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Written By: Lawrence A. Maxham 

Why, you might ask, would I spend money to obtain a patent in Hong-Kong? 

There are a number of reasons why it could make business sense to get a Hong Kong patent if you already are planning to file a patent application in China or the UK. Among them are:

  1.  Hong Kong is one of the world’s largest trading hubs.
  2.  Hong Kong is one of the largest ports in the world.
  3.  Professional infringers from mainland China are increasingly incorporating their businesses in Hong Kong.
  4.  Getting a patent in Hong Kong is relatively inexpensive.

In relation to the ease of obtaining a patent in Hong Kong, there is a re-registration (parallel) system, which requires two steps.  After filing the basic patent application in the UK or in China (senior country), a request to record the application in Hong Kong within 6 months after the patent application is published in the senior parallel country is required. Then a request for registration is filed within six months after the patent is granted in the senior country.

There is no examination or prosecution in Hong Kong in this parallel system.

Additionally, there is the other, direct, system, where the application is submitted to the new Hong Kong Patents Registry.  Such an application is subject to examination as with any other patent application filing. This, of course, is more costly than is the re-registration system and, because it is very new, the extent of the efforts and total costs to obtain an “original grant patent” (OGP) is unknown.

As a trading hub and very large port, a massive amount of international business activity takes place in Hong Kong. A large number of international trade shows are also regularly held there, thus making it a logistical hub for  international trading.

By owning a patent in Hong Kong, it can be enforced against trade show exhibitors who show their wares at such trade shows.  Also, large amounts of goods made in China are exported through Hong Kong. A patent can be enforced against infringing goods as they are passing through Hong Kong on their way to or from other parts of the world. 

Thus, any company that is conducting business in, or in relation to, China, should seriously consider the relatively inexpensive Hong Kong re-registration patent route.

If you have questions about foreign filing, or IP in general, please call us at 760-975-3843 or e-mail us today and we’ll be happy to set up a consultation with you to discuss your next steps. We are available for virtual and in-person meetings.


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