A "one-country, two-systems" arrangement has been implemented in Macao with effect from 20 December 1999, the date on which Portugal handed Macao over to China. The two-systems arrangement has been guaranteed for a period of 50 years. As regards industrial property matters, a new Decree-Law was promulgated on 13 December 1999. The Law reproduces much of the Portuguese Industrial Property Code, but also contains various new provisions required to adapt the law to the new system of government and to modernise it. The new law will take effect upon publication in the Official Bulletin of a decision by the Governor regarding applicable fees for the various acts provided for.

The following are some of the more important aspects of the Decree-Law:

·         Rights granted under the previous Portuguese Industrial Property Code will remain valid in Macao but will be subject to the new legal system and the authority of the local government rather than the Industrial Property Office in Lisbon (all Portuguese administrative bodies situated outside Macao have ceased to have any competence in the territory).

·         Portuguese may continue to be used as a working language.

·         The Paris Convention and TRIPs are recognised as applying in Macao and have greatly influenced the text of the Law.

·         Priority rights and remedies for unfair competition are provided for and regulated.

·         Judicial appeal of almost all administrative decisions involving the ownership of industrial property rights is provided for.

·         The following industrial property rights are regulated: patents, utility patents, Supplementary Protection Certificates for drugs and phytopharmaceutical products, extension of foreign patents, semiconductor topographies, designs, trade marks, names and emblems of establishment, appellations and awards.

·         New terms: trade marks (7 years from grant date, renewable indefinitely); names and emblems of establishment (10 years from grant date, renewable indefinitely).