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Thursday, December 07, 2017, 23:10
CE: HK harnesses IP power to propel innovation
By Willa Wu in Hong Kong
Thursday, December 07, 2017, 23:10 By Willa Wu in Hong Kong

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam speaks at the Business of IP Asia Forum on Dec 7, 2017. (GOVERNMENT INFORMATION SERVICES)

Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor on Thursday said the city will enhance intellectual property protection to drive its innovation and technology (I&T) industry. 

She said the government will take a diversified approach; measures will include developing an original grant patent system and implementing the international trademark registration system to consolidate Hong Kong’s position as the IP trading nexus in Asia. 

The city’s No 1 official made the remarks in a speech at the opening of the Business of IP Asia Forum, an annual flagship event for IP in the region. This year’s event is themed “IP and Innovation – Propelling Change, Growth and Connectivity”.

Lam said Hong Kong is emerging as the region’s IP trading hub thanks to a sound protection system, business-friendly environment and world-class professional services. 

Lam said the I&T industry, along with the creative industry, is a major focus for the Hong Kong government. The industry would not develop fully without a strong IP protection regime.

In the latest World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report published in September, Hong Kong ranks ninth in IP protection among 137 economies covered by the report. 

Viewing IP as the “very engine” powering innovation, Lam said Hong Kong is emerging as the region’s IP trading hub thanks to a sound protection system, business-friendly environment and world-class professional services. 

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She also attributed the status to being more economically connected to the Chinese mainland, which, as Lam put it, is “a major IP powerhouse”.

In 2015, the mainland led the world in IP applications in terms of patent, trademark and industrial design volume, according to statistics from the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

Last year leading Chinese telecoms company ZTE was crowned as the world’s biggest applicant for international patents through WIPO. 

Lam said the two national development blueprints – the Belt and Road Initiative and Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area – offered unprecedented development opportunities, including those concerning IP trading.

Therefore, in addition to improving the existing IP regime, the SAR also played a proactive role in fostering continuous and in-depth IP cooperation with mainland cities, Lam said. Hong Kong last month signed an agreement on IP cooperation with nine IP offices in the Pan-Pearl River Delta region. 

He Hua, deputy commissioner of the State Intellectual Property Office, joined Lam at the forum. 

In his opening speech at the forum, He said China has adopted measures to ensure both quantity and quality of IP products in a bid to turn the nation from a big IP applicant to a competent IP applicant. 

China ranked No 22 in the Global Innovation Index 2017, rising from the 25th spot last year. It is the only middle-income country in the top 25 of the list. 

He called on Hong Kong to join the country’s IP development, and enjoy the prosperity brought by mutual progress. 

The forum drew more than 80 renowned speakers worldwide who shared their insights and experiences on a myriad of current IP issues, with topics ranging from law to business practice. 

Lasting for two days, the forum comprises a series of specific seminars, including the Trend of Film Adaptation, in which key players in China’s entertainment and media sector were invited to talk about how to recognize good IP and derive value from it. 

The Trend of Film Adaptation seminar is co-organized by China Daily.

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