Dispute resolution mechanisms
Hong Kong is a leading centre for arbitration and dispute resolution in the Asia-Pacific region.
Alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, such as arbitration and mediation, may be preferred as they can resolve disputes in a faster time frame than litigation as well as maintaining confidentiality of the issues in dispute and the outcome of the hearing.
Arbitration proceedings are similar to court proceedings in that:
1. an adjudicator will be appointed (an arbitrator instead of a judge)
2. parties may call witnesses to give evidence
3. parties may be represented by specialist legal representatives.
An arbitral award made by an arbitration tribunal (which can be a single arbitrator or a panel of arbitrators) can be registered in the courts in the Hong Kong SAR after which it may be enforced in Hong Kong as a court order.
The Arbitration (Amendment) Ordinance 2017 (“Amendment Ordinance”) was passed by the Legislative Council on 14 June 2017 and published in the Gazette on 23 June 2017. The Amendment Ordinance amends the Arbitration Ordinance (Cap. 609) to, among other things, clarify that all disputes over intellectual property rights (“IPRs”) may be resolved by arbitration and that it is not contrary to the public policy of the Hong Kong SAR to enforce arbitral awards involving IPRs. Such amendments relating to IPRs arbitration come into effect on 1 January 2018 (except for section 103J came into operation upon commencement of section 123 of the Patents (Amendment) Ordinance 2016 on 19 December 2019). For further details, please refer to the links below:
Mediation takes place when a mediator is engaged by the parties to assist them negotiate a mutually agreed resolution of their dispute. There is no adjudicator to be appointed, nor evidence to be called, and there may or may not be legal representatives present during the mediation. Instead, the mediator helps the parties explore solutions to their dispute.
Mediation is a voluntary process which may or may not bring any outcome. However, the highly expert mediators will often assist the parties to resolve their dispute, with the resolution being recorded in a legally binding contract.
"IP Mediation Seminar" was jointly organised by the Department of Justice and the Intellectual Property Department on 11 May 2016. The objective of the Seminar is to explore the use of evaluative mediation, as an alternative to facilitative mediation, to resolve IP disputes in Hong Kong.
"IP Mediation Workshop" was jointly organised by the Department of Justice and the Intellectual Property Department on 23 May 2015. The objective of the Workshop is to explore the use of evaluative mediation, as an alternative to facilitative mediation, to resolve IP disputes in Hong Kong.