The Customs and Excise Department is the only department responsible for taking criminal sanctions against copyright and trademark infringements in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR). The Department has the mission to protect the interests of intellectual property rights (IPR) owners and legitimate traders through enforcement of the Copyright Ordinance, Chapter 528, Laws of Hong Kong, the Trade Descriptions Ordinance, Chapter 362 and the Prevention of Copyright Piracy Ordinance, Chapter 544 under the Laws of Hong Kong.
The Department adopts a multi-pronged enforcement strategy against all fronts of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) infringement activities at the cross-boundary, local and online / technology levels. On the cross-boundary side, the Department focuses its enforcement efforts against cross-boundary illegal activities at the import, export and transhipment levels. On the local side, the Department takes repeated and sustained enforcement actions to eradicate piracy and counterfeiting activities at street, retail, manufacturing, wholesale and distribution levels. The Department also actively conducts enforcement operations against the ever-changing online IPR infringements / technology crimes by strengthening research on the cybercrimes and implementing the advanced technology system.
To cope with the increasing trend of IPR related electronic crimes, the Department has expanded the "Anti-Internet-Piracy Team" with more than 40 investigators dedicated to conduct online investigations and take enforcement actions against online IPR infringements / technology crimes.
In 2013, the Department set up the Electronic Crime Investigation Centre (ECIC) to overcome the emerging enforcement challenges arising from advancement in cyber technologies. The ECIC aims to strengthen research on the latest modus operandi of cybercrimes, formulate enforcement strategies and procedures on evidence collection for enforcement officers, and conduct training courses on retrieval and preservation of digital evidence for front-line officers.
In 2017, the ECIC launched the "Big Data Analytics System" to assist front-line officers in retrieving and analysing massive information from various Internet platforms for online investigations. The system has been running well since its operation.
The Department maintains a high enforcement pressure against local trademark counterfeiting and copyright infringement activities all along.
The sustained actions place trademark counterfeiting in Hong Kong firmly under control, with no sign of major counterfeit goods manufacturing activities emerging. Currently, the sale of counterfeit goods mainly takes place in densely populated areas of very small scale. The Department also pays special attention to trademark counterfeiting activities related to goods which affect public health including medicines and foods, and takes immediate enforcement actions against the illicit activities.
As a result of the Department's vigorous enforcement actions regarding pirated optical discs (PODs), the retail outlets selling PODs have almost been wiped out in recent years. Pursuant to the Prevention of Copyright Piracy Ordinance, Chapter 544, Laws of Hong Kong, local optical disc and stamper manufacturers are required to obtain licences from the Department and mark on all their products the specific identification codes.
The Department keeps stepping up enforcement actions against cross-boundary IPR infringement activities. Through established co-operation mechanism, the Department exchanges views and shares experience on enforcement and strategy for IPR protection and also conducts joint operation with the Mainland, Macao and other oversea law enforcement agencies to combat cross-boundary infringing activities.
Besides, it is stipulated under the Import and Export Ordinance, Chapter 60, Laws of Hong Kong that import and export of optical disc mastering and replication equipment are subject to licencing control.
Every organization in HKSAR should respect IPR and refrain from using or distributing infringing copies of copyright works and counterfeit goods.
As pre-requisites for criminal investigation, the right owner has to prove the subsistence of copyright in the work alleged to have been infringed or that the trademark has been registered in HKSAR, and furnish sufficient evidence to show that an infringement of such right has taken place.
The right owner should furnish the following information to us when reporting a copyright infringing activity:
The right owner should furnish the following information to us when reporting a trademark counterfeiting activity:
Every citizen in HKSAR should respect IPR and refrain from buying infringing goods. Anyone who encounters any piracy or counterfeiting activities is encouraged to make a report to us.
In the fight against piracy and counterfeiting, the Department, in collaboration with Hong Kong Brands Protection Alliance Limited (HKBPA), launched the "Fast Action Scheme" (FAS) for fostering closer Customs-Business partnership in IPR protection.
To supplement Government's efforts in protecting intellectual property, the IPR industry sets up three reward schemes which are administered by the Department. Cash rewards are paid out to an informer who provides the Department with information leading to the successful interdiction of an IPR offence with seizure of a certain quantity of pirated or counterfeit goods.
The three reward schemes are:
You are encouraged to report information to us by:
All information of the informants will be kept strictly confidential.
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