ABCs of Intellectual Property

08 2017 | Issue 22
Text/Lai Chou In

part b_ENG-75.jpg   part b_ENG-74.jpg

Referring to intangible property rights in general, intellectual property in Macao mainly includes copyright, patents and trademarks. In simple terms, protection of intellectual property is protection of creativity. The legal framework of intellectual property here mainly comprises of two decree-laws—Industrial Property Code, and Regime of Copyright and Related Rights—with the former focusing on the application procedures, objects of protection, effects and others of trademarks and patents.


About Trademark Registration


Trademark registration is one of the measures to protect industrial property rights. Registration is not mandatory. Nonetheless, owners of registered trademarks are protected by the laws with rights to prohibit any third party using their trademarks, or similar marks, without their consent and to seek compensations through legal means. Any parties could apply to the Macao Economic Services for trademark registration with a group of unique graphics, texts, numerals, sounds, product shapes or packages. But it is noteworthy that when the trademarks consist of elements reflecting the type, quality, usage, value and sources of the goods/services, or contemporary expressions, applicants do not have exclusive rights to use that part of the trademarks. For instance, when applicants use “XX Stationery” or “U.S. XX” as their trademarks, they will not have exclusive rights to use the terms “Stationery” and “U.S.”.


The classification of trademarks in Macao follows the Nice Classification established by the World Intellectual Property Organisation, which categories goods or services in 45 classes. Applicants could only choose one class for each trademark application, and if they want to register their trademark in both service and food classes they have to submit two applications.


Besides, trademarks in Macao can be divided into the following types in accordance with their attributes:


l   Product Trademark: a sign used on goods or good packages

l   Service Trademark: a sign used when a service is provided

l   Association Trademark: a sign used by associations

l   Certification Trademark: a sign used by certification authorities to prove that goods and services meeting the standards established by them

l   Three-dimensional Trademark: a three-dimensional sign composed of the shape, package or container of goods

l   Sound Trademark: a type of sound used to distinguish goods or services from others


The authority will carry out a formal examination upon a trademark application after submission, and the trademark will be published on the Official Gazette. Without opposition from any third parties, the authority will carry out a substantial examination on the trademark. The entire process usually lasts about six months, provided that the documents submitted are complete and there is no opposition. After registration, the trademark is valid for seven years and can be renewed indefinitely.


About Patents and Copyright


There are three types of patents in Macao: invention patents, utility patents, and industrial design and model patents. The first two concern about the patent rights of functions and techniques of goods, while the last one, also known as appearance design patent, focuses on the appearance of goods. The approval flow of patent application is similar to the one of trademark application, but it requires more time with at least a year.


Applications of trademarks and patents can only be filed by Macao residents, companies and associations; for those who are not the aforementioned parties, they can appoint a third party—which must be a lawyer registered with the Macao Lawyers Association, a Macao resident, company or association—as their proxy for the application. Under the current legal framework, the trademarks and patents approved by the Macao authority are only applicable to the territory.


Regarding copyright, according to the Regime of Copyright and Related Rights, authors of any literary works, theatre works, speeches, movies and visual works, music, photography, painting, arts, and other types of creative works will automatically have copyright of their works, once they are completed without any application and registration procedures, regardless of whether they are published.


Government Authorities


For any enquiries about intellectual property rights, please contact the Intellectual Property Department of Macao Economic Services.


l   For copyright, please call (853) 8597 2614 or (853) 8597 2624

l   For trademarks, please call (853) 8597 2229

l   For patents, please call (853) 8597 2614 or (853) 8597 2246

l   Email:

l   Address: 8/F, Luso International Bank Building, No. 1-3, Rua do Dr. Pedro José Lobo, Macao

l   For more information about industrial property rights, please visit

l   For any infringement of intellectual property, please report to the Macao Customs Service.

l   24-Hour Hotline: (853) 2896 5001