"Patent Registration" can prevent financial and reputation losses from the infringed use of intellectual properties (IP) of R&D results. However, Patent Registration is very costly and difficult for SMEs with limited resources to apply. Administrated by the Innovation and Technology Commission (ITC), the Patent Application Grant (PAG) is a funding scheme to assist local companies and individuals to apply for patents of their own inventions. Since its launch in 1998, PAG has funded the successful patent registrations of many local inventions.
Eligiblity for Patent Application Grant
Implemented by the Intellectual Property Services Centre (IPSC) of the Hong Kong Productivity Council (HKPC), PAG helps local individuals and companies who/which have never owned any patents in any countries or territories before, or applied for the grant to apply for patents of functional products and inventions with technology element and susceptible of industrial application. For an approved application, a grant of not more than HK$250,000 or 90% of the total cost of the patent application (including the cost for patent search and technical assessment), whichever is the lower, will be provided.
The applicants must ensure their inventions to be novel, innovative and susceptible to industrial application. Also, PAG funding does not support cosmetic designs.
Four to Six Months for Funding Application
In general, if sufficent information is provided, it will take around four to six months from submitting a PAG application to receipt of the assessment results from ITC. The actual processing time for each case depends on a number of factors, including the complexity of the inventions, and whether all the necessary information has been provided for processing the case. Based on the results of the patent search and technical assessemnt, ITC will decide whether to approve funding for the application.
While all applications will be processed on a confidential basis, applicants should keep details of their inventions secret before submitting their patent applications to the patent agencies, warns Mr. John Ng, Senior Consultant of Management Consulting Division and head of IPSC, HKPC. Otherwise, the inventions may run the risk of losing their novelty. It may not only undermine their chance of successful funding applications but also let their competitors steal a march on them.