Intellectual Property
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III. Patents

A patent is a type of property right which gives the patentee (i.e. the patent owner) a monopoly to make, sell, use, import, or otherwise exploit his patented invention for a fixed period of time. Unlike a copyright, a patent does not arise automatically but has to be applied for. In addition, patent rights are territorial. To enjoy patent protection for an invention in Hong Kong , one must apply for and obtain a patent for the invention in Hong Kong . This is so even if a patent has been obtained for an invention in other countries.

The statute governing patent protection in Hong Kong is the Patents Ordinance (Cap. 514 of the Laws of Hong Kong), which came into force on 27 June 1997 . There are two types of patent that can be granted under the Ordinance:

  1. a "standard patent", which provides protection for a maximum term of 20 years; and
  2. a "short-term patent", which provides protection for a maximum term of 8 years.

  1. What type of things (inventions) can be protected by a patent?
  2. What should I note before making an application for a patent? What is the registration procedure?
  3. Who actually owns the patent rights for a product or process? What are the possible penalties for infringers (persons who have infringed the patent right of others)?