The Hague System for the International Registration of Industrial Designs (the “Hague System”) was adopted by China earlier this year and will take effect on May 5, 2022.
Why It Is Important
The Hague System is based on the Hague Agreement, which has 77 signatories covering 94 countries. Similar to the international agreement on trademarks registration or Madrid agreement, the Hague System streamlines the process for a business operator to register design patents in multiple jurisdictions with reduced costs, simplified process and faster route for international protection.
As the second largest single market in the world, the adoption of the Hague System by China will benefit both international and domestic enterprises in the protection of their innovations. Over the past few years, China has adapted its IP laws and regulations to be consistent with the Hague Agreement, including the extension of the design protection from 10 to 15 years, the option for the applicants to choose the timing of the publication of designs. We expect to see more detailed guidelines by the Administration of the Intellectual Property of China to accommodate the changes needed after the implementation of Hague system.
What It Means For You
While the Hague System provides a convenient, efficient, economical and flexible registration mechanism, the actual novelty review is still conducted by the national examination authorities in accordance with domestic laws and procedures and does not make it easier to register a design patent in China. It is also important to note that Hong Kong and Macao are not signatories to the Hague Agreement, therefore individual registrations are required in those jurisdictions.
How We Can Help
If your organization is currently looking to design a strategy to maximize protection of industrial designs by making filings through the Hague System and individual filings in key non-signatory jurisdictions, we are happy to assist and coordinate a multi-jurisdiction effort to achieve your goal.