Go to main content
LCQ2: Developing into regional intellectual property trading centre
     Following is a question by Dr the Hon Kennedy Wong and a reply by the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Algernon Yau, in the Legislative Council today (March 29):
     In the 14th Five-Year Plan promulgated in 2021, the State has expressed clear support for Hong Kong to develop into a regional intellectual property (IP) trading centre. There are views that the Government's introduction of the Original Grant Patent (OGP) system, coupled with relevant work on, among others, the legal and IP protection systems, will help strengthen Hong Kong's position as a regional IP trading centre. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(1) of the progress of the preparatory work for implementing the Protocol Relating to the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks (Madrid Protocol), and when it is expected to be fully implemented at the earliest; given that the Madrid Protocol, as an international agreement, is not applicable to mutual designations between the Mainland and Hong Kong, and that the Government has indicated that it will engage in follow-up discussions with the relevant Mainland authorities on the feasible arrangements to facilitate reciprocal trade mark applications between Hong Kong and the Mainland, of the progress of relevant discussions;
(2) given that the China National Intellectual Property Administration provides personnel training for the Patents Registry under the Intellectual Property Department, of the total number of personnel having received the training so far; whether the Government has, in light of the current situation, assessed if it can enhance the requisite capability of patent examiners under the OGP system as scheduled, and developed a talent pool, so as to achieve the goal of acquiring institutional autonomy in conducting substantive patent examination by 2030; and
(3) following the full resumption of normal travel between Hong Kong and the rest of the world, whether the Government will, apart from hosting the Business of Intellectual Property Asia Forum, organise more and different large-scale activities in the fields of film, culture, technology and creative design, so as to create immense IP trading opportunities; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?
     The National 14th Five-Year Plan supports Hong Kong to develop into a regional intellectual property (IP) trading centre. The Chief Executive has announced in the 2022 Policy Address that the Government will implement a series of measures to further develop Hong Kong into a regional IP trading centre from three aspects in the short, medium and long term, namely strengthening protection of IP rights, building capacity and promoting widely.
     Having consulted the Culture, Sports and Tourism Bureau and the Innovation, Technology and Industry Bureau, my reply to the three parts of the question raised by Dr the Hon Kennedy Wong is as follows:
(1) The Legislative Council (LegCo) enacted the Trade Marks (Amendment) Ordinance 2020 in June 2020. To enable the early implementation of the international trade mark registration system under the Madrid Protocol in Hong Kong, the Government is pressing ahead with the necessary preparatory work, including preparing the related subsidiary legislation, finalising the workflow for processing trade mark registration applications filed under the international registration system, preparing for the roll-out of the required information technology system and arranging manpower training. We aim to complete the relevant preparatory work within this year. In particular, we aim to table the related subsidiary legislation in the LegCo in the first half of this year for negative vetting. Upon completion of all the necessary preparatory work, we will seek formal agreement from the Central People's Government to apply the Madrid Protocol to Hong Kong.
     As the Madrid Protocol is an international agreement, it is not applicable to trade mark applications between Hong Kong and the Mainland. The Intellectual Property Department (IPD) has all along been exploring with the relevant Mainland IP authorities the feasibility of implementing cross-boundary IP protection facilitation measures. In this connection, with the support of the IPD, the Guangdong Administration for Market Regulation (Guangdong Intellectual Property Administration) has progressively set up the "Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Intellectual Property Enquiry Points" in 13 cities in the Guangdong Province since October 2021 to facilitate Mainland residents and enterprises to enquire about matters relating to applications for IP registration in Hong Kong. With the assistance of the Mainland authorities, the IPD also launched a reciprocal enquiry service in February this year, through which Hong Kong residents and enterprises can enquire about matters relating to applications for trade mark registration in the Mainland via email. The IPD and the Mainland authorities will continue to explore the feasibility of enhancing and expanding these services. Upon implementation of the Madrid Protocol, the IPD will also further study and explore with the Mainland authorities the possibility of providing facilitation measures for filing cross-boundary applications for trade mark registration.
(2) As set out in the 2022 Policy Address, the IPD will progressively increase the number of its patent examiners to about 100, with a view to acquiring institutional autonomy in conducting substantive patent examination by 2030. Additional funding totalling about $10 million will be allocated to the IPD in the two years in 2023-24 and 2024-25 for employing and nurturing more patent examiners to develop a talent pool progressively. Together with the $74 million time-limited recurrent expenditures allocated to the IPD last year, an additional funding totalling about $84 million has been allocated to the IPD to enhance its capacity for substantive examination of original grant patent applications. The medium-term goal is to expand the patent examination team to about 40 examiners in 2025.  
     As for training, newly recruited patent examiners will first receive the IPD's internal basic training and a four-month training programme provided by the China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) for patent examiners. On-the-job training and work guidance to the patent examiners will also be provided by their team heads or supervisors and in-house lawyers so as to enhance their examination skills and legal knowledge. As at end-February 2023, nine patent examiners completed the patent examiners training offered by the CNIPA.
(3) As set out in the 2022 Policy Address, the Government will explore measures to support the industries in widening the scope of copyright trading activities so as to foster the commercialisation and development of arts, cultural and creative industries. In addition to the Business of IP Asia Forum, a flagship event dedicated to the international IP industry held every year, other activities include Art Basel Hong Kong and Art Central which are significant platforms showcasing artworks from Hong Kong, Asia and around the world; the Business of Design Week with 20 years of history, which is committed to celebrating design excellence, knowledge sharing and business co-operation; and the Hong Kong International Film and TV Market (FILMART) completed in mid-March, which is Asia's largest film and entertainment trade expo. In April this year, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) will organise the 20th Hong Kong Licensing Show and the inaugural InnoEX. The Government also plans to organise the first-ever Hong Kong Performing Arts Market in 2024. In addition, the Government will, through the CreateSmart Initiative, subsidise the HKTDC to enhance its Asia IP Exchange portal and continue to provide funding to the arts, cultural and creative industries to organise and participate in mega events, with the view to promoting the trading of local art, cultural and creative copyrights, and making such trading activities more convenient.
     The Government will continue to strengthen the IP protection regime, capitalise the advantages of the "one country, two systems" and seize the opportunities brought by the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area development. In addition to continuing our co-operation with the HKTDC and local stakeholders to organise different events, we will also work closely with the IP authorities of the Mainland and Macao to promote cross-boundary IP trading and exchange of services so as to further consolidate Hong Kong's position as a regional IP trading centre.
Ends/Wednesday, March 29, 2023
Issued at HKT 12:48
Today's Press Releases