Is it a Good Decision to Register Trademark in Hong Kong?

Hong Kong is considered as one of the finest places to set up a business, as it scores high on factors that matter to businesses. Strategic location, productive work-force, stable economic and political environment, attractive tax regime, pro-business environment. Unlike many other countries who put a lot of restrictions on foreigners to open a business, China welcomes foreign entrepreneurs and business owners to develop their businesses in Hong Kong and provides them with the tools to grow successfully with little stress in the registry process of the business.

Securing a trademark is the most important part of starting out your business venture in Hong Kong. It is illegal and punishable by law to use this symbol if your trademark has not been registered in Hong Kong. The use of the ® symbol is essential in order to be able to present legal actions or remedies against a third party that uses a trademark without the owner’s consent. It is better to register a trademark in Hong Kong with the government before you use it.

The Option of Registering Trademark in Hong Kong

International business experts are of the opinion that, registering trademark in Hong Kong is a clever business decision. An application to register a trademark can be made online or it can be filed physically with the Trade Marks Registry, Intellectual Property Department, the Government of the Hong Kong SAR.

Hong Kong Trademark Registration Process Explained

All the applications of registering a trademark in Hong Kong are governed by the Trade Mark Ordinance. Applications and registration are dealt with by the Trade Marks Registry. In addition to your personal contact details, an application typically consists of:

  • A completed application form, including the class(es) of trademark within which you are applying for registration
  • A clear image of the trademark concerned
  • Specifications of the goods and services to be covered by the application
  • Any claim for priority consideration of your application

What is the difference between ™ and ®?

The ® symbol can be used for registered trademarks only. Unregistered trademarks may use the ™ symbol but not the ® symbol.

Priority Document-

The priority document is not required in case of claiming priority. However, the Intellectual Property Department (IPD) of Hong Kong may request its submission. When the priority document is not in Chinese or English, the applicant is required to provide a Chinese or English translation.

An online search system provided by the Hong Kong Intellectual Property Department allows individuals to search existing trademarks, patents and designs. Registering trademarks in Hong Kong is technically somewhat easier than in mainland-China as the product specifications do not need to follow any standardized list.

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Arbitration of Chinese Contracts in Hong Kong

Arbitration is a private process where disputing parties agree that one or several individuals can make a decision about the dispute after receiving evidence and hearing arguments. It is the process of bringing a business dispute before a disinterested third-party for resolution. The third party, an arbitrator, hears the evidence brought by both sides and makes a decision.

Arbitration is on the rise in China

With the massive growth of Chinas economy over the last few decades, arbitration is on the rise in China. Arbitration owes its popularity among the foreign investors doing business in China primarily because it holds four distinct advantages over other dispute redressal mechanisms. Arbitration owes its popularity among the foreign investors doing business in China primarily because it holds four distinct advantages over other dispute redressal mechanisms. Parties are free to adapt the clause to their particular circumstances.

Arbitration outside China, especially in Hong Kong is a viable option

Arbitration outside China may be deemed more reliable than litigation or arbitration within China. Under the Convention for the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (New York, 1958) to which China is a member, arbitral awards reached in most countries can be recognized and enforced in China. Arbitration is usually considered to be neutral and can alleviate the parties’ concerns about the impartiality of local Chinese courts. On 18 October 2018, the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (“HKIAC”) announced that the new version of its Administered Arbitration Rules (the “2018 Rules”) have been adopted by the council of HKIAC. The Arbitration Ordinance (Cap 609), which came into force in June 2011, applies to arbitration in Hong Kong. The ordinance is largely based on the UNCITRAL Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration.

Any arbitration proceeding is based on a written agreement of the parties. They submit a given dispute to arbitration instead of the state courts, this becomes the “arbitration agreement”. Arbitration agreements can be found in the majority of commercial contracts, particularly in contracts relating to international transactions. In the arbitration process organized by permanent institutions, the process is more bound to the rules of the said institution. The institution provides arbitral services and normally appoints the arbitrators.

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