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Patent Application in Hong Kong
Information provider:zanya consultants    Updated:2016/10/24    Website:www.companyformation86.com

Introduction of Hong Kong Patent


(1)  Hong Kong has 2 types of patents (1) standard patent, or (2) short-term patent. Both are used for protecting new invention, utilities, functional features, structures, processes, improvements, etc. The longest period of protection for standard patent is 20 years (subject to annual renewal, 1st to 3rd year excepting). The maximum term of protection for short-term patent is 8 years (subject to renewal for the 2nd four years before the expiry of the 1st four years).


(2)  Patents do not protect the appearance of products, shape of design, pattern, decoration or visual aesthetics. To protect the exterior design features, application for registered design and the use of copyright will be needed.


(3)  In order to obtain a valid patent, the invention must be novel, possess inventive step and capable of mass productive application. New invention must be kept confidential and should only be disclosed to others (eg. prototype manufacturer) under a contract containing a confidentiality clause. If a new invention prior to its filing date or priority date claimed in its Hong Kong application is already part of existing technology or has been exposed, exhibited, published or other disclosed to the public, then the invention may have lost its novelty. If a new invention is neither obvious to or foreseeable by a person skilled in the related technology after looking at the current state of the arts in that field, then that new invention can be seen as possessing inventive step.


(4)  Hong Kong examiners will only perform a formality examination, and he or she usually will not make any search for prior patents or prior arts. Hence, the grant and issuance of patent certificate is not in anyway a confirmation on the question of novelty or inventive step, especially in relation to short-term patent.


(5)  Upon filing, the invented product can start to be marketed. However, after such exposure to the public or after the publication of the patent application anywhere, most further filing in additional foreign countries must be made within 12 months of filing date of the first ever application with a claim for Paris Convention or WTO priority. The alternative is to organize the applications to be filed on the same date. Moreover, if the applicant wishes to bring forth the date of evaluating the novelty to the earliest filing date, then Convention priority should also be claimed.


Standard patents


Procedure for applying for a standard patent based on a patent application filed with EPO Standard patents are issued following a two-stage formal registration procedure.

The first stage for the grant of a Hong Kong SAR standard patent is based on the corresponding European patent application (in respect of an application designating the UK) published by the EPO.

A PCT application designating the EPO may serve as the basis for the first stage of the registration procedure in Hong Kong SAR.

The second stage for the grant of a Hong Kong SAR standard patent requires separate registration of the corresponding European patent after it has been granted by the EPO. It should be noted that only European patents granted for the UK are eligible for the grant of a standard patent in the Hong Kong SAR.


Short-term patents


Short-term patents can inter alia be based on a search report from the EPO or on an international search report from the EPO when acting as International Searching Authority. In general, there is no time limit for filing a short-term patent application. However, if the applicant wishes to claim priority from an application filed in a Paris Convention country or World Trade Organization member country, territory, or area, it should file the short-term patent application in the Hong Kong SAR within 12 months after the date of filing of the first application (Sections 110 and 111 Patents Ordinance and Section 69 Patents (General) Rules).

Applications for a short-term patent must be made on Patents Form P6 direct to the Registrar and must contain a search report in relation to the invention. A certified translation of the search report must be filed if the search report is not drawn up in English or Chinese (Sections 104 and 113(3) Patents Ordinance and Section 56(1) Patents (General) Rules). The application to which the search report relates does not have to be filed with the Hong Kong SAR Patents Registry.

The title of the invention and the abstract must be available in both English and Chinese (Section 113 Patents Ordinance, Section 56(2) Patents (General) Rules).

On request, grant of a short-term patent can be deferred for a maximum of twelve months after the filing date of the short-term patent application (Section 119 Patents Ordinance). This will make it possible to have more time to obtain the required search report.


If the application meets all requirements and does not include any deficiency, the short-term patent is normally granted within three months, and its details published.

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