We reported back in April 2017 on the Government's announcement that in 2018 the UK would join the Hague Agreement for international design registrations. We can now report that the UK IPO has announced today that the UK has finally ratified the Hague Agreement by depositing the UK instrument of ratification in Geneva.
What you need to know about the Hague Agreement :
- It will allow applicants to register a design (or designs) through the International Bureau at the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO), the official governing body of the international system
- It will come into effect on 13 June 2018
- It will allow applicants to register a design in any one of the 67 contracting parties
- It will provide protection in up to 82 territories through a single international application and a single set of fees
- Since 2008, even though it has been possible for the UK to use the Hague system due to its membership of the EU, it has never been a contracting party in its own right. Being a contracting party will now give the UK more flexibility, especially in light of the UK's exit from the EU. It means that when the UK leaves the EU, UK businesses will still be able to register a Community design, which will cover all remaining EU member states. Design protection in the UK via the Hague system will also be available to other members of the system (both within and outside the EU) which could enhance the attraction of the system.
It is hoped that the UK's accession to the Hague Agreement will:
- Give businesses a greater choice in how to protect, manage and register their designs internationally, and save them money
- Protect their Intellectual Property more efficiently
- Encourage non-UK owners of designs to register their rights in the UK for basing manufacturing, distribution or licensing of their intellectual property
The UK IPO has indicated that it will publish updates and guidance for businesses in due course and we will be sure to keep you posted on these as and when they are published.