Hong Kong-Weak Trademarks

Weak trademarks are normally rejected registration due to its non-distinctive nature.

Examples of weak trademarks include, in particular:-

(1) ordinary names for the goods or services (for example, “water guns” for “Toys”)

(2) highly descriptive terms on the goods or services (for example, “Scent & Shine” for “Cosmetics”)

(3) common terms used in the industry (for example, “cable” for “electricity products”)

(4) laudatory word or slogans (for example, “Trust-worthy” or “the best broker of the world” for banking services)


The weak trademarks are nevertheless registerable if the applicant can prove that there has been substantial actual use of the trademark prior to the application date and that substantial distinctiveness has been acquired due to the actual use that has been made of it. The distinctiveness acquired through the actual use of a trademark must exist prior to the registration application date. However, due to the substantial advertising and promotion by the trademark owner, there is possibility that the trademark will become distinctive in the future will not be considered.

The applicant has to provide evidence to prove that the trademark has acquired distinctiveness through long-term use before the filing date. Such evidence should be provided in the form of a statutory declaration. The average period of support for acquired distinctiveness is 5 years.

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