On 13 March 2018, the United Kingdom ratified its membership of the Hague System for protection of international designs, which will come into effect in the UK on 13 June 2018.

Therefore, from 13 June 2018, it will also be possible to obtain protection for a design in the United Kingdom by means of an international design application under the Hague System. This provides some breathing space for applicants seeking to protect their designs in the United Kingdom, given that Brexit has given rise to serious doubts as to whether the United Kingdom will remain in the European Union’s Community design system.

The United Kingdom thus joins other major countries active in the field of industrial designs that have also acceded to the Hague Agreement in recent years, such as South Korea, USA, Japan and Russia.

There are currently 68 Contracting Parties, including two intergovernmental organizations (the European Union and the African Intellectual Property Organization), and other countries such as China, Canada, Israel and Mexico are also expected to join in the near future.

The following are some of the advantages of the international registration:

  • Application and renewal procedures centralized at the International Bureau (WIPO).
  • Payment of one set of fees, which is normally less expensive than filing several national applications.
  • Straightforward handling of recordals of changes to the owner’s name or address and changes of ownership.

The Hague System is therefore an increasingly attractive option for those applicants seeking protection for their designs in several countries belonging to the System.

Author:  Pedro Saturio

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