Intellectual Property – Hong Kong – Registered Design



Designs can be registered for a wide range of products like computers, telephones, CD-players, textiles, jewelry and watches. Registered designs protect only the appearance of products, not the way in which the design product works. Protection for the way in which a product works may be available under patent law. Computer software is protected under copyright law.


Registered design owners have the right to prevent others from manufacturing, importing, using, selling or hiring the design product.


Registered design protection is renewable for periods of five years up to a maximum of 25 years.


The International Classification of Design (“the Locarno Classification”) published by the World Intellectual Property Organization is the system adopted for classifying design articles.




You need to register your design to protect it in Hong Kong so that unauthorized manufacture, import, use, sale or hiring of your design product in Hong Kong can be stopped. Apply for registration of a design elsewhere in the world or in other parts of China does not automatically give your design protection in Hong Kong.


If you do not register your design in Hong Kong, you will still have protection under copyright law for articles produced from your original design drawings. Protection under copyright law is only 15 years from first marketing of the article.


Only new designs are registrable. You need to keep your design confidential until you file an application to register it. Using your design in manufacturing, publishing it, or disclosing it, before filing may mean that although your design becomes registered, the registration can be invalid and is opened to challenge because your design is not considered new at the application date.


If you disclose your design in any way, for example by publishing it in a catalogue or placing an order to manufacture the design product, before filing an application to register it, your design will no longer be new.


The situation is exactly the same as patents. If you applied patent design in China or elsewhere, the publication or gazetting of a grant will put the new design in public domain and thus lose the novelty which is essential for design registration in Hong Kong.


Therefore you have to apply for Hong Kong design registration before the publication or gazetting of the first registration e.g. in China.


We can help in formulating regional or global design registration.