How to protect your business in Hong Kong

The essential function of a trademark is to exclusively identify the commercial source or origin of products or services, so a trademark, properly called, indicates source or serves as a badge of origin.

Typically a trademark can be words (including personal names), indications, designs, letters, characters, numerals, figurative elements, colours, sounds, smells, the shape of the goods or their packaging or any combination of these.
A sign must be capable of being represented graphically in order for it to be registered as a trademark.

Why to register a trade mark?
Registering your own trade mark means that you have the exclusive right to use the trade mark in relation to the goods and services for which the mark is registered. If you do not register your mark, it is harder to prove that you are its ‘owner’ and as such your protection is limited.

Not all ideas, inventions or creations are protected.
The owner of a trademark may pursue legal action against trademark infringement. The unauthorized usage of trademarks by producing and trading counterfeit consumer goods is known as brand piracy.

Therefore there are a number of factors which you must consider before applying to register a trade mark.
Here are some important points: Is it distinctive? Does your trade mark stand out from the crowd? Does your trade mark, be it a logo, word, picture, etc. clearly set your goods and services apart from those of others traders? Is it a description of your goods and services? Or it shows the quality, purpose, quantity or value of them? Has someone else already registered or applied to register the same or a similar trade mark for the same or similar goods and services? Does your trade mark look or sound the same or similar to another registered mark?

Before to register a new trademark be careful that it would be sufficiently distinctive, in order to characterize your goods and services from those of other business owner.

Intellectual property is important to our daily lives.
Intellectual property is the name commonly given to a group of separate intangible property rights. These include trademarks, patents, copyright, designs, plant varieties and the layout design of integrated circuits. Intellectual property is important to our daily lives: the brand-names logos on clothes like T-shirts, articles in the newspaper, TV programmes, pop songs, cinema films movies and fashion design all have a strong connection with intellectual property.

To protect intellectual property rights means protecting creativity. The talents of writers, artists, designers, software programmers, inventors need to be safeguarded so as in order to create an environment where creativity can flourish and hard work can be rewarded.

Different goods and services have been classified by the International (Nice) Classification of Goods and Services into 45 Trademark Classes (1 to 34 cover goods, and 35 to 45 services), used in Hong Kong with effect from 1 January, 2015.

The idea behind this system is to specify and limit the extension of the intellectual property right by determining which goods or services are covered by the mark, and to unify classification systems around the world.

You may find details of the Nice Classification at

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