(Macau Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China)

(WIPO code: MO) (latest review September 2022)

by RPmacau Intellectual Property Services, Macau SAR, China - Mr. Luis REIGADAS, Lawyer and Industrial Property Agent

General Information


28.2 sq. km. (including the two islands and the reclaimed land between them).


635,293 inhabitants (2022).



Official languages

Chinese (Cantonese) and Portuguese


Pataca (MOP).

General Remarks

On December 20, 1999, Macau, a Chinese territory under Portuguese administration was formally integrated into the People’s Republic of China as a Special Administrative Region, within the principle of “One Country, Two Systems”, under the name of Região Administrativa Especial de Macau (Macau Special Administrative Region). In accordance with Macau’s Basic Law, its capitalist system will remain in place for at least fifty years. The Basic Law also guarantees that Macau SAR will have a high degree of autonomy, and executive, legislative and independent judicial power as well as that of final adjudication.

Macau SAR is situated on the west bank of the Pearl River Delta and forms a triangle with Hong Kong and Guanghzhou in what is the fastest growing economic area in the region.

An independent tariff region, a founder member of the World Trade Organization and an associate member of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Pacific, Macau has also signed trade and cooperation agreements with the European Union, therefore establishing itself as a strong member of the international business community.

As a separate customs territory and adopting free port policy Macau SAR will continue to develop economic and trade relationships with complete autonomy. Macau SAR has an autonomous industrial property rights legal system, which complies with the provisions of the TRIPS Agreement, ensuring that effective and adequate procedures are taken to enforce these rights.

On August 16, 1999, the Government of Macau enacted the Decree-Law No. 43/99/M whereby a new Statute was laid down under the heading “Regime do Direito de Autor” (Copyright System). This Statute came into force on October 1, 1999.

On December 13, 1999, the Government of Macau enacted the Decree-Law No. 97/99/M whereby a new Statute was laid down under the heading “Regime Jurídico da Propriedade Industrial” (Industrial Property Legal System), intended to replace and revoke all previous legislation on industrial property matters in force while Macau was under Portuguese administration. This Statute came into force on June 6, 2000, by an order of the Chief of the Macau Cabinet No. 87/2000.

From 1999 to date, the Government of Macau made progress in strengthening Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) laws, tightening controls over DVD and VCD manufacturing, and stepping up street-level IPR enforcement. Further reinforcing these positive trends was the strong performance of the new Customs Services that took responsibility for IPR enforcement in November 2001. As a result of these improvements in legislation and a stepped up enforcement effort, most optical disc manufacturers were either forcibly shut down or moved operations to other jurisdictions.

Macau is now leaning more towards becoming an important regional meeting and conference center as can be seen with the number of new venues that have been constructed over the last few years.

The protection of intellectual property is an important part of Macau SAR government’s strategy to attract overseas investors by providing a secure economic environment. Although in previous years Chinese investment had been considerable in a wide variety of sectors, since the handover more and more investment has been coming in from further afield.

On February 8, 2002, Macau formally ended the forty-year old monopoly held by STDM when it awarded two of three gambling concessions to companies from outside the SAR that had presented attractive tenders. Macau’s economy is cantered on gambling and tourism related industries and this action is the centerpiece of the post-handover government’s policy to improve Macau’s international reputation.

It has been apparent in the last few years that most of Macau’s manufacturing industry has moved across the border. While the IT sector has blossomed to further promote the economic development in Macau it is important nowadays that the transfer of technology is treated favorably. Although Industrial Property Rights are not generally considered the most important factor for potential investors, it is obvious that overseas owners of technological knowledge will be far more likely to engage in the transfer of technology if there is an appropriate system in place that protects their exclusive rights of ownership to the technology.

Special Remarks

Current Legal Instruments:

Intellectual Property law in Macau is mainly governed by the following legislation:
– Order (Despacho) 37/GM/98 of April 20, 1998, on the importation of machinery and industrial equipment for the manufacture of optical discs.
– Order 80/GM/98 of September 7, 1998, on the importation of raw material for the manufacture of optical discs.
– Author’s Rights and Neighboring Rights Act, enacted by Decree-Law 43/99/M of August 16, 1999.
– Decree-Law 51/99/M of September 27, 1999, on regulation of the manufacture and trade of optical discs.
– Industrial Property Act, enacted by Decree-Law 97/99/M of December 13, 1999, governing patents, utility models, topographies of semiconductors products, trademarks, designs and models, appellations of origin and geographical indications, names and signs of establishments, and industrial awards and prizes.
– Chief Executive Order 43/2000 of April 3, 2000, on the procedure for the registration of licensing and collecting societies.
– Chief Executive Order 54/2000 of April 17, 2000, on the installation of software in the public services.
– Chief Executive Order 87/2000 of June 5, 2000, establishing the fees in connection with industrial property rights applications.
– Chief Executive Order 59/2004 of March 16, 2004, enabling the extension of Chinese patent or patent applications to Macau and designating the China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) as the designated entity to conduct the substantive examination of the patent applications filed in Macau. Whenever an applicant for a patent registration in Macau SAR requests that the report of the patent’s examination be carried out by the mentioned entity, he must submit to the Macau Intellectual Property Office all the necessary documents written in the Chinese language or translated into the Chinese language.

Note: the above-mentioned legislation deals with substantive issues, procedural aspects are contained in other, more general Statutes. For example, civil actions are governed by the Code of Civil Procedure, enacted by Decree-Law 55/99/M, of October 8, 1999, and criminal actions by the Code of Criminal Procedure, enacted by Decree-Law 48/96/M, of September 2, 1996.

International Treaties:

After December 20, 1999, when it was established its status as a Special Administrative Region, Macau has continued to be a member of the following Conventions:

– Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property.
– Nice Agreement Concerning the International Classification of Goods and Services for the Purposes of the Registration of Marks (9th Edition).
– Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works.
– The Universal Copyright Convention (1952), as revised.
– WTO’s TRIPS Agreement.
– The Hague Convention (Apostille).

Until further notice, the PCT, the Madrid Agreement and Protocol on International Registrations shall not be applicable to Macau. The extension of European Patents is enacted but not yet in force.