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Industrial Property Code

Decree-Law no. 97/99/M

of 13 December

In the modern world, industrial property is considered a fundamental factor in the promotion of economic development.

Indeed, it contributes decisively to the motivation of inventive activity only if, given the considerable resources that the mobilization of technological investigation implies, protection by the industrial property system can guarantee appropriate economic compensation for the investments made in the quest for new products and processes.

Conversely, industrial property is a factor that favours the transfer of technology, in that the owners of technological knowledge in other countries will be far more open to transferring that knowledge if Macao has an appropriate system to protect their exclusivity rights to that technology.

The introduction of an autonomous industrial property system will also benefit companies in Macao in that they will begin increasingly to have access to a considerable amount of technical information that will accumulate in the Industrial Property Register once patent applications in Macao have been published or patents have been extended from outside the Territory for consultation by the public in general and by investigators and interested economic agents in particular.

The technical documentation contained in the patents certainly constitutes an important factor in making new companies aware of the state of the art in their technological area, in order that they may better prepare for a global market where they will have to face ever stiffer competition.

But it is also a source of technical updating or adaptation for existing companies, in other words, a source of innovation that can be ignored by such companies, only on pain of stagnation or obsolescence.

Furthermore, there can be no question as to the importance of trademarks and other distinctive signs. They help guarantee the identification of the product with the producer, and that identification ensures a certain guarantee of quality or origin and consequently they help ensure the survival of the qualities and characteristics of the product. These distinctive signs are in themselves, therefore, a very relevant factor in motivating companies in distinguishing themselves for their quality and ensuring the safety of the consumer.

In addition to the economic advantages briefly referred to, the re is the fact that Macao, as member of the World Trade Organization, and as results from the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, is bound to introduce into its legislation the appropriate legal mechanisms to protect the following industrial property rights: patents, including the protection of new plant species; industrial designs and models; trademarks, including services marks; geographical indications, including appellations of origin; and the configuration topography of integrated circuits.

Current industrial property legislation in Macao comprises only an independent trademark protection system, as embodied in Ordinance-Decree Nº 56/95/M, of 6 November 1995.

The remaining rights merely enjoy derived protection that has to be initiate and processed through the National Institute of Industrial Property of Portugal, in application of the Industrial Property Code, adopted by Decree-Law no.16/95, of 24 January 1995 and published in the Official Bulletin no.36, Series I, of 4 September 1995. And mention should be made of the lack of protection resulting from the fact that the said Code does not refer to topographies of semiconductor products or bio-technological inventions in the plant domain.

It is therefore necessary to revise the applicable legislation, not only by "localizing" the rights system that is protected merely by the extension of the legislation of the [Portuguese] Republic but also by plugging existing gaps and consequently ensuring full compliance with the international commitments assumed by the Territory.

This being so, Having heeded the Advisory Council;

The Governor hereby decrees, pursuant to Article 13(1) of the Constitution of Macao, that the following be enacted in the Territory of Macao:

Article 1

(Adoption of the Industrial Property Code)

The Industrial Property Code is adopted and published together with the present Statute and forms an integral part thereof.

Article 2

(Industrial property rights under the previous law)

1. Industrial property rights granted under the Industrial Property Code, adopted by Decree-Law no.16/95 of 24 January 1995 for application in Macao, shall remain valid in the Territory from the time the relevant legal obligations have been met and for their full duration, and shall enjoy no greater legal guarantees than those accorded under the Legal System to any equivalent or similar rights bestowed by Macao.

2. When they are not subject to a time limit, the rights referred to in the previous sub-paragraph shall be guaranteed, on the same conditions, until the end of the current period of protection, where after the respective renewals shall be effected with the Directorate of Economic Services, herein after referred to in short as the DES.

Article 3

(Processes stemming from the National Institute of Industrial Property)

1. The DES shall take all necessary steps with respect to processes stemming from the National Institute of Industrial Property, once the fees required for the documents in question have been paid.

2. Should it be determined that the fees due have not yet been paid, the steps will be taken only if the applicant makes the respective payment to the DES, after having been notified to that effect.

3. The DES shall officially have notice concerning the forfeiture of rights for failure to pay fees published in the Official Bulletin if such publication has not yet been effected by the National Institute of Industrial Property.

4. Non-payment of fees owing to the DES within 60 days of the date of the publication referred in the previous paragraph shall result in the forfeiture of the industrial property rights in question.

Article 4

(Watch Committee)

1. The Governor shall appoint a Committee comprising legal experts, entrepreneurs and technical experts to supervise the application of the Code for the first 5 years it is in force.

2. The function of the Watch Committee shall be to receive any petitions aimed at improving the Code and to propose to the Governor any measures it deems convenient to that end.

Article 5

(Amendments to the Code)

Future amendments to the subject matter of the Industrial Property Code shall form an integral part thereof and shall be added in an appropriate place in this Code, by substituting the amended articles and making the deletions and additions necessary.

Article 6

(Repeal of prior legislation)

All legislation counter to the provisions and terms of the Industrial Property Code is hereby repealed and, specifically, the following Statutes:

a) The Industrial Property Code, adopted by Decree-Law no.16/95, of 24 January 1995, and published in the Official Bulletin no.36, Series I, of 4 September 1995;

b) Decree-Law no.56/95/M, of 6 November 1995;

c) Administrative Rule no.306/95/M, of 4 December 1995.

Article 7

(Entry into effect)

The present Statute shall enter into effect on the date of publication in the Official Bulletin of the ruling referred to in Article 37 of the Code.

Adopted on 13 December 1999.

To be published.

The Governor, Vasco Rocha Vieira.

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