The trade mark law of Hong Kong. Despite being a part of People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong apply an entirely separate trademark system from China’s. In particular, trademark registration in Hong Kong shall comply with the Trade Marks Ordinance Cap. 559, which came into force on 4 April 2003 in Hong Kong and repealed the Trade Mark Ordinance Cap 43. Hereinafter, we shall give you basic knowledge about trademark in Hong Kong.

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What is a trademark in Hong Kong?

A trademark is a sign that distinguishes the goods and services of one trader from those of others. Registering a trademark gives you the exclusive right to use it in relation to the specific goods and services for which it is registered.

Though unregistered trademarks can be legally protected (generally by proving that in passing off their own services as yours, another party has damaged your business and reputation), registering your trademark is a simple and important part of protecting your business.

A trademark is normally a word, phrase or graphic image.  The name of a business is not the same thing as a trademark.  A mark cannot be registered if it is identical or similar to an existing registered mark or one which is the subject of a prior application in relation to the same or similar goods or services.

A trademark which is descriptive of the goods or services (eg ‘Clean’ washing powder) or one which consists of a general term used in the trade is normally not acceptable unless it is well established and has been used for a few years prior to application.

Why should you register a trade mark in Hong Kong?

A trademark can be the most important asset of a company because it represents the goodwill and reputation of your company. It is your responsibility to protect a trademark and prevent it from being used by other people and take advantage of the goodwill you have built all these years and earn profit. Although there is protection of trademarks by passing off alone, it is only the last resort because using this protection requires your company to bring a multitude of proofs (such as long-term advertisements) used to establish goodwill. Registration of your trademark ensures that you really have the right to take legal action and claim for damages when other businesses or companies use your trademark in Hong Kong without your consent. Also, by registering your trademark, you can then have the exclusive right to use the trademark in relation of the goods and services for which the trademark is registered.

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