Patent Protection in China and Hong Kong

International patent protection is a crucial step for companies who want to protect their ideas and inventions. Since the world has become increasingly globalized, it is important to understand how international patents work and what they cover. In particular, the patent process for inventors doing business with companies based in both Hong Kong and China can be complicated. This blog post will discuss how to protect your intellectual property rights when doing business in China and Hong Kong. 

To begin, it is important to understand that though Hong Kong is a special administrative region of China, the territory is judicially independent of China.

This judicial division can directly affect the IP protections of those who fail to apply for protections under both jurisdictions.

In order to ensure patent protection that covers China as well as the Hong Kong region, inventors must manually file a Chinese patent application as well as a Hong Kong Standard Patent Application. As noted by Founders Legal retained foreign council, Foundin IP, “obtaining an HK standard patent requires a two-step registration procedure from the Chinese patent application, and unfortunately these procedures are not automatic.”

An Applicant can Extend Coverage to Hong Kong through a two-part process.

Hong Kong Extension First Phase:

An Applicant will need to file for a Chinese Patent Application, UK Patent Application, or European Patent Application and extend the application to Hong Kong within the 6 month period following publication. This can be completed without a Power of Attorney.

Foundin IP notes that an Applicant with two of the filings mentioned above can choose which application to extend based on which application is more likely to provide a broader enforceable scope.

If the Applicant fails to extend the application within the 6 month period, the Applicant can instead file a divisional patent application with the original application as a basis for the coverage extension.

Hong Kong Extension Second Phase:

Once the Chinese, UK, or European Patent Application is granted, an Applicant can extend the granted patent to Hong Kong within 6 months from its issue date. This can also be completed without a Power of Attorney.

Once both phases are completed, Hong Kong Standard Patent protection will be granted, following the claim scope of the application used as the basis for the extension.

Direct Filing

As an alternative, an Applicant can also file for a Hong Kong Standard Patent Application directly. Filing directly as opposed through the extension process can result in higher patent fees.