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Registering a Trademark in Hong Kong

Registering a trademark is not mandatory in Hong Kong but it’s highly recommended. It grants presumption of ownership and prevents others from registering identical marks on specified goods.

Once the application formalities are met and there are no objections or oppositions, the hong kong trademark  will be published in the Hong Kong Intellectual Property Journal. Afterwards, it will be registered and its rights will date back to the filing date.

The word mark you use for your products or services in Hong Kong must be distinctive, which means it must distinguish your product from other competing goods and service marks. You must register your trademark before using it in Hong Kong to obtain legal protection against passing off actions by other parties.

A registered trade mark carries the presumption of ownership and is protected under the Trade Marks Ordinance. Although Hong Kong shares a border with China and is part of the People’s Republic of China under the “one country, two systems” principle, it maintains separate laws for its intellectual property protection, including registration of trademarks, managed by the Intellectual Property Department (Hong Kong).

In order to successfully obtain a hong kong trademark you must submit an application and comply with the rules and requirements set out in the Trade Marks Ordinance Chapter 559. The application will be examined for distinctness and published in the Hong Kong Intellectual Property Journal, where you can file opposition notices within three months.

Trademarks can consist of words (including personal names), indications, designs, letters, numerals, figurative elements, colours, sounds and the shape of goods. For the purposes of registration in Hong Kong, trademarks are classified according to the Nice Agreement concerning the International Classification of Goods and Services into 45 classes (34 for goods and 11 for services).

In order to make sure that a mark is registrable, the Trademarks Registry will carefully evaluate the application based on the requirements stipulated in the Trade Marks Ordinance and the Trade Marks Rules. If the mark is deemed to meet the criteria, it will be accepted for registration and published in the Hong Kong Intellectual Property Journal. The public may view the publication and raise objections within three months after the date of publication.

Trademark registration grants exclusive rights to the owner and prevents third parties from using a mark identical or similar to it for goods/services related to those covered by the specification of the registered trademark, without the permission of the owner. Prior use is not a prerequisite for the registration of a trademark in Hong Kong.

When a trademark application is submitted, it goes through an examination process to ensure that the sign is distinctive and will not cause confusion with other registered or unregistered marks. This includes a period of 3 months during which other parties can oppose the trademark because it is too similar to their own.

Unlike copyright, which is automatically granted when a work is created, trademark protection in Hong Kong only begins from the date of filing, not the date of registration. For this reason, many foreign brand owners file applications for their brands in Hong Kong as early as possible.

When a trademark is accepted for registration, the authority will publish it in the Hong Kong Intellectual Property Journal. After three months, anyone can file an opposition notice. If no objections are filed, the application will be registered and you will receive a certificate of registration. If opposition is filed, the case will be heard by a hearing officer.

Registration in Hong Kong provides legal protection to a trademark in the specific category of goods and services specified in the application. Unlike in the US and Canada, commencement of use is not required as a precondition for issuance of a trademark certificate.

The Trade Marks Registry examines your trademark application and compares it to existing trademarks that are registered or in the process of being registered. If they find that your trademark is not descriptive of the goods or services, does not have distinctive character, or is similar to an earlier one it will reject it.

If it finds that your trademark meets all the requirements, it publishes it in the Trade Marks Journal. Then, if other parties file an opposition to your trademark in 3 months after publication, the registry will consider the objections and decide whether to register it or not. If no objections are filed, your trademark will be deemed to have been registered and you will receive a certificate of registration.

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