A broader definition of a trade mark is introduced, to include:

"any sign capable of being represented graphically which is capable of distinguishing goods or services of one undertaking from those of other undertakings".

The Bill has dropped the requirement of the WTO Ordinance that the sign be "visually perceptible". This means that smells and sounds should be registrable after all. It should be possible under the new regime to register any mark which is in fact distinctive. Marks such as the shape of goods or their packaging will now be registrable.

There will no longer be the distinction between Part A and Part B of the Register (Part A currently requires trade marks to be more distinctive than those in Part B). All trade marks will have to satisfy a single, less stringent test.

Trade mark applications may be opposed by the owner of an identical or similar earlier trade mark registered for identical or similar goods or services, or of a trade mark which has "a reputation in Hong Kong" and is registered for non-similar goods or services.

Further information on the above may be obtained via Linklaters & Paines Hong Kong office or via any of the other nine Linklaters & Paines offices world-wide, located in Singapore, Tokyo, London, Brussels, Paris, Frankfurt, New York, Washington D.C. and Moscow. Contact details for the various L&P offices worldwide are available via the Linklaters & Paines corporate listing c/o Business Monitor Online - http://www.businessmonitor.co.uk

c Linklaters & Paines 1997 - Tel +852 2842 4888