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How to Register a Hong Kong Trademark

A registered hong kong trademark makes it much easier to take legal action against anyone who uses your mark without your permission in Hong Kong. It also gives you a strong base to prevent companies (like your competitors) from registering nearly identical trademarks.

Before applying for a trademark in Hong Kong, it is important to do some research. The Registry will examine your application to make sure it meets the registration criteria.

What is a Trademark?

A trademark is a word, symbol or design used to distinguish an individual’s or company’s goods or services from those of others in the market. It may also come to represent the goodwill of a business in the eyes of consumers, which helps to create a niche for itself in the marketplace.

Trademarks can be words, designs, sounds, smells, moving images, three-dimensional shapes or modes of packaging. However, they must be capable of being represented graphically to be eligible for registration in Hong Kong.

A registered trade mark is protected by the Trade Marks Ordinance and can be used to prevent others from using it for the same or similar goods or services without permission. It is possible to gain protection by applying common law remedies such as passing off, but a registered trademark confers upon its owner a greater level of protection.

How to Register a Trademark in Hong Kong

Once the trademark is registered you have exclusive rights to use it. This helps you protect your brand and make sure that you can take legal action against those who may try to steal your logo or a similar one.

Your trademark can consist of words (including personal names), indications, colours, patterns, letters, numerals, figurative elements, sounds, smells or the shape of your product. However, you must ensure that the trademark you want to register is actually capable of distinguishing your products from those of others.

Your trade mark will be examined to see if it complies with the Trade Marks Ordinance and the Trade Mark Rules before it is accepted for registration. If a third party files an opposition, you will have to go through the process of arguing it and then having the matter decided by a hearing officer. If your application is successful, it will be published in the Hong Kong Intellectual Property Journal and will come into effect from the date of filing.

Trademark Searches

A trademark search is a critical precautionary measure that ensures the uniqueness of your brand and prevents potential legal complications down the road. It also helps you better understand your market and develop a strategic branding strategy.

To conduct a trademark search in Hong Kong, visit the Intellectual Property Department’s online search system. Input the proposed trademark and the classes of goods and services it will represent. The trademark registry divides goods and services into 45 different classes, so make sure your trademark fits into the correct class or you risk having your application rejected.

Generally, a trademark will only be registered if it is distinctive and capable of distinguishing your goods or services from those of others. Moreover, it should not describe the quality, characteristics or quantity of your goods or services, nor can it be descriptive of the geographical origin of your goods or services (e.g., ‘Dyson’ for vacuum cleaners). Other disqualifications include the use of the Chinese national flag or emblem; signs that are contrary to public morality or good customs; and signs that are likely to mislead consumers.

Registration Procedure

Before the trademark can be registered it needs to comply with several criteria. It must be distinctive (it cannot look or sound like an already registered one). In addition it should clearly distinguish your products or services from those of others in the market. The application form should be completed in proper language and there are rules concerning the form that must be followed. The registry also evaluates the application to assure that it is within compliance with the Trade Marks Ordinance and the Trade Marks Rules. It is possible for third parties to oppose the registration of your trademark, but only if they have substantiated grounds.

If no opposition is filed, your trademark is registered and you receive a certificate of registration. It normally takes around six months from when your application is received to the end of the registration process. Note that a hong kong trademark does not cover China. Your logo will be marked with the ® symbol after it is successfully registered.

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