Government to introduce Patents (Amendment) Bill 2015

     The Government will introduce the Patents (Amendment) Bill 2015 into the Legislative Council (LegCo) on November 11 to provide for the legal framework for reforming the patent system in Hong Kong.

     "A robust intellectual property (IP) regime is the cornerstone for promoting innovation and growth in a knowledge-based economy. Reforming the local patent system bears strategic significance in facilitating the development of Hong Kong into a regional innovation and technology hub, as well as an IP trading hub," a Government spokesperson said today (October 28).

     Key proposals under the Bill include:

(a) Introducing an "original grant" patent (OGP) system for standard patents, whilst retaining the current "re-registration" system. The main difference between the new and the existing systems is that the OGP system would enable applicants to file applications for standard patents directly in Hong Kong without first obtaining a patent in a designated patent office outside Hong Kong;

(b) Refining the short-term patent system, including introducing new provisions to lay down the procedural framework for substantive examination of short-term patents, setting out the prerequisites to the commencement of enforcement proceedings for short-term patents, refining the existing provisions on groundless threats of infringement proceedings, and increasing the maximum number of independent claims a short-term patent application may contain; and

(c) Implementing an interim regulatory measure for local patent practitioners pending the establishment of a full-fledged regulatory regime. The Bill would make it an offence to use certain specific titles which may likely be conferred on patent practitioners qualified under the future full-fledged regulatory regime, as well as other titles that would likely give the impression that a person holds a qualification endorsed by the Government or recognised by law for providing patent agency services in Hong Kong. The Bill would however provide for appropriate exemptions to cater for use of certain legitimate and reasonable professional titles in Hong Kong.

     To ensure that the local patent system would continue to meet present-day circumstances and that its further evolution would facilitate the development of Hong Kong into a regional innovation and technology hub, the Government set up an Advisory Committee on Review of the Patent System in Hong Kong and launched a public consultation exercise in October 2011.

     Having carefully examined public views received and all relevant circumstances, the Advisory Committee had recommended introducing a new patent system in Hong Kong, which the Government accepted in February 2013. The Government has since been engaging in various implementation tasks.

     The spokesperson said, "The Bill is a major milestone for our work. In formulating the legislative proposals, we have taken into account the patent systems, practices and procedures generally established in the international community, as well as several major regional and international patent treaties. We have also benefited from the valuable views of the Advisory Committee and major local professional bodies."

     Subject to the progress of the legislative exercise and other preparatory tasks, the Government plans to implement the new patent system in 2017 at the earliest.

     The Patents (Amendment) Bill 2015 will be published in the Gazette on October 30 and introduced into LegCo for First and Second Readings on November 11.

Ends/Wednesday, October 28, 2015
Issued at HKT 16:30