Who Can Apply For Hong Kong Patents?

Source: CtR Intellectual Property Co.

First off, keep in mind that applying for a China patent and in other countries doesn’t automatically provide patent protection in Hong Kong, and vice versa. Indeed, it’s important to file the appropriate patents in countries where the inventor wants his or her invention, whether a product or a process, to have protection!


With that being said, the important question is: Who can apply for Hong Kong patents? Under the Hong Kong trademarks laws, there are three types of applicants – individual, incorporated, and unincorporated. The applicant types are clearly stated on the Hong Kong patent application forms including Forms P4, P5 and P6 as well as P19.



The “Individual” applicant type refers to a natural person or natural persons applying for the patent jointly. The natural person may or may not be a resident and/or a citizen of Hong Kong, such as in cases where an inventor wants patent protection for his invention in Hong Kong.


There are also cases when a sole proprietorship and a partnership, both of which should be established in Hong Kong, files for patent protection. The rules for the names to be stated on the application are as follows:


  • For a sole proprietorship, the name of the sole owner and the name of his company should be stated but the box marked “Individual” should be checked. For example, Jack Chan trading as Chan & Co.


  • For a partnership, the names of the partners followed by the legal name of the company should be listed. At least two partners should be listed in case there are several partners. Again, the box marked “Individual” should be checked. For example, Jack Chan and Michael Yeoh trading as Chan & Yeoh.


The patent application is considered as a joint application so there’s joint ownership of the patent, if it’s approved.



For corporations incorporated in and outside of Hong Kong, the box marked “Incorporated” should be checked. Be sure to indicate the country or territory or area of incorporation where the corporation was established in the appropriate field of whatever form being used.


The information may also be entered by the Register of Patents in its database. The purpose: to enhance the transparency of the public records and to identify the patent applicant.



Emphasis must be made that unincorporated associations and organizations aren’t considered as legal persons under the laws of Hong Kong. But an unincorporated entity can have legal capacity to own property including patents, a law in other countries and territories recognized in Hong Kong. In this case, the “Unincorporated” box should be marked for patent application purposes.


In Hong Kong, the Patents Registry of the Intellectual Property Department handles the Hong Kong patents application process. The Registrar of Patents has the legal authority to examine patent applications for their completeness, correctness, and compliance with the formal requirements. However, emphasis must be made that the Registrar of Patents doesn’t perform substantive search and examination of patents in terms of their inventiveness and novelty.


Source: CtR Intellectual Property Co.


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