New campaign boosts Hong Kong's fight against counterfeit goods

Hong Kong

The Hong Kong government has reaffirmed its long-running No Fakes campaign as part of its 'Hong Kong - The Real Experience' tourist promotion. The revamped No Fakes campaign, which was originally set up in 1998 with the support of trade associations, is designed to encourage a sense of pride among retailers that pledge to trade in only genuine products. It is also designed to (i) enhance general awareness of the importance of IP protection, and (ii) strengthen the confidence of consumers and tourists in Hong Kong.

Shops participating in the scheme display special signs to identify themselves as fake-free traders. The Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department has also teamed up with IP rights holders to form the IP Rights Protection Alliance, which will be responsible for monitoring compliance with the pledge.

The relaunch of the campaign follows a new framework agreement designed to increase cooperation on matters of IP infringement between the governments of Hong Kong and the Guangdong Province. The framework was agreed at the first meeting of the Guangdong/Hong Kong Expert Group on the Protection of IP Rights. This group will meet twice a year, and comprises officials from (i) Guangdong administrative bodies, such as the Copyright Bureau and the Administration for Industry and Commerce, and (ii) Hong Kong-based bodies, such as the Intellectual Property Department, the Customs and Excise Department, and the police.

In addition, the governments have established an online IP database for Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau. It provides information on IP legislation in each of the three regions, as well as the registration system for each type of IP right. The database has direct links to enforcement bodies in each region (eg, the Macau Customs Department). It also contains a list of regional hotlines for consumers to report suspected IP infringement cases and to make complaints.

The government of Guangdong has announced that it is to launch a programme similar to the Hong Kong 'No Fakes' campaign to combat the sale of counterfeit products.

Yvonne Chua, Wilkinson & Grist, Hong Kong

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