Notice from the European Patent Office dated 5 May 2020 concerning the new patent system in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR)
1. Hong Kong SAR launched a new patent system on 19 December 2019. The new system continues to provide for the grant of two types of patent in Hong Kong SAR: standard patents and short-term patents.[ 1 ]
2. Standard patents have a maximum term of twenty years. Applications for standard patents can be filed with the Registrar of Patents of the Hong Kong SAR (ʺRegistrarʺ) via two alternative routes, namely:
(a) the pre-existing ʺre-registrationʺ route, as retained by the new patent system, under which an application for a standard patent (R) is filed in two stages with the Registrar: a request for registration of a prior corresponding patent application and then a request for registration of the patent granted for the same invention in one of the three designated patent offices outside Hong Kong SAR,[ 2 ] one being the EPO. A standard patent can thus be granted first by requesting the Registrar within a set period to record an application filed with the EPO after publication of that application by the EPO; and, second, following grant of the European patent designating the United Kingdom, by requesting the Registrar within a set period to register that European patent and grant a standard patent (R); or
(b) the ʺoriginal grantʺ route, as introduced by the new patent system, under which an application for a standard patent (O) in respect of an invention is directly filed with the Registrar for both formal and substantive examination.
3. Short-term patents have a maximum term of eight years from the date of filing the application. They are for example granted based on a search report on the invention issued by an international searching authority under the PCT or one of the designated patent offices, such as the EPO, and require formal examination as to whether the Registrar has been provided with all the required information and documents. Under the new patent system, short-term patents, whether granted before or under the new patent system, are also subject to post-grant substantive examination by the Registrar upon requests by the patent proprietors or any third party with reasonable grounds/legitimate business interests.
[ 1 ] See earlier notice concerning patent protection in the Hong Kong SAR, published in OJ EPO 2009, 546.
[ 2 ] The designated patent offices are the European Patent Office for patents designating the United Kingdom, the China National Intellectual Property Administration in mainland China and the Intellectual Property Office in the United Kingdom.