Online Service
Click into the Message interface
Latest Recommended
Enterprise Consultant
Current location∶Home  >>   Enterprise Consultant
Intellectual Property

Intellectual Property (IP)



This article is about the legal concept. For the 2006 film, see Intellectual Property (film).

Intellectual property (IP) is a term referring to a number of distinct types of creations of the mind for which a set of exclusive rights are recognized under the corresponding fields of law. Under intellectual property law, owners are granted certain exclusive rights to a variety of intangible assets, such as musical, literary, and artistic works; discoveries and inventions; and words, phrases, symbols, and designs. Common types of intellectual property rights include copyrights, trademarks, patents, industrial design rights and trade secrets in some jurisdictions.

Although many of the legal principles governing intellectual property have evolved over centuries, it was not until the 19th century that the term intellectual property began to be used, and not until the late 20th century that it became commonplace in the majority of the world. The British Statute of Anne 1710 and the Statute of Monopolies 1623 are now seen as the origins of copyright and patent law respectively.



Intellectual Property Right Protection

Intellectual property rights are protected in Hong Kong under various ordinances, which include:

  • Copyright Ordinance
  • Prevention of Copyright Privacy Ordinance
  • Trade Marks Ordinance
  • Trade Descriptions Ordinance
  • Patents Ordinance
  • Registered Designs Ordinance
  • Plant Varieties Protection Ordinance
  • Lay-out Design (Topography) of Integrated Circuits Ordinance

Under the Copyright Ordinance, copyright owners can take legal action against anyone or any organization that copies or distributes the copyrighted work without his permission.



Intellectual Property Right Infringements

One of the more common instances in which intellectual property rights are infringed in Hong Kong is through computer software piracy.

Under the Copyright Ordinance, simply using pirated computer software for private and domestic use is not an offence. However, the copyright owners can still claim damages against the infringers through civil proceedings. Penalties under the Copyright Ordinance, including fines and possible imprisonment, mainly relate to possessing or distributing pirated software for commercial purposes.

For example, an Internet café or computer games centre that conducts its business using pirated copies of computer software will be penalized.

It is also important to note that a person will incur criminal liability if he distributes the pirated software to such an extent as to affect prejudicially the owner of the copyright, even though he may not be distributing the pirated software for commercial purposes.

Other works such as digital images, films and sound recordings that are found in interactive digital entertainment products are also protected under the Copyright Ordinance, and cannot be copied, distributed, sold or used without permission from the copyright owner.

The Court of Final Appeal on 18 May 2007 dismissed the appeal of an appellant, who had been convicted and sentenced to three months' imprisonment for uploading copyright-infringing films to the Internet using the Bit Torrent (BT) peer-to-peer file-sharing program. This was the world's first ever enforcement operation leading to conviction and imprisonment of a person who distributes infringing copies of films using the BT program.

The judgment reaffirms that the uploading of infringing copies of copyright works to the Internet using the BT peer-to-peer file-sharing program for downloading by other Internet users is a criminal offence under the Copyright Ordinance in Hong Kong.

The Customs and Excise Department, which is responsible for taking legal action against intellectual property right infringement, monitors activities on the Internet round the clock, including copyright piracy involving the use of peer-to-peer file-sharing programs.

Under the Copyright Ordinance, a person commits an offence if he/she, without the licence permission of the copyright owner, distributes an infringing copy of a copyright work to such an extent as to affect prejudicially the owner of the copyright even if it is not for the purpose of trade or business. The maximum penalty is a fine of $50,000 per infringing copy and imprisonment for four years.



In addition to the above, trade marks may be included in computer software. Under the Trade Marks Ordinance, the owner of a registered trade mark has an exclusive right to use the mark on the goods or services for which the mark was registered. The owner can take legal action against anyone using his registered mark in relation to those goods or services without his consent. You should therefore bear in mind the potential liability for trade mark infringement as well.




Contact Us for More Details:
Tel1: (86.20); 38888181  Tel2: (86.20) 38888980; (You can inquire in English)


QQ: 2850700767              Website:

Address: Room 3305, RenFeng Building, No.490, TianHe Road, Tianhe District, Guangzhou, China

Other services
About Us - Jobs - Traffic Guide - Site Map - Privacy - Service - Contact Us - FAO - Online Service