New design rules introduce electronic filing

Hong Kong

The Hong Kong government has published the Registered Designs (Amendment) Rules 2004. Pending approval from the Legislative Council, the rules will become effective on May 7 and will provide a legal basis for the electronic filing of documents relating to designs, as well as helping to reduce fees.

Electronic services relating to designs will be launched in stages during the course of this year. These services include the electronic filing of documents, processing of applications and publication of designs. Published designs are already available for online search (see Hong Kong registered designs now searchable online). The option to file documents on paper will be maintained.

The rules will also simplify procedures for filing design-related documents with the registry. For example, the rules will remove the requirement that a translation be certified. Instead, they will require only the name and official capacity of the translator. The requirement of attaching six additional representations in a design application will also be waived.

In view of the computerization and simplification of procedures, the rules will also substantially reduce the official fees for design matters to reflect the reduction of the operating costs of the Intellectual Property Department.

Philip Tsang, Lloyd Wise & Co, Hong Kong

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