Hague System: Questions and Answers
(Latest revision: March 2022)
(Latest revision: March 2022)
Tip! Designs can help you to differentiate your products from those of your competitors and obtain wider market recognition and visibility. Protection of designs (shape, form, patterns, lines or color of the ornamental part of your product) is essential. Exclusive rights – allowing you to license others to use your design for a fee – and protection against copying and counterfeits will strengthen your competitive position and the commercial value of your business and its products. This in turn will stimulate economic growth. Find out more about designs.
Filing applications to obtain individual national and regional rights and subsequently managing them can be a major headache, not least because procedures and languages differ from one country to another. Further, you may need help from local attorneys, agents and even translators.
Video – Protecting your designs with WIPO's Hague System
You can file an international application under the Hague System if:
Full list of Hague System contracting parties.
(click to enlarge)
You can obtain protection within any Hague System contracting party, including member states of an intergovernmental organization party to the Hague Agreement. If you wish to protect a design in a jurisdiction that is not party to the Hague Agreement, you will have to file a national (or regional) application.
International design applications are subject to the payment of three types of fees, all payable in Swiss francs:
Note: additional fees (two Swiss francs per word) apply if your description exceeds 100 words.
No, you do not need a prior national/regional application (unlike, for instance, under the Madrid System).
Yes, your international application may claim the priority of an earlier national or regional filing made in any state party to the Paris Convention or any member of the World Trade Organization, provided that you file within six months of the date of filing of that first application.
You can also claim the priority of a first international application.
The scope of protection may differ from one designated contracting party to another. In principle, the scope of protection is defined by the reproductions (photographs, drawings or other graphic representations) of the design that accompany the international application.
WIPO will then publish your international registration in the International Designs Bulletin – the authoritative reference of all data pertaining to international registrations. Where required under its own domestic legislation, each contracting party may proceed with substantive examination of your design(s).
Find out more: How the Hague System Works.
You can include up to 100 designs per application. All designs must however belong to the same class of the International Classification for Industrial Designs (the Locarno Classification).
For full details on requirements, refer to:
Further information about each contracting party is also available under Hague System Member Profiles.
A reproduction refers to photographs, drawings or other graphic representations that illustrate your design.
Note! Under the legal framework of the Hague System there are no specific requirements or restrictions as to how many – and which views of – designs must be submitted with your application. The Republic of Korea and Viet Nam have however made declarations requiring specific views of a design. For details, refer to Hague System Member Profiles.
Yes, when you complete your application you can indicate the name, email and address of a representative. You may also appoint a representative after filing your application using Hague System form DM/7, which serves as a power of attorney.
For applications filed using eHague, examination takes an average of one month; the length varies according to the complexity of the application.
For applications submitted on paper or filed indirectly (i.e., through a national/regional office) examination is significantly longer, largely due to manual processing. Note: applications filed indirectly can take considerable time to reach WIPO, thereby delaying the examination process.
In instances where an international application was filed in paper format – directly with WIPO or indirectly with the IP office of a contracting party – you can upload a reply to an irregularity letter using our Hague System Document Upload service available via Contact Hague. Note: to use this service, you need to have a WIPO Account.
Yes, you can request earlier publication – at any time before the expiration of the publication period initially specified in the international application. (You cannot request later publication than that originally specified.) How? Simply contact us through Contact Hague, specifying your international application number.
By default – unless you requested immediate publication or publication at a chosen time – WIPO will publish your international registration in the International Designs Bulletin twelve months after the date of international registration (normally the date on which WIPO received your international application).
Yes, you can defer publication for a maximum of 30 months (under the 1999 Geneva Act) or 12 months (under the 1960 Hague Act), counting from the filing date or, where priority is claimed, from the priority date.
Note: Under the 1999 Geneva Act, individual contracting parties may have declared that:
For more information, refer to Declarations of contracting parties.
Yes, you can either renounce the international registration (all designs in some or all contracting parties) (Hague System Form DM/5) or limit the international registration (some designs in some or all contracting parties) (Hague System Form DM/3).
WIPO must receive your request for renunciation or limitation no later — and preferably earlier — than three weeks before the expected publication date.
Typically, the date of the international registration corresponds to the international filing date.
However, if your application:
…then WIPO will send you an irregularity notice. The international registration date will then correspond to the date on which WIPO received the correction of the irregulariry.
Under the Hague System, you are guaranteed at least 15 years of protection. Your international registration is valid for an initial period of five years, counting from the date of registration. You can then renew it at least twice, up to the maximum duration of protection allowed by each contracting party.
Yes, you will be able to find your international registration in the International Designs Bulletin (IDB). Note: By default – unless you requested immediate publication or publication at a chosen time – WIPO will publish your international registration in the IDB twelve months after the date of international registration (normally the date on which WIPO received your international application). Find out more about publication options.
Your international registration will also subsequently be available in the Global Design Database.
It is not possible to do this. However, you can file a new international application designating other contracting parties and then claim priority of the earlier (or first) international application. You can do this so long as no more than six months have elapsed since the first filing.
Find out more: Managing international registrations
Information regarding updated international registrations is published in the International Designs Bulletin, the official publication of the Hague System and your authoritative point of reference. The International Designs Bulletin is typically published on Fridays at 12:00. Such updates may not be immediately available in the Global Design Database. Once your change request has been processed, you will receive an official notification from WIPO.
You can request a review or appeal against the refusal. Procedures (language, appointment of a representative, etc.) vary according to the local laws of each contracting party. If your appeal is successful, the office of the designated contracting party will either withdraw the refusal or issue a statement of grant of protection.
If i) WIPO has published your international registration in the International Designs Bulletin and ii) no refusals have been issued within the prescribed time limits then your designs are automatically protected in all designated contracting parties.
Find out more: Filing applications & renewing registrations
WIPO will send a notification advising you of the expiration of your international registration some six months in advance. You should only pay renewal fees at the earliest three months before your international registration expires as individual designation fees may change during the course of the six months due to fluctuating exchange rates. Any such changes would affect the total sum of fees due.
Information regarding updated international registrations, including renewals, may not be immediately available in the Global Design Database. Note: Once your change request has been processed, you will receive an official notification from WIPO. So long as your renewal has been published in the International Designs Bulletin – typically published on Fridays at 12:00 – your rights are assured.
WIPO’s Digital Access Service (DAS) enables the secure exchange of priority documents between participating offices. WIPO participates in DAS as a "depositing office" for international design applications.
If, as applicant or holder, you wish to obtain a certified copy of an international application ("priority document"), you can ask WIPO (through Contact Hague) to provide a DAS code and a PDF copy of the priority document (you will only be charged for the PDF document). This code can then be shared with offices which participate in DAS as ‘Accessing offices’, enabling them to directly retrieve the priority document.
You can submit your request through Contact Hague. Simply select 'Request a DAS code' from the 'My request concerns' drop-down menu. No charges apply.
No, they are only available in the language in which the international application was filed. At the request of the holder or the registered representative, the cover letter to a certified copy may be issued in any of the official languages of the Hague System (English, French and Spanish).
Typically, all fees should be paid when you file your international application. Payment can also be made after filing. However, if the fees have still not been paid when your international application is examined by WIPO, you will receive an irregularity notice inviting you to pay within three months.
Typically, all fees should be paid when you file your international application. However, when requesting deferred publication, the publication fee can be paid after filing, at the latest, three weeks before the period of deferment expires.
You will need to Request a Refund.
(Latest revision: October 2021)
Reminder: September 30, 2021, was the deadline to file UK national design applications, claiming the earlier filing date of your original international registration. For more information, please contact the UK IPO.
Yes, simply designate the United Kingdom in your international application. Note: If you also want to protect your designs in the European Union (EU), you must designate both the EU and the United Kingdom – designation of the EU no longer covers the United Kingdom.
You must renew your international registration – which provides EU protection for your designs – directly with WIPO. You should receive a reminder from WIPO six months before renewal is due. Simply renew the registration through eHague. If you have any questions, Contact Hague.
In parallel, you must renew your re-registered national design right with the UK IPO – the office should send you a reminder renewal notice. If you have any questions, contact the UK IPO.
No, you do not need to make any changes to this effect. At the time of filing, you were resident of an EU member state. This information, frozen in time, does not change or adversely affect your entitlement.
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Disclaimer: The questions and answers provided on this page serve a purely informative purpose and are not a legal point of reference. They do not necessarily represent the official position of WIPO or its member states.