The Hong Kong trademarks registration process is among the world’s fastest in terms of timescale. Of course, the timescale will be different between applicants – for example, Applicant A may have technical deficiencies while Applicant B may have duplication of trademarks. But if there are no significant issues in the application, the process takes as little as six months to complete from receipt to registration.
Checking for Deficiencies
The Trade Marks Registry will conduct a thorough checking of the application forms and its attachments, if any, to determine their completeness, correctness, and compliance with the rules. The applicant is then well-advised to thoroughly check the forms so that all required information is stated.
While some changes to the application form won’t affect the filing date, there are major changes that can result in its rejection (e.g., changes to the trademark’s representation).
Search and Examination
If the Registry examiner finds that the application form and its attachments are in order, the documents will be forwarded for search and examination. Basically, this step determines whether the proposed trademark has the same or similar trademarks already filed or registered in respect to the same or similar class of products and/or services. If there are similarities, the application will be returned to the applicant for proper action.
The Registry examiner will also determine whether the proposed trademark satisfies the registration requirements stated on the Hong Kong Trade Marks Ordinance. He will then issue an opinion in writing – or a letter addressed to the applicant – that states whether the application is acceptable for Hong Kong trademark registration or not, usually when there are reasonable grounds for objection.
If the Registry has objections to the proposed trademark, the applicant is give six months to comply with the requirements and complete the documents, if necessary. The applicant may also request for a three-month extension after the six-month period has lapsed.
The applicant will be informed about the Registry’s objection to the proposed trademark and, if possible, suggest ways for resolving the issues. But if the objection still stands for any reason, the applicant can ask for a three-month extension but only under specific circumstances stated in the trademarks rules. The applicant may also call for a hearing.
If the proposed trademark has been found in compliance with the trademarks rules and regulations, it will be published in the Hong Kong Intellectual Property Journal. But the publication can also invite opposition to the proposed trademark, usually from a third party.
If there are no issues with the proposed trademark, it will be accepted for registration. The Notice of Registration will be published again in the journal.
Keep in mind that there are details in each step that can throw a monkey wrench into a carefully laid-out plan. For this reason, hiring a professional Hong Kong trademark agent will be in the applicant’s best interest, especially in case of high-stakes proposed trademarks. For details of the Hong Kong trademark application, please contact us for free consulation.
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