Liability For Infringement On Hong Kong Trademark

Hong Kong trademarks are protected from infringement under the rules and regulations of trademarks in Hong Kong. As a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and a territory that adopts the Paris Convention, Hong Kong strictly enforces trademark laws including the right of the trademark holder and the liability of infringers. Here are a few more things to know about the issue.


Liability for Infringement

Infringement is defined as the unauthorized use of material, such as trademarks, copyrights and patents, protected under intellectual property laws. Keep in mind, too, that for infringement to be proven, usually in a court of law, there must be a valid trademark, copyright or patent pertaining to the material in place. There should be reasonable proof that the infringer used the material without notifying and getting authorization for its use from the rightful owner of the material.


The keywords here are “unauthorized versus authorized”. If Person A used the registered trademark of Person B without proper authorization, preferably in writing, he can be made liable for trademark infringement. This is also true if Person A used a confusingly similar trademark as the one used by Person B for similar products and/or services.


But even if the trademark used by Person A is applied to different products and/or services offered by Person B, the former may still be liable for infringement if the trademark used is similar to the latter’s well-known trademark.


The infringement charge can also be brought against a person or entity passing off, so to speak, a well-known trademark owned by another person or entity. Passing off in most cases means using the Hong Kong trademark in a deceptive manner, such as misleading consumers to buy an inferior product stamped with the well-known trademark.


Legal Action

The rightful owner of the trademark can take legal action against the infringer. The legal action can be made if the infringement happened in Hong Kong; the laws of Hong Kong will apply.  The process isn’t easy since infringement cases aren’t easy to prove but with the assistance of an experienced intellectual property lawyer, it’s possible to win a case.


This isn’t to say, nonetheless, that persons or entities accused of Hong Kong trademark infringement don’t stand a chance. There are also legal defenses in a trademark infringement charge, such as:

  • The defendant can use the defense of “consent” or “authorization”. In this case, the defendant should be able to prove that the plaintiff agreed or authorized the use of the trademark. This can be a strong defense with a contract and a payment made to the plaintiff.
  • The defendant can prove that the trademark has expired.


Why defend a trademark in the first place? The rationale here is that the trademark is part of the brand and in a world where branding is crucial to success in the business world, protecting your trademark is a must.

As the Hong Kong trademark application needs professional knowledge and experience, we suggest hiring an experienced trademark agent for individuals and organizations. For details of the Hong Kong trademark registration, please contact us for free consulation.



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