Following the issuance of a Consultation Paper in October 2011 by the Government of Hong Kong, an Advisory Committee was formed to review submissions received from the public and to advise the Hong Kong Government on the evolution of the Hong Kong Patent System.
The Report of the Advisory Committee (published on 7 February 2013) noted the importance of the Hong Kong patent system to facilitating the development of Hong Kong into a “regional innovation and technology hub” and set out its findings on three main aspects:
Introducing an “original grant” patent system with substantive patent examination of Standard Patents,
Retaining the current Short-Term Patents, and
Developing a Regulatory Regime for Patent Agency Services in Hong Kong.
1. Standard Patents (20 years) Re-Registration and Substantive Examination Options
The Advisory Committee noted the prevailing views tendered in the public submissions and recommended retaining the current “re-registration” system.
The Advisory Committee also recommended that an “original grant” patent (OGP) system with substantive examination be introduced in parallel to the re-registration system. The proposed “OGP” system would involve independent substantive examination being conducted, initially outsourced to other patent offices, pending the development of local examining capacity in Hong Kong.
A Government spokesman said, “The current re-registration system has been operating effectively. Quality of patents granted is high. The majority of views from public consultation also supported its retention. The Advisory Committee has carefully examined the views of the public and Hong Kong’s vision for innovation, and considers an OGP system to be of long-term strategic significance.”
2. Hong Kong Short-Term Patent (8 years)
The Committee recommended that the Hong Kong Short-Term Patent be retained substantially in its current form, with suitable refinements. As a pre-requisite to enforcement of a Hong Kong Short-Term Patent, it was proposed that substantive examination or validation of the Short-Term Patent be required before commencement of legal proceedings.
3. Regulatory Regime for Patent Agency Services
The Advisory Committee recommended that steps be taken toward the implementation of a fully-fledged regulatory regime on patent agency services in the long term. It was recommended that interim measures be developed having regard to existing patent agency services being provided, as well as the building of a local patent agency profession through regulating use of professional titles such as “patent agent” and “patent attorney”.
“The Government supports the Advisory Committee's strategic recommendations on the further development of our patent system. In the next phase, we would continue discussions with the Advisory Committee to work out the details of the implementation plan.” the Government spokesman said.
The Advisory Committee will explore detailed implementation regarding the recommendations in the next phase of the review process.
The full Report of the Advisory Committee is available at the website of the Intellectual Property Department.
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