International Protection of Designs – UK ratifies the Hague Agreement

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International Protection of Designs – UK ratifies the Hague Agreement

06 Apr 2018

On 13 March 2018, the UK completed its final step in joining the Hague Agreement for the protection of industrial designs. As a result, the Hague Agreement will enter into force in the UK on 13 June 2018.

The Hague system allows applicants, by way of a single application and fee (filed at the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO)), to protect their designs in the 68 countries that are members of the Hague Union; this includes the EU, but also non-EU countries such as the USA, Singapore, Japan, Switzerland and Turkey.

Use of the Hague system is an alternative to the UK or European Community design registration systems for applicants requiring international protection of their designs.  The designs that are protectable may consist of three dimensional features, such as the shape of an article or two dimensional features such as patterns.  A wide variety of products can be protected; some examples include packaging, household goods, clothing, jewellery, logos, vehicles and sculptures.

On making an application under the Hague system, the application will designate which countries it requires protection in and the fee payable will vary depending on the countries selected. Once WIPO has carried out an initial check that the necessary formalities of the application have ben complied with, the application will be sent to the individual countries who will proceed to consider the application based on its own legislation.

Since 2008, UK applicants have been able to use the Hague system to protect their designs due to the EU’s membership. However, the ratification by the UK directly has a number of benefits, including ensuring the continuation of system once the UK has left the EU.  It will also encourage non-UK owners of designs to register their rights in the UK.

The benefits of the Hague system are:

  • ability to file a single application, in a single language that complies with a single set of formal requirements to obtain protection across Europe and beyond;
  • an application can include up to 100 designs, provided that they all belong to the same class of goods;
  • cost and efficiency savings as compared to individual applications.

If you require any further information, please contact us.

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