Summary of the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs (1925)
Three Acts of the Hague Agreement are currently in force, the 1999 Act, the 1960 Act and the 1934 Act. An international registration may be obtained only by a natural person or legal entity having a connection, through establishment, domicile, nationality or, under the 1999 Act residence, with a Contracting Party to any of the three Acts.
An international deposit may be governed by the 1999 Act, 1960 Act, the 1934 Act or any combination of these depending on the Contracting Party with which the applicant has the connection described above (hereafter referred to as “Contracting Party of origin”). Over 99 percent of international registrations currently obtained are governed (exclusively or in part) by either the 1999 or the 1960 Act.
The 1960 and the 1999 Acts
The system applicable under the 1960 Act or the 1999 Act may be summed up as follows. The international registration of an industrial design may be sought with the International Bureau of WIPO, either directly or through the industrial property office of the Contracting Party of origin if the law of that Contracting Party so permits or requires.
An international registration is based on an application and one or more photographs or other graphic representations of the design. The application must contain a list of the Contracting Parties in which the international registration is to have effect and the designation of the article or articles in which it is intended to incorporate the design or which constitute the design. The international registration may extend its effects to the Contracting Party of origin unless the legislation of that Contracting Party provides otherwise. The application may be in English or French.
The photographs or other graphic representations of the designs submitted by the applicant are published in the International Designs Bulletin, which issues monthly on CD-ROM and on the Internet. Depending on his selection of designated Contracting Parties, the applicant may request that the publication be deferred by a period not exceeding 30 months from the date of the international registration or, if priority is claimed, from the priority date.
The international registration has, in each of the Contracting Parties designated by the applicant, the same effect as if all the formalities required by the domestic law for the grant of protection had been complied with by the applicant and as if all administrative acts required to that end had been accomplished by the office of that State.
Each Contracting Party designated by the applicant may refuse protection within six months, or possibly 12 months under the 1999 Act, from the date of the publication of the international registration. Refusal of protection can only be based on requirements of the domestic law other than the formalities and administrative acts to be accomplished under the domestic law by the office of the Contracting Party which refuses the protection.
The term of protection is five years, renewable for at least one five-year period under the 1960 Act, or two such periods under the 1999 Act. If the legislation of a Contracting Party provides for a longer term of protection, protection of the same duration shall, on the basis of the international registration and its renewals, be granted in that Contracting Party to designs which have been the subject of an international registration.
The 1934 Act
The main differences between an international registration governed exclusively by the 1934 Act and an international registration governed exclusively or partially by the 1960 or the 1999 Act can be summarized as follows:
- the registration extends automatically to all States party to the 1934 Act, unless protection in any of those States is expressly renounced;
- the registration may be opened or sealed;
- the publication does not comprise a reproduction of the designs; it merely states the article or articles in which the designs are to be incorporated;
- the term of protection is 15 years, divided into an initial period of five years and, subject to renewal, a second period of 10 years;
- there is no provision for the notification of a refusal of protection;
- the registration must be made in French.
In order to facilitate the work of the users of the Hague Agreement, the WIPO Secretariat publishes a Guide to the International Registration of Industrial Designs.
The Hague Agreement, concluded in 1925, was revised at London in 1934 and at The Hague in 1960. It was completed by an Additional Act signed at Monaco in 1961 and by a Complementary Act signed at Stockholm in 1967, which was amended in 1979. As noted above, a further Act was adopted at Geneva in 1999.
The Hague Agreement created a Union. Since 1970, the Union has an Assembly. Every country member of the Union which has adhered to the Complementary Act of Stockholm is a member of the Assembly. Among the most important tasks of the Assembly are the adoption of the biennial program and budget of the Union and the adoption and modification of the implementing regulations, including the fixing of the fees connected with the use of the Hague system.
The 1960 and 1934 Acts of the Agreement are open to States party to the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property (1883). The 1999 Act is open to any State member of WIPO and to certain intergovernmental organizations. Instruments of accession must be deposited with the Director General of WIPO.