204. Innovation and technological progress contribute significantly to improving our lives. The cornerstone of our advancements in research and development is a robust IP regime. It is a principal means for establishing and protecting creations of the mind, and provides a legal foundation for incentivising and commercialising innovations. IP is undoubtedly a crucial part of a successful innovation system.
205. Our Government has been working hard to enhance our IP ecosystem by continuing to implement a series of measures to facilitate and encourage exploitation of the economic potentials of IP, as well as to promote Hong Kong as the IP trading hub in the region.
206. For example, our Government is pressing ahead with the establishment of an original grant patent (OGP) system, which bears strategic significance for Hong Kong to develop into a regional innovation and technology hub and IP trading nexus. Subject to the progress of essential preparatory tasks, our target is to launch the OGP system in 2019 the earliest.
207. We have also introduced a bill into its legislation in April 2018 to expand the scope of profits tax deductions for capital expenditure incurred for the purchase of IP rights from the existing five types to eight. The three additions are rights in layout-design of integrated circuits, plant varieties and performances. The legislative proposal would encourage businesses to further consider using and purchasing the three types of newly added IP rights. It would also bring about positive effects to the development of the local IP industry and help contribute to a more favourable environment for innovation in Hong Kong.
208. On the other hand, our Government is also assisting our businesses to leverage on their IP assets and engage in cross-sector IP commercialisation in the wake of the knowledge-based economy. I am pleased to share with you today two remarkable inventions which make our lives healthier, safer and more comfortable.
209. The first one is a practical, award-winning face mask invented by a local pharmaceutical and healthcare product company. This face mask can effectively filter airborne particulates and viruses and kill 99% of bacteria within five minutes while maintaining high breathability and comfortability. It received Silver Award at the 2016 International Exhibition of Inventions in Geneva and has been registered as patent and trademark. Another mask developed by the same company received Gold Award at the same event in 2017. The inventions of these face masks are supported and sponsored the Innovation and Technology Fund under our Innovation and Technology Bureau. As at March 2018, the Innovation and Technology Fund has funded around 7400 projects.
210. Another notable example is a Wildfire Detection Robot invented by a young local start-up. This robot helps to mitigate fire disasters and safeguard natural resources. It is the world's first automated detection system which is equipped with thermal imaging sensors and artificial intelligence vision technology to spot fires in areas as small as two metres by one metre and within a five-kilometre radius.
211. This start-up has been recognized through several awards, including the prestigious "Entrepreneur of the Year" at the 2015 IBM SmartCamp Global Finals in the US, and the Asia Pacific ICT Alliance Awards the year after.
212. After obtaining patents relating to the technology of the robot, this award-winning start-up introduced the robot globally across Hong Kong, Mainland China and various countries.
213. To-date, over 100 wildfire detection robots have been deployed in 41 cities in China and Indonesia, while 1.3 million hectares of land are being protected. The company has also successfully carried out projects and conducted demonstration/proof-of-concept worldwide, including in China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Cambodia, Canada, Mexico, Brazil and South Africa.
214. These are just a few successful stories and we believe that there would be more to come. We would continue to support our industries and all stakeholders to harness the power of IP rights and commercial insights and innovations in future.