Patent Rights in Hong Kong

Patent Rights in Hong Kong

Patent rights play a crucial role in protecting innovation and encouraging technological advancement. In Hong Kong, patent protection is governed by its own set of laws and regulations – the Patents Ordinance (Cap. 514).

What is a Patent?


A patent is an exclusive intellectual property right granted to inventors for their novel and non-obvious inventions. It allows the patent holder to prevent others from making, using, selling, or importing the patented invention without their permission. In return, the inventor discloses the details of the invention to the public, contributing to the overall progress of technology.


Types of Patents


Hong Kong recognizes two main types of patents:


  1. Standard Patents: These patents protect inventions that are new, inventive, and capable of industrial application. They cover products, processes, methods, or improvements thereof. Standard patents are granted for a period of 20 years from the filing date.


  1. Short-Term Patents: These patents provide protection for inventions that are new and industrially applicable but may not require the same level of inventiveness as standard patents. Short-term patents are granted for a period of 8 years from the filing date.

For an invention to qualify for patent protection, it must adhere to the following criteria:

  • Be novel, meaning that before the patent application date, the invention has not been revealed or published (stipulated in section 9B of the Patents Ordinance).
  • Be capable of being utilized in any industry, encompassing agriculture as well (outlined in section 9D of the Patents Ordinance).
  • Display an inventive step, implying that it is not an evident advancement for a person skilled in the relevant field, considering the existing body of knowledge (as stated in section 9C of the Patents Ordinance).


Registration Process

The process of obtaining a patent in Hong Kong involves several steps:

  • Filing an Application: The inventor or applicant must file a patent application with the Hong Kong Intellectual Property Department (IPD). The application should include a detailed description of the invention, claims defining the scope of protection, and any necessary drawings or diagrams.
  • Examination: The IPD will conduct a substantive examination of the application to determine if the invention meets the criteria for patentability. This examination assesses novelty, inventiveness, and industrial applicability.
  • Publication: If the patent application meets the requirements, it will be published in the Hong Kong Intellectual Property Journal. This publication allows interested parties to review the invention and potentially file objections.
  • Opposition: During the publication period, any person may file an opposition to the grant of the patent. This process allows for the consideration of objections based on prior art or other grounds.
  • Grant: If no opposition is filed or if the opposition is unsuccessful, the IPD will grant the patent. The patent holder will then have exclusive rights over the invention as defined in the claims.


Benefits of Patent Rights


Obtaining a patent in Hong Kong offers several benefits:

  • Exclusive Rights: Patent holders have the exclusive right to use and license their invention, providing a competitive advantage in the market.
  • Incentive for Innovation: Patents encourage inventors to invest time and resources into research and development by granting them a period of exclusivity. 
  • Commercialization Opportunities: Patents can be monetized through licensing or sale, generating revenue for inventors and businesses.




While patent rights offer significant advantages, there are important considerations:

  • Cost and Time: The patent application process can be time-consuming and expensive, including fees for filing, examination, and maintenance.
  • Patentability Criteria: Inventions must meet stringent criteria of novelty, inventiveness, and industrial applicability to qualify for patent protection.
  • Territorial Protection: Patents are territorial, meaning that protection is limited to the jurisdiction where the patent is granted. Inventors seeking global protection may need to file applications in multiple countries.




Patent rights in Hong Kong provide inventors with the opportunity to protect their innovative creations and enjoy the benefits of exclusivity.

Whether you're an individual inventor, a start-up, or an established company, consulting with our experts and professionals can help navigate the complexities of patent law and ensure the best possible outcome for your inventions.

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