Last updated: 
3 December 2019

IP rights registered in mainland China do not provide protection in Hong Kong. If you want to enforce trade marks, patents and designs in Hong Kong, you will need to register them in Hong Kong.

Like Australia, Hong Kong does not operate a copyright registry. To enforce copyright, the owner must show evidence of their ownership of the copyright. A mainland Chinese copyright registration may be used as evidence for enforcement in Hong Kong.

A local lawyer can advise you on the enforcement options available to you and the most appropriate strategy for your situation, be it cease and desist letters, civil action in the courts, or enforcement by the Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department.

Civil enforcement

IP owners can bring civil cases for IP infringement in Hong Kong’s courts. Courts can issue injunctions, award damages, and order other actions.

Criminal and Customs enforcement

In addition to customs enforcement, the Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department is responsible for criminal enforcement of trade marks and copyright throughout the entire territory of Hong Kong. With powers similar to a police force, they are able to investigate counterfeit goods or other infringement, make arrests, and prosecute offenders.

Hong Kong Customs can seize trade mark or copyright-infringing goods entering or leaving Hong Kong’s borders. Note however that the goods must be unloaded, reloaded or the shipment modified in some way in order for them to take action. They are unable to take action against goods that are transiting through Hong Kong.

IP owners can record their rights with Hong Kong Customs by providing evidence of their IP right (trade mark or copyright), and details of the alleged infringement. For best results, IP owners should be proactive about monitoring for infringement and passing information to Hong Kong Customs to action. IP owners should be responsive, and consider appointing a local agent or representative to act as a contact point for Customs officers.

More information is available from Hong Kong Customs website at https://www.customs.gov.hk/en/enforcement/ipr_protection/index.html