Hague System: Questions and Answers


You MUST provide WIPO with an email address when:

  • filing an international design application;
  • appointing a representative; or
  • requesting a change in ownership of an international registration.

Why? So that we can send traceable electronic communications to applicants, holders and representatives.

Important:

  • When filing an international application, you will not be able to proceed or submit your application in eHague without the required email address. Note: even if appointing a representative, you must still provide the applicant's email address.
  • The email address of the applicant must be distinct from that of the representative – use a different domain name – unless the representative is in-house.
  • Where a representative is appointed, the email address of the applicant or holder will only be used in the limited circumstances as required under the Hague Common Regulations PDF, Hague System User Guide.
  • WIPO will not share your email addresses with any third party.

A. Protecting your designs with the Hague System

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.

WIPO’s Hague System enables you to secure and manage international design protection simultaneously in multiple countries or regions through one application, in one language with one set of fees. Find out more: How the Hague System works.

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.

Using WIPO’s Hague System, you can quickly, easily and safely secure design protection internationally in multiple countries or regions through just one application, resulting in protection of up to 100 designs per application, in over 90 countries. WIPO also offers central management, including renewal, of your design portfolio through one action with simultaneous effect in multiple jurisdictions.

You can file an international application under the Hague System if:

  • you are a national of i.) a contracting party or of ii.) a member state of an intergovernmental organization which is a contracting party;
  • you have a domicile or habitual residence in a contracting party; or
  • you have a real and effective industrial or commercial establishment in a contracting party.

Full list of Hague System contracting parties.

You can obtain protection within any 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:

  • a basic fee (397 Swiss francs for one design; 19 Swiss francs for each additional design included in the same application);
  • a publication fee (17 Swiss francs for each reproduction; 150 Swiss francs for each page on which one or more reproductions are shown); and
  • a standard designation fee or an individual designation fee for each contracting party where protection is sought. Note: For standard designation fees, a three-level structure applies, reflecting the level of examination carried out by the contracting party.

Find out more: Fees and payment methods | Calculate your fees

The best way to file your international application is by using eHague. eHague guides you step-by-step through the process and gives you complete digital access to all aspects of your application.

Find out more: Filing an application | eHague filing tutorial & demo.

No, you do not need a prior national/regional application (unlike, for instance, under the Madrid System).

The scope of protection may differ from one designated contracting party to another. In principle, the scope of protection is defined by the reproductions of the design that accompany the international application.

WIPO will check your application for compliance with applicable requirements, including payment of fees. (Refer to Rules 7 to 9 of the Common Regulations PDF, Common regulations, Hague System and Parts 3 and 4 of the Administrative Instructions PDF, Administrative instructions, Hague System for full details on requirements.)

  • If your application does not comply, WIPO will notify you of the irregularity. Normally, you will have three months to correct it.
  • If your application complies, WIPO will record it in the International Register and send you the international registration certificate.
  • WIPO will publish your international registration in the International Designs Bulletin – the authoritative reference of all data pertaining to international registrations.
  • Where required under its own legislation, each contracting party may proceed with substantive examination of your design(s).

B. International applications

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).

Tip! Some contracting parties require unity of design (for details, refer to Declarations of Contracting Parties). If this requirement is not met, they may refuse the effects of the international registration, pending compliance.

For full details on requirements, refer to:

  • Rules 7 to 9 of the Common Regulations PDF, Common regulations, Hague System
  • Parts 3 and 4 of the Administrative Instructions PDF, Administrative instructions, Hague System
  • The Declarations by Contracting Parties may include additional requirements. The eHague filing interface contains safeguards and alerts that signal such requirements when they apply.

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.

Important! Once WIPO has cleared your reproductions, a designated contracting party cannot refuse the effects of the international registration for non-compliance with requirements relating to the form of those reproductions. However, a contracting party may refuse the effects of an international registration if it considers that the associated reproductions do not sufficiently, or fully, disclose the design. Criteria for sufficient disclosure of a design may differ from one jurisdiction to another.

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. How?

  1. through Hague System form DM/7, which serves as a power of attorney; or
  2. through other Hague System forms, when requesting the recording of changes to your international registration, e.g., limitation or renunciation. The signature of the holder is sufficient to appoint a representative.

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.

Unless you requested immediate or deferred publication, WIPO will typically publish your international registration in the International Designs Bulletin within six months of the date of the registration (normally the international filing date).

eHague is the simplest way to respond to an irregularity letter, especially if you submitted your international application through eHague. In the rare instances where an international application is filed in paper form, you will need to use Contact Hague to reply to an irregularity letter.

Important! WIPO is not responsible for any confidential information sent through Contact Hague.

The following options are available, depending on the parameters you chose when filing your international application:

You selected: Action
Immediate publication You may amend the date of publication so long as your international application is still pending, i.e., WIPO has not recorded it in the International Register.
Standard OR deferred publication You may change ‘standard’ or ‘deferred’ publication to ‘immediate publication’.

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.

Tip! By deferring publication, you can time the publication of your international registration to fit your business strategy, requesting publication only when you are ready to unveil your design on the market.

Note: Under the 1999 Geneva Act, individual contracting parties may have declared that:

  • deferment is not possible, or
  • a shorter period of deferment applies.

Note: We flag all such details in both eHague and Hague System form DM/1.

For more information, refer to Declarations of contracting parties.

Yes, you can either renounce the international registration (Hague System Form DM/5) or limit publication (Hague System Form DM/3) to only some of the designs included in your registration.

WIPO must receive your request for renunciation or limitation no later — and preferably earlier — than three weeks before expiry of the period of deferment.

C. International registrations

Typically, the date of the international registration corresponds to the international filing date.

However, if your application:

  • was submitted in a language other than English, French or Spanish (the official languages of the Hague System), or
  • was missing any of the elements that are specifically listed as affecting the date of registration (refer to Rule 14(2) of the Common Regulations PDF, Common regulations, Hague System)

you will be notified of the irregularity. 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.

Tip! The laws of some contracting parties provide for a duration of protection of more than 15 years, i.e., more than that established under the Hague System. Examples include the European Union (25 years). Find out more under maximum duration of protection.

Yes, you will be able to find your international registration in the International Designs Bulletin. Note: International registrations are typically published six months after the international registration date (normally the date on which WIPO received your international application). Typically published on Fridays at 12:00, the International Designs Bulletin is your authoritative reference of all international registrations.

Your international registration will also subsequently be published 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.

You can request a change in ownership by completing Hague System Form DM/2 and sending it to Contact Hague.

Note: Certain contracting parties do not recognize a change in ownership until their respective offices have received specified statements or documents. Refer to Declarations of Contracting Parties and individual declarations within Hague System Member Profiles for details.

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 may withdraw the refusal or issue a statement of grant of protection.

Note! Refusal by one contracting party does not affect your international registration in other designated jurisdictions.

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.

Note! Refusal by one contracting party does not affect your international registration in other designated jurisdictions.

You can send a request for copies (certified or non-certified) or extracts to Contact Hague. Find out more: Fees | Payment options.

D. Renewals

The easiest way to renew your registration is by using eHague. Alternatively, you can complete Hague System Form DM/4 and send it through Contact Hague.

Find out more: Filing applications & renewing registrations

Important! You must renew your international registration before it expires. Late submissions will only be taken into consideration if payment reaches WIPO’s bank or postal account within the so-called ‘grace period’ (i.e., six months after the expiry of the international registration). A surcharge (50% of the amount of the basic fee) is applied. Once this grace period has lapsed, the international registration expires and is no longer valid.

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.

E. Priority documents

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. Note: You may only claim priority at the time of filing your international application.

You can also claim the priority of a first international application.

Some contracting parties require the submission of a priority document (directly from the holder). Their national jurisdictions prescribe time limits for submission of priority documents, the priority claim only being acceptable if the document is received within that time limit – for example, three months from the publication date of the international registration. Find out more about contracting party requirements in Hague System Member Profiles.

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 priority documents for international design applications.

If, as applicant or holder, you ask WIPO (through Contact Hague) to provide a certified copy of an international application (“priority document”), WIPO will provide you with a DAS code (in addition to the requested priority document). This code can be shared with offices which participate in DAS as ‘Accessing offices’, enabling them to directly retrieve the priority document.

When you request a certified copy of a Hague international application (through Contact Hague), we will automatically provide you with a DAS code.

Note: if you wish to only receive a DAS code, you can submit your request through Contact Hague. Simply select ‘Request a DAS code’ from the ‘My request concerns’ drop-down menu.

You may request:

  • DAS code only; no charges apply. PDF copies of priority documents will not be provided;
  • DAS code and a PDF copy of a priority document; you will only be charged for the PDF document.

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).

F: Payments

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.

G. Applications, registrations and Brexit


Important: the Brexit transition period ended on December 31, 2020. The designation of the European Union (EU) in an international design application or registration no longer has effect in the United Kingdom (UK).

Find out more

Starting January 1, 2021, the UK IP Office (UK IPO) is creating equivalent national rights for international registrations that were already protected in the EU at the end of the transition period. You do not need to take any direct action yourself and there are no additional charges. You become the holder of a re-registered design right in, and under the law of, the UK for the same design. The date of registration remains that of your original international registration.

Note: These are independent, UK rights and, as such, can be challenged, assigned, licensed or renewed separately from the original international design registration.

Warning! Re-registered designs may not be immediately displayed or available to search in the UK Register due to delays in updating UK systems.

You should file a new national application in the UK. You must do this within nine months of the end of the transition period – up to, and including, September 30, 2021. You will need to pay UK application fees. The new re-registered design right is governed by the UK Registered Designs Act 1949.

Important! you should claim the earlier filing date of your original international application and, where applicable, priority date, when applying for UK design protection. Find out more: UK government guidance.

You should file a new national application in the UK. You must do this within nine months of the end of the transition period – up to, and including, September 30, 2021. You will need to pay UK application fees. The new re-registered design right is governed by the UK Registered Designs Act 1949.

Important! you should claim the earlier filing date of your original international application and, where applicable, priority date, when applying for UK design protection. Find out more: UK government guidance.

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 is frozen in time and does not change or adversely affect your entitlement.

Important! The UK IPO is creating equivalent national rights for international registrations protected in the EU at the end of the Brexit transition period.
Expiration date of your international registration End date of the six month renewal grace period Action
Example: November 1, 2020 Example: May 1, 2021

Scenario 1: If you renewed your international registration by December 31, 2020, through WIPO, no additional action is necessary. The UK IPO creates a re-registered design for you.

Scenario 2: For any international registration that was not renewed with WIPO by December 31, 2020, and for which the six-month grace period ends by June 30, 2021, the UK IPO creates a re-registered design, but with an 'expired' status. Note: it retains the renewal date of the original international registration.

Continued protection in the UK depends on late renewal of the original international registration through WIPO within the grace period.

Important! You must inform the UK IPO of this late renewal. Failing this, your design will be removed from the UK Register. Note: This design may be restored at a later date, in accordance with existing UK law.

Example: February 1, 2021 Example: August 1, 2021

Reminder: Designation of the EU in an international design registration no longer has effect in the UK. As of January 1, 2021, you automatically become the holder of a re-registered design right in, and under the law of, the UK for the same design.

The UK IPO will send you a reminder renewal notice on the actual day of expiry (or as soon as is practicable after that date) informing you that the re-registered design has expired.

  • You will have six months from the date of the notice to renew the right with the UK IPO.
  • You will need to pay the applicable national renewal fee with the UK IPO.

Note: Failing renewal and payment with the UK IPO, your design will be removed from the UK Register. It may be restored at a later date, in accordance with existing UK law.

Important! In parallel you must renew your international registration for all contracting parties where you wish to maintain protection, including the EU, with WIPO.

Find out more: UK Government guidance

H. How to stay up-to-date

You can sign up to receive Hague news alerts. This service is free and provides updates on changes and new developments in the Hague System.

More questions?

If you couldn't find an answer to your question on this page or through the Hague System website, then feel free to Contact Hague.

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.