By: Stan Chalvire
Currently, design patent applicants that wish to pursue international protection for their industrial designs must file a design patent application in each country, and such applications must generally be filed within six months of the date of the earliest filed design patent application. That is about to change with the United States having recently deposited its instrument of ratification to the Geneva Act of the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs (the “Hague Agreement”), marking the final step in the process of the United States becoming a member of the Hague Union. The Hague Agreement establishes an international registration system which facilitates the protection of industrial designs in member countries by way of a single international design patent application that can be filed either directly with the International Bureau of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) or indirectly though the applicant’s member country.
When the Hague Agreement enters into effect for the United States on May 13, 2015, applicants will have the opportunity to register up to 100 industrial designs in over 64 territories with the filing of a single standardized international design patent application, thus providing applicants the opportunity for increased filing efficiencies and potential costs savings as they pursue international protecting of their industrial designs.