Hague System: Questions and Answers

(Latest revision: March 2022)

Hague System Digital Information Kit

An interactive digital presentation of key features of the Hague System.

Also available for download

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.

Video – Protecting your designs with WIPO's Hague System

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.

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(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:

  • a basic fee (397 Swiss francs for one design; 19 Swiss francs for each additional design included in the same application);
  • a standard designation fee or an individual designation fee for each contracting party where you seek protection. (Note: For standard designation fees, a three-level structure applies, reflecting the level of examination carried out by the contracting party); and
  • a publication fee (17 Swiss francs per reproduction) and, if filing in paper format, an additional 150 Swiss francs per page (counting from page two) of reproductions. We strongly recommend that you file your application online using eHague).

Note: additional fees (two Swiss francs per word) apply if your description exceeds 100 words.

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).

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.

Important! You may only claim priority at the time of filing your international application.
Note: Certain contracting parties require that you send copies – sometimes certified true copies – of the earlier application ("priority documents") directly to their relevant IP offices. Their domestic requirements prescribe time limits for submission of those documents, the priority claim only being acceptable if the documents are 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.

Find out more: Priority claims | Priority documents

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 check your application for compliance with applicable requirements (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) including payment of fees.

  • If your application is non-compliant, WIPO will notify you of the irregularity. Normally, you will have three months to correct it.
  • If your application is compliant, WIPO will record it in the International Register and send you the international registration certificate.

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.

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. Find out more: Guidance on including multiple designs in one application.

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. Find out more: Guidance on including multiple designs in one application.

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.

Important! WIPO is not responsible for any confidential information sent through Contact Hague.
Tip! We strongly recommend that you file and renew your international applications and registrations online using eHague.

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.

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.

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 (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.

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)

…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.

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 (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.

The International Designs Bulletin – typically published on Fridays at noon – is your authoritative reference of all international registrations.

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 through 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 will either 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.
We no longer issue paper copies of priority documents (copies of international applications filed under the Hague System) or extracts from the International Register! We now only provide these as digitally signed and certified PDF files. Find out more...

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

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.

Note: Certain contracting parties require that you send copies – sometimes certified true copies – of priority documents directly to their relevant IP offices. Their domestic requirements prescribe time limits for submission of those documents, the priority claim only being acceptable if the documents are 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.

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).

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

(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.

Note: The UK IPO created equivalent national rights for all international registrations protected in the EU at the end of the Brexit transition period (December 31, 2020). As of January 1, 2021, you automatically became the holder of a re-registered design right in, and under the law of, the UK for the same design. Whilst your international registration and your re-registered design right are independent of each other, the renewal date is the same.

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.

You must make any changes to your international registration directly through WIPO, using official Hague System forms. You can send your completed forms through Contact Hague.

You will need to make any changes to your re-registered UK design right through 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.

H. How to stay up-to-date

You can sign up to receive Hague news alerts. This service is free-of-charge 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.