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SAR set to lift its IP trading hub status

Published on 12/07 2015  Source: China Daily


Hong Kong's role as an intellectual property (IP) trading hub will be further cemented as the mainland sees tremendous demand for IP trading due to its economic restructuring, says the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC).
The Fifth Business of Intellectual Property Asia (BIP Asia) Forum, being held in Hong Kong on Thursday and Friday, has invited more than 2,000 IP professionals and industry players to this year's event, with more than 80 exhibitors (IP owners, users and trading intermediaries) attending.
Leung welcomed the Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization, Francis Gurry, to attend the BIP Asia forum. He said that Hong Kong's outstanding business environment, robust IP protection regime as well as our role as the "super-connector" between the mainland and the rest of the world would help promote the city as a regional IP trading hub.
More than one-third of global patent applications have been filed by mainland enterprises, accounting for 60 percent of the total number of applications in Asia, according to Raymond Yip, HKTDC deputy executive director.
"With the imminent launch of the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-20), technology and innovation will be the main theme of the country's economic development in the coming five years. Mainland companies are seeing tremendous demand for IP trading," Yip said.
"The business value of technology trading on the mainland is tipped to swell to 2 trillion yuan($312.6 billion) in 2020 from 400 billion yuan recorded in 2010. Hong Kong currently is ranked as the mainland's sixth technology import source."
Yip predicted that the Belt and Road Initiative, a national development strategy unveiled by President Xi Jinping in 2013 that aims to connect 4.4 trillion people from more than 60 countriesand regions, will also stimulate demand for IP trading services from the SAR.
"Design innovation is one of the intellectual niches in Hong Kong. All these designs can cross over to other goods and services as well, thus propelling an array of IP trading business opportunities to those Belt and Road Initiative-related business enterprises," he added.
Hong Kong, endowed with extensive business connections, a common law legal regime, a cluster of IP owners and intermediaries as well as a robust financing market, is poised to be the ideal IP trading platform in Asia.
"Every year, there are 4,000 trademark applications, 13,000 patent applications, 600 short-termpatent applications and 1,000 registered design applications being filed in Hong Kong," said Ada Leung Ka-lai, director of intellectual property.
"We are educating more local small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and other startups to be more aware of IP protection and trading," she said.
Kwong Chi-keung, a solicitor specializing as agents for trademarks and patents, said Hong Kong's strength in legal arbitration can help bolster its IP trading hub status because legal action may be more expensive for companies to resolve IP infringement cases.
"Lawsuit cases regarding IP protection of trademarks, patents and registered designs usually involve many companies from various countries (and regions). Because of the difference in the legal regimes of these markets, IP owners may find it very time consuming to engage in IP protection lawsuit cases. Moreover, IP owners may have to disclose details of commercial secrets in courts concerning their IP protection lawsuit cases whereas they are unwilling to do so," Kwong said.
"Many countries (and regions) are studying whether they can change their arbitration laws to resolve IP protection lawsuit cases, and Hong Kong is set to benefit from this trend," he added.