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Question: Which intellectual property office has a Web site that contains not only intellectual property law but also cartoons about respecting someone’s property? Answer: Hong Kong’s Intellectual Property Department. The Web site for the Hong Kong Intellectual Property Department has changed and now has a new URL and a new look. Like many other sites, it has color, animation — perhaps too much — and a certain pizzazz. BACKGROUND The site can be displayed in English or Chinese, with English seemingly the default. There is also a plain text version available in English. Interestingly, the update date on the plain text and English versions are not the same. The plain text version is older and there are more menu options available on the homepage. This makes one wonder if perhaps some information is available on the plain text version that you would want to view. ITS HEART The heart of the Web site is information on the intellectual property laws in Hong Kong. Information and forms are available online and seem to be reasonably up-to-date. The site also contains links to other resources for studying the country’s intellectual property law both of Hong Kong and internationally. Because the full list of international intellectual property offices can be hard to maintain, there is only a short list available on the Web site. (Perhaps this and other intellectual property offices should link to Web sites that will maintain a current and accurate list. Such a list is available on Patent Cafe.) There really are cartoons on the Web site, although it seems to be a section that is not growing. The two cartoons presented are cute, but are displayed in a format that makes them tedious to view. CAMPAIGNS TO STAMP OUT PIRACY Hong Kong has tried to educate its citizens on the need to respect the intellectual property of others. In 1998, a group of merchants took the “No Fakes Pledge” to fight copyright piracy. The Web site touts this event and contains a banner on the homepage reinforcing the idea. As of October 2000, 115 retail outlets were actively participating in the program. Working to institute this program, along with the Intellectual Property Department, are the Hong Kong Coalition of Service Industries, The Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce, Hong Kong Retail Management Association, and the Hong Kong Record Merchants Association Limited. Given the size of Hong Kong, 115 retail outlets is a “drop in the bucket”, but it is a start. In 1999, the government began an “I Pledge” campaign geared towards consumers. The campaign asks consumers t 1) never purchase or use pirated or counterfeit goods; and 2) respect the intellectual property rights of others. Nothing on the Web sites discusses if this campaign has been successful, but any help in getting consumers to understand intellectual property rights is a start. So, Hong Kong’s Intellectual Property Department Web site has it all — cartoons, laws and regulations, forms, and information on consumer campaigns. There is, however, room for improvement. The site should be updated more frequently and there is likely more information about Hong Kong’s intellectual property law that could be made available. Still it is a site worth looking at and perhaps a site from which others can learn.

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