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UK ratifies Hague Agreement for industrial designs

In a previous blog post we commented on the UK government’s ministerial target that:

“We will have ratified the Geneva Act of the Hague Agreement for international registration of designs by 31 March 2018 and be in a position to launch the service on 6 April 2018 (the common commencement date).”

This was seen as a positive, if not entirely new, aim.

The final steps in the ratification process were completed last week, with the UK instrument of ratification being deposited in Geneva on 13 March. The agreement will come into effect three months after this date, meaning that the UK will become a contracting party to the Hague Agreement from 13th June 2018. 

Under the Hague Agreement, a single international application can be filed with the International Bureau of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and results in a single international design registration with individual effect in each of the Contracting Parties designated therein.

Access to the Hague Agreement is restricted to applicants that:

a. Are nationals of a Contracting Party or a member state of an intergovernmental organization (e.g. the EU) which is a Contracting Party, or

b. Have a domicile in the territory of a Contracting Party, or

c. Have a real and effective industrial or commercial establishment in the territory of a Contracting Party.

UK applicants have, therefore, enjoyed access via the EU’s membership since 2008. The number of filings from UK applicants has been fairly modest over this time, but we have seen an increase in recent years, no doubt helped by the USA and Japan both ratifying the agreement in 2015.

With the UK now becoming a contracting party, applicants under the Hague System will, for the first time, have the option of designating the UK separately from the EU as a whole, and UK applicants will retain access to the system after Brexit.

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