On 10 June 2016, the Hong Kong Legislative Council passed the Patents (Amendment) Ordinance. This will bring some major changes to Hong Kong patent law when it comes into effect, most likely in 2018. The most important change is that Hong Kong will introduce a system whereby a patentee may apply for an original grant of a standard patent in Hong Kong. The system of re-registration of United Kingdom patents and Chinese patents will also be retained for some time. It is expected that after some years of experience with the own grant system, the re-registration system will be abolished.
For short-term patents, which are not examined, there is a welcome change that prior to applying for an interlocutory injunction or prior to the court issuing a final decision, the patentee will need to have the patent examined. This will help avoid week patents coming before the courts.
The changes are welcome, although it will be interesting to see how many companies take advantage of the new original grant system.
The challenge is that without a specialist intellectual property court, there will remain great difficulties for patentees to effectively enforce their rights or for those threatened by patent rights to challenge the validity of a patent.