The 2018 edition of the Business of Intellectual Property Asia (BIPA) Forum was held here in Hong Kong on Thursday. Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor attended the opening session and delivered a keynote speech. She said “innovation is the key to unlocking the boundless value and the bountiful benefits of intellectual property.” Lam added, “that reality lies at the heart of my government’s high-priority agenda for innovation.” Her remarks are further evidence the special administrative region government is committed to enhancing Hong Kong’s status as a rising intellectual property hub not just in the region but also the world. It will no doubt complement the city’s efforts to establish itself as an international center for innovation and technology development.
As Lam noted in her speech at the 2018 BIPA Forum, Hong Kong is well-known in the world for making many award-winning inventions every year. Those achievements not only confirm Hong Kong’s status in the world as a highly productive maker of great inventions but also serve as effective advertisement for the local universities that are instrumental to the success of those inventors. Logically, the SAR government will increase funding for the education sector and the inno-tech industry, with other preferential policies and measures in the pipeline designed to improve both the “hardware” and “software” of the local inno-tech industry in the long run.
Once inventions are certified and applied, one of the most important steps to take would be protecting related intellectual property rights with up-to-date and effective law, better known as patents. IPR does not concern inventions and industrial designs only. It is also vital to all products in arts and publication, especially those for commercial use that entail profits, including music, video and prints. Hong Kong already has its own set of laws and mature judicial processes to protect IPRs effectively. The city is working on updates for those ordinances to ensure adequate protection by law for all forms of artistic creation that are copyrighted. It is an ongoing endeavor and has proved rather challenging worldwide, but Hong Kong has what it takes to be a standard bearer in this region.
The creation and trading of IP are growing rapidly in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. The number of patent applications from the Bay Area topped the total from the other renowned bay areas in the world last year, namely Tokyo, New York and San Francisco. Given the great potential for anything and everything in the Greater Bay Area, there is no telling how much more Hong Kong can do in leading the advance toward IPR protection prominence. It all depends on commitment, perseverance and education. Of course, cooperation with other regions is also the key to the success of inno-tech development and legal protection of IPRs, be it patents, copyrights or any other marketable material.
To do so, Hong Kong must, in Lam’s words,“continue to augment our intellectual property regime, taking rigorous action to protect the legitimate rights and interests of intellectual property right holders”.
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