Get in the zone to spark new ideas



Protecting intellectual property (IP) is paramount in creating a modern, knowledge-based organization, but what about smaller firms, struggling just to keep the doors open?

Small and mid-sized enterprises (SMEs) account for over 98 percent of the business units in Hong Kong. Nevertheless, not many of them are knowledgeable in protecting and managing their IPs.

B-Free founder Alan Lee had a revolutionary idea for a compact stair-climbing machine designed to improve the mobility of people with physical limitations.

As a start-up company, protecting our invention is important,” he said. But how to do it right? What’s the cost and procedure? All those things are fresh to us.

Luckily we met CtR and they provided us with a range of advisory services with detailed answers. With this information, our invention could be well protected by IP and minimize the loss from plagiarism.”

CtR facilitates development and trading of IP, and helps match resources to ideas through services such as patent and trademark registration, and patent audit and valuation.

The introduction to CtR at the Business of Intellectual Property Zone (BIP Zone) last year saw B-Free find the support it needed to draft a new patent, apply for patents in different countries and in valuing the patent.

CtR assistant manager Alfred Yau said the firm hoped to provide a one-stop shop that added value to innovation.

At the early stage of new product development, we work with the customer on both concept and design,” Yau said.

We have a thorough understanding of the new product with our inhouse patent engineer and patent attorney who can help draft the most suitable patent specification in IP protection.”

CtR has its headquarters in Hong Kong, which Yau said is an increasingly significant location for IP, with the Hong Kong government setting up an innovation and technology bureau.

He said Hong Kong’s role as an IP hub was the reason buyers and visitors came from around the world for the BIP Zone events hosted by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC).

We have participated in BIP Zone for two years and there are around 10 different fairs across the year,” Yau said. “We have a chance to meet buyers and visitors at the BIP Zone to explain and solve customers’ inquiries about intellectual property.”

Lee said the consultation service for SMEs available at the BIP Zone was invaluable to the marketing and development of the B-Free chair, which was produced with an investment of $10 million over a four-year period and is ready to go to market.

The BIP Zone will be open at the HKTDC’s trade fairs running in Hong Kong throughout October: Hong Kong Electronics Fair, Hong Kong International Lighting Fair and Eco Expo Asia.

No matter how big or small the concern, the BIP Zone is determined to offer the best-possible and free advice.


B-Free founder Alan Lee, who created the B-Free Chair, a stair-climbing machine designed to improve the mobility of people with physical limitations. He said meeting CtR has helped protect the company’s intellectual property.

IP development firm CtR has participated in the BIP Zone for the past two years.

Mobile Device