Hong Kong intellectual property statutes are currently under amendment by the Intellectual Property (World Trade Organisation Amendments) Bill (the "Bill") to enable Hong Kong to comply with its obligations under the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). The effect of the Bill will add to the protection available in Hong Kong to owners of intellectual property.

1. Importing Infringing Copies

The Bill proposes to change the definition of "infringing copy" to :-

"a copy of the work or other subject matter that would constitute an infringing copy if it had been made in Hong Kong by the person importing it"

This reverses the present situation whereby the manufacturer is the infringer rather than the importer. The result means that anyone importing copyright articles without authority will infringe copyright. This provision will assist in helping to prevent parallel imports.

2. Renting Software

Copyright owners in relation to computer programs, films and sound recordings will have the right to prevent others from renting these without their consent, and will be entitled to payment of a reasonable royalty.

3. Trademarks

The definition of trademark will be amended to protect marks indicating geographical origin and shapes, (excluding shapes that result from the nature of the goods themselves, shapes that are necessary to obtain a technical result, or shapes that give substantial value to the goods).

The Bill will make it an infringement of a trademark if confusion is likely to occur between goods of the same description, where an unauthorised person creates a mark identical with, or nearly resembling the original.

4. Increased International Co-operation

The Bill intends to promote greater co-operation in the event of a seizure or detainment of any article, by permitting the Hong Kong authorities to disclose information regarding the seizure to the owner of the copyright and international customs authorities.


The provisions of the Bill are designed to ensure that Hong Kong complies with its international obligations regarding the protection of intellectual property rights and will be of particular interest to retailers and distributors as well as owners of intellectual property.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advise should be sought about your specific circumstances

If you would like further advice please contact David Ellis, Johnson Stokes & Master, 16th Floor, Princes Building, 10 Chater Road, Hong Kong Telephone No:00 852 2843 4226 Fax No:00 852 2845 9121 E Mail address: daellis @