Trademark is important. Even the Romans used a ™ for their swords thousands of years ago.

Getting a trademark for your business is definitely a smart move because the business name or appearance of your product is a valuable asset. Let us explain what a trademark can do for your company and the tips of the trademark application in HK. Ready to safeguard your names / products that could be the swords of your company?
 

 

What Can Trademark Do for You?

Trademark, the mark “™” is usually used for distinguishing products and services of a particular company / an individual owner from those of others in the market.

Yet, bear in mind that the HK Companies Registry and HK Trade Marks Registry are 2 different authorities. Some of our clients get confused with these two departments, but having the company registered does not mean it would automatically register for your trademark or you will be entitled to any trademark rights.

In other words, if you would like to enjoy the exclusive right to use your company’s name or logo, it is inevitable to get a trademark, by which you can use it in relation to the products / services / inventions of yours and it will save you a lot of hassles when your products or services provision get more popular in time. In fact, some clients might come late (they just ignored this part from the start and suddenly remembered after a couple of years of the incorporation), then found out their business / product name has already been taken by others in their preferred category (i.e. a class of trademark, like machine tools; cooking; telecommunications; etc.) and so they couldn’t register in that category now. Because some businesses may have ignored the importance of trademark and eventually suffered from the plagiarising behaviour at the end, realising they should have taken this step earlier. 

Talking about the exclusive trademark right, many people mix up “™” and  “®”. Generally, the “™” symbol can be used whether the trademark is registered or not.  But the “®” symbol means this trademark is a registered one, and you are entitled to the exclusive trademark right provided by the Trade Marks Registry. In other words, by obtaining this right, your company can then apply the “®” symbol next to your company’s name or logo as an identification. You can take legal actions against any parties that violate the trademark law, such as using your trademark without your consent / agreement, to prevent anyone to take your trademark’s benefits (could be company name, products, inventions, ideas, etc).

 

Be the First-Mover in Your Market

Moreover, having a trademark can also be a first-mover advantage for your company, you can easily dominate the market if you have a newly-invented product or service. Any newcomers would then be hard to get an identical trademark anytime soon. In essence, it gives you a chance to become the market leader if you act quickly with the trademark registration.

According to our 18 years of experience, if a HK company owns a registered trademark, it will be a lot easier to cooperate with her mainland China partners because those Chinese companies tend to believe you are a reputable company and they are willing to pay extra for your products / services, which makes the whole trademark registration very worthwhile as it just costs you less than HK$100 per month for owning the 10-year trademark right.

 

Easy-to-Prepare Materials for Registration

Before kicking off the registration, you just have to provide :

  • The trademark you would like to register graphically
     
  • What products / services will be covered by this trademark? (i.e. baby foods, hygienic and beauty care, etc.)
     
  • Would you like an official search / non-official search first? (to ensure your trademark is available for registration)
     
  • Information of the trademark’s owner

 

5 Steps for HK Trademark Registration

Trademark registration sounds complicated yet it is not as hard as you thought. Our experienced advisor will guide you step by step throughout the whole process, whether you are a local or overseas firm. Here we’ll give you some ideas :

1. File the Application

Gather all necessary information of your product / creations / services and we will assist you in submitting the application. In general, the application procedure can take as little as 6 months.

2. Deficiencies Checking

The Trade Marks Registry will conduct a thorough check on the application and provided documents. The authority will get in touch with us if further information is required.

3. Search and Examination

The Trade Marks Registry will then perform a proper search to see if any identical or similar trademark has already been registered. The authority will also review and see if the submitted trademark is proper and fits the Trademark Ordinance’s requirements.

4. Objections (possible to occur)

If the requirements are not met, the Trade Marks Registry has the authority to object to the application. Yet, applicants are granted 6 months for amendments in order to meet the requirements.

5. Registration

Once your trademark has been accepted for registration, it will be published in the Hong Kong Intellectual Property Journal. If no opposition by a 3rd party is made, the Trade Marks Registry will enter your trademark into the trademarks register and you will be issued with a certificate of registration, meanwhile, the notice of the registration will be published in the Journal too. As the owner of a registered trademark, your rights take effect from the filing date of the application, which allows you to use it for 10 years.

 

How to Make Your Trademark Stand Out?

- Be creative, emphasise the uniqueness of your trademark, for instance, in the food industry, using “MEAT FOOD” instead of “MEET FOOD” might be objected by the Trade Marks Registry since the chance of getting a similar trademark is massive.

- No description of the products in terms of quantity or quality like “100 Chicken Wings” or “Quality Chicken Wings”.

- No geographical name like “Milano Fashion”.

- Use your invented product name would be the best since as it would most likely be innovative.

 

If you are not sure whether you are having a trademark idea similar to others, shoot us an email at info@bridges.hk or call +852 2159 9666. Our on-site Trademark Team will help ease the application process and smoothen your journey.

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From time to time some clients will ask if a Working Visa is needed when they are only visiting HK for a week or two. In general, there are two main visa types: a) tourist travelling and b) working or investment, and if your visit involves any ‘work’ elements, a Working Visa is essential. 

Let us walk you through with a few case studies so you can understand what circumstances a work permit is required, and which type of permit suits the most.
 

 

Common Situation

CASE 1: “I run an offshore software company. Recently, our company has launched a new system software and one of my technicians, who is a not a local citizen, will go to HK to help install the software in offices, as well as brief our HK staff on the software features. Does he need a HK Working Visa? 

ANSWER: The technician will NEED a work permit to stay in HK for business-related purposes. According to the General Employment Policy, for those who come to HK for employment or involving other business activities as professionals, a Working Visa is required. Even for some expat SME clients who are sent to HK for regular stocktake (e.g. diamond stock check) or training provision, they have to apply for the Working Visa too.

So if you are the employer, you are obligated to apply for a work permit for your employees under any circumstances that involve professional knowledge or its application in workplace.

 

CASE 2: “I am a British resident and run a restaurant in the UK. I will be heading to the HK franchise to promote a new dish, also to host a short cooking class exclusively for our VIP clients. This is a one-time thing and takes only a day. Do I need to apply for an official work permit for that?

ANSWER: Similar to CASE 1, if you are not a HK permanent resident nor having the right of abode in HK, yet possess special skills and will apply your skills for certain achievements or work purposes here, you will need a Working Visa. Hosting a cooking class, playing gigs, exhibiting your own artwork as invited artists, performing magic or singing in a company’s organized show, modelling, etc - all these kinds of cultural and artistic communications are actually work delivered to a company and so you will need to get an official work permit in advance, even if your work is unpaid or for charity purpose.

 

CASE 3: “On behalf of the company, I’ve got invited to be the guest speaker of a seminar / workshop / talk in HK but it only lasts 1-2 days, must I apply for a Working Visa for that?

ANSWER: YES. Though you are not making any profits in HK and you just come here to “share” your personal insights / thoughts / knowledge, etc. with the attendees, this kind of professional knowledge sharing counts as a type of training purpose under the HK legal system so you would need a Working Visa for carrying out such training, whether the seminar or workshop requires admission fees or not.

 

Types of HK Working Visa

Employment Visa - the applicants should already have an offered position in HK which could be not be replaced by the local labour market; Investment (Entrepreneurs) Visa - the applicants should be the owner of a business, planning to be stationed in HK for managing the business.

For those who come to HK for a rather short period of time (no more than 1 year) and do not have much working experience / qualifications, they could choose to apply for a Working Holiday Visa, which is easier to apply and suitable for young applicants.

If you are non-local / mainland graduates who decided to extend your stay in HK and maybe even develop your career here, there is an Immigration Arrangement for Non-local Graduates (a.k.a. IANG) visa for applicants to continue their professional venture in HK and work under the IANG scheme.

Other visa types like Dependent Visa (for a spouse and even unmarried dependent child to reside in HK), Training Visa (for trainees to be trained in a HK reputable company) and more. It is best to talk to an experienced counsellor who can provide tactical advice and guidance along the way, facilitating your process, increasing the success rate and making sure you are on the right track.

 

Why You Need a Consultation?

When applying for an immigration permit like Working Visa that has a set of eligibility criteria, it is much better to get a middleman like an agency to help you communicate with the government officers and precisely fulfill their specific requirements. Especially if you have never applied for a Working Visa, submitting your application through an agency is definitely worthwhile because: a) many applicants do not know which visa type is the most suitable to apply for; b) the unknown waiting period (meaning the ‘real’ time here, not the rough time stated in the Government website); and c) which qualifications are required in order to get a higher chance of successful application. 

Applying for a Working Visa could be very personal. So if you are not familiar with the process, it is always wiser to consult a professional prior. In addition, if you have applied for the wrong type of visa and got rejected finally, it is quite difficult to appeal the case (in view of the immigration practice that this disapproval record will be archived in your file, making your future application even trickier).

Our team has over 18 years of experience in assisting clients to get the permit successfully, we are pleased to provide a face-to-face / video call / phone consultation on your visa application so you will know what is your BEST way to move.

 

What is the Latest Time to Apply for Work Visa?

The processing time of a work permit application takes at least 4 weeks and this period is just for paperwork assessment only. In order to avoid the mishap of not having a valid working visa, please contact a professional agency as early as possible to kick start all preparation work, no matter how long you will work in HK.

 

What If I Don’t Really Know Where to Start?

Feel free to shoot us an email at info@bridges.hk anytime for precise advice or appointment making with our proficient visa team who will swiftly answer your queries and save your hassles as soon as possible before the application starts.

*Under the circumstances of COVID-19, the compulsory quarantine period in HK varies according to your inbound country. Please check with our professional visa team for any inquiries. 

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