Hong Kong joins hands with Japan and South Korea to combat IP rights infringement

02 June 2022

Hong Kong joins hands with Japan and South Korea to combat IP rights infringement

As Hong Kong witnesses a growing popularity of Japanese and South Korean IP contents, as well as rapid technological developments in recent years, it is crucial to strengthen the mutual cooperation among the organizations protecting IP rights in these jurisdictions. Thus recently Hong Kong Customs has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Content Overseas Distribution Association (CODA) in Japan and the Copyright Overseas Promotion Association (COA) in South Korea respectively to pledge further collaboration in combating IP rights infringement.

The signing took place on April 26, 2022, which was also World Intellectual Property Day. Mark Woo, assistant commissioner of customs and excise (intelligence and investigation) of Hong Kong Customs, signed the MoU with Takero Goto, representative director of the CODA, and Itae Choi, executive director of the COA, respectively via a video conference.

Woo said, “In addition to law enforcement, Hong Kong Customs has attached great importance to maintaining close co-operation with copyright and trademark owners in promoting IP rights education, especially among the younger generation.” He said that the MoU marks a significant milestone along the course of ongoing collaboration between Hong Kong Customs and the IP rights sector.

According to Hong Kong Customs, the MoU seeks to form a close partnership with CODA and COA in five major areas:

  1. to provide assistance for criminal investigation and prosecution against IPR infringing activities by arranging experts and witnesses for seizure identification and giving evidence in court;
  2. to provide mutual training, such as product identification workshops and experience sharing on court proceedings;
  3. to raise awareness of IPR protection among the young generation through publicity events;
  4. to enhance information exchange on IPR crimes;
  5. to set up a reward scheme for encouraging the public to provide useful information to assist Hong Kong Customs in taking enforcement actions against infringing activities.

Hong Kong Customs stated that combating cyber IP rights crimes with transnational elements is one of their enforcement focuses. Cross-sector support, particularly from overseas copyright and trademark owners, is essential to their effective enforcement. Therefore, the signing of the MoU will provide a solid foundation for enhanced cooperation between Hong Kong Customs ad the two IP rights organizations to tackle this challenge in the future.

Hong Kong Customs, officially known as the Customs and Excise Department, is the only department responsible for taking criminal sanctions against copyright and trademark infringements in the Hong Kong SAR government. It has the mission to protect the interests of IP rights owners and legitimate traders.

The CODA was founded as an organization through which contents holders and copyright-related organizations cooperate to reduce piracy around the world, and to actively promote the international distribution of Japanese content, such as music, films, animation, TV programs and video games. While CODA was formed to counter content piracy, the organization is now expanding its enterprise in cooperation with domestic and international government agencies, industry organizations and content holders.

The COA aims to contribute to the expansion of the legal distribution of South Korean works overseas, and the development of the copyright industry through private-led responses and relief measures for overseas copyright infringement, and exchanges and cooperation with related organizations.


Ivy Choi

Law firms

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