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  • Peter Kam Fai Cheung SBS

Changing Environment


It used to be said that there were two essential elements in every successful business: (1) innovation and (2) marketing. While innovation (and creativity), and marketing (and brand management) are still the essential elements in every successful business, I believe it is the intellectual property rights embedded in goods and services that drive businesses to make a difference and add value to customers. The exclusive right protection mechanisms including trade marks, brands, indication of source, geographical indications also drive demands for goods and services, as well as prices.

Apart from managing marks etc against counterfeiting and brand dilution in the real world, there is the urgency to use domain names or other digital marks to reach out the e-commerce customers. There is a ICANN-accredited Hong Kong-based Registrar for the registration of the generic Top-Level-Domain (gTLD) of ".Trademark" (in simplified Chinese characters). This Dot Trademark commercial right protection mechanism does substantive examination of the proprietorship of trade names before registering them as prefixes to ".Trademark", enabling direct navigation to Dot Trademark sites by 700 million Chinese internet users.

At the same time, China's Belt & Road Initiative is getting momentum and creates business opportunities for those prepared to capture new markets along the way. As information and communications technologies including decentralized ledger technologies are developing fast, any authentic, transparent and immutable transaction would provide the technological trust. The individual's or corporate's visual identity, reduced to hashed and fragmented identity data in a decentralized fashion, could be the cool phenomenon of source identification in future.

Smart contracts and AI-assisted smart dispute resolutions are in the pipeline. The challenges upon the professional service sector in Hong Kong are many and so are the opportunities. I believe we all have to think about the unthinkable and get prepared to lead change and to shape the forever-changing environment!

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