30 per cent from the Mainland of China, and 15 (per cent) from outside of the country, and that illustrates the position that Hong Kong holds.

     It's a great pleasure to be here with you again. Yes, this is the second year that the Hong Kong SAR Government has joined the Hong Kong TDC (Trade Development Council) and the Hong Kong Design Centre as an organiser of the Business of Intellectual Property Asia Forum.

     We are doing so because we are passionate about intellectual property, about the critical role IP plays in enabling international trade, investment and innovation. Indeed, these largely define today's Hong Kong. Reimagined and reinforced by IP, they will surely shape tomorrow's Hong Kong.

     The theme of this year's Forum - "IP: Powering Business Expansion" - gets to the heart of IP's soaring value to the global economy. Today, creations of the mind, in the form of patents, copyright, trademarks, design, trade secrets and much more, inspire business, catalyse competition and drive economic expansion, promoting an environment in which creativity and innovation can thrive.

     Of course, as with any venture bridging business and creativity, a good many grey areas are still being worked out. As you know, trademarks have come a long way beyond the words or logo on a product package. Today, package and product shape, colour, smell and other "non-traditional" trademarks are often more creatively realised than the products themselves.

     The implications of IP for Asia are particularly enticing, given the continuing economic shift from West to East. The Mainland of China is a case in point. With its economy now among the world's largest, its place as a major user, purchaser, generator and seller of IP will only continue to grow. Just last year, of some 37,000 trademark applications received by the Government's Intellectual Property Department from around the world, more than 20 per cent originated in the Mainland.

     Hong Kong is well-positioned to play a crucial role in this, as in previous transformations. Let's just say that we have a knack for riding global economic tides. Hong Kong today is flourishing as a trading hub and "super-connector" between the Mainland and the rest of the world. In IP, we offer the Mainland of China and overseas players an expanding range of intermediary services, from IP agencies and management to consulting, legal and alternative-dispute resolution services, due diligence, and more.

     And to strengthen our IP CV, we established a Working Group on IP Trading last year. The Group has come up with a plan that covers four strategic areas: enhancing our IP protection regime; supporting IP creation and exploitation; fostering IP intermediary services and manpower; and pursuing promotion, education and collaboration.

     I'm pleased to note that we're already responding to the recommendations. For example:

i. The HKTDC's Asia IP Exchange now provides more than 25,000 IP listings and features some 28 strategic partners;

ii. The findings of a baseline survey on IP activities in Hong Kong will be available early next year;

iii. IP valuation reporting and due diligence guidelines for Hong Kong are also being developed; and

iv. We are pushing a bill through the legislature to update our copyright regime. In addition, we're preparing a bill to introduce the "original grant" patent system to Hong Kong. In trademarks, we're consulting the public on the merits of introducing the Madrid Protocol.

     That aside, we will continue to strengthen our support for IP trading in Hong Kong. In particular, we are helping small and medium-sized enterprises capitalise on the promise of IP.

     Ladies and gentlemen, we are firmly committed to making Hong Kong the IP business and trading hub of Asia. This gathering, and your presence here today and tomorrow in Hong Kong, is a clear reflection of that determination.

     I wish you all a productive Forum, and a rewarding year ahead, whatever your intellectual property goals may be.

     Thank you.

Ends/Thursday, December 4, 2014
Issued at HKT 12:36


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