A Hong Kong customer engaged us for about one year. The customer has Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) status in Hong Kong. The current definition is on the number of staff. A manufacturing company with less than 500 staff, or a non-manufacturing company with less than 50 staff is an SME. The Hong Kong SAR Government may grant a fund of HKD100,000 (about USD12,800) for the application of patent in countries of the SME's choice, when certain conditions are met.
The company runs his management, design and engineering office in Hong Kong. Manufacturing are being done in China with customers in US. They engaged us in doing trademark work and had some discussion on patent works. So we had an early start on their patent process and adviced them of this governmental funding scheme. We worked with the company for filling up the grant application about three months before the patent application was ready. The grant got approved in mid-2006.
The China Patent Application (Design Patent, equivalent to Utility Patent in US) was ready and waiting for the paper work for the grant, when the grant was approved, the Application was filed within the week. Then we did the translation back to English and get ready to file the US Patent Application after this New Year holiday. This patent would claim the China Patent filing date as priority and so no time was lost. Later on, we will file for Hong Kong Standard Patent.
It is so nice that 90% of all these worked are paid out of the HKD100,000 grant. So a Hong Kong company is on his way of protecting his intellectual rights of products he sells in US.