The contents of an international application may be divided into three categories, namely, the mandatory contents, the additional mandatory contents where certain Contracting Parties are designated and the optional contents.
The mandatory contents consist of the information which must be contained in every international application or accompany it (such as the prescribed particulars concerning the applicant, a reproduction of the designs for which protection is sought or the indication of the designated Contracting Parties; refer to “International application”).
The additional mandatory contents of an international application consist of elements that, under certain conditions, may be notified by a Contracting Party and which must be included in an international application where such Contracting Party has been designated. Furthermore, with respect to Contracting Parties designated under the 1999 Act, the international application shall contain the indication of the applicant’s Contracting Party. The elements that may be notified by a Contracting Party whose Office is an Examining Office are the following:
Those three additional elements correspond to the requirements that certain Contracting Parties require in order for a national application to be accorded a filing date under their domestic legislation (refer to “Identity of the creator” and “Mandatory contents of an international application (declaration)”). Finally, in accordance with its national law, a Contracting Party may notify that the application must be made in the name of the creator and/or that an oath or declaration by the creator must be furnished (refer to “Special requirements concerning the applicant and the creator” in “Contents of the international application”, “Item 11: Identity of the creator”and “Special requirements concerning the applicant and the creator (declaration)” in “The Hague System: general overview”)4 5.
Even where information concerning the identity of the creator, or a brief description, is not required for a designation of a Contracting Party which has not made the declaration under Article 5(2)(a), such elements may nevertheless be included in the international application, at the applicant’s choice. Since, in this case, they are not mandatory elements, their absence does not cause an irregularity in the international application. In contrast, a claim cannot be indicated by the applicant or an oath or declaration of the creator be furnished, if the international application has not designated a Contracting Party requiring them.
In addition to the elements mentioned in the previous paragraph, a number of prescribed optional elements may be provided by the applicant but their absence does not constitute an irregularity in the international application. The optional contents are: the appointment of a representative, priority claim, declaration of disclosure at an international exhibition, the selection of the publication time, a declaration, statement or other relevant indication as specified in the Administrative Instructions or a statement that identifies information known by the holder to be material to the eligibility for the protection of the design concerned (refer to “Item 13: Priority claim” and “Item 14: International exhibition”). Pursuant to Rule 7(6), the International Bureau shall delete ex officio any non-required and non-permitted matter in the international application. Furthermore, if the international application is accompanied by any document other than those required or permitted, the International Bureau may dispose of the said document.
As mentioned in the previous paragraph, the international application may contain any declaration, statement or other relevant indication as may be specified in the Administrative Instructions. Section 407 has been introduced into the Administrative Instructions to address the specific features in some jurisdictions concerning the relation with a principal design or a principal application or registration. In these jurisdictions, the law provides for a “related design” system, which requires that under certain circumstances a reference to the “principal design” must be indicated in an application for the registration of a “related design”. (refer to “Item 16: Main or principal design (if applicable)”)6.
In order to assist applicants in avoiding a possible refusal, it is recommended to consult the Guidance on Including Multiple Designs in an International Application in Order to Forestall Possible Refusals, which was established in consultation with the Offices of Contracting Parties, which have a “related design system”.
The international application may contain a declaration claiming the priority of an earlier filing under Article 4 of the Paris Convention. Where the applicant has claimed priority of an earlier filing in the international application, the Office of a Contracting Party may require that a copy of the application on which the priority is based be submitted directly to it. Alternatively, pursuant to Section 408(a) of the Administrative Instructions the said claim in the international application may be accompanied by a Digital Access Service (DAS) code allowing to retrieve the earlier filing in the DAS system.
As prescribed in Section 408(b), the international application may additionally contain an indication or a claim of the applicant’s economic status which would allow the applicant to benefit from a reduction of an individual designation fee concerning the designation of certain Contracting Parties, as indicated in the declaration made by those Contracting Parties, respectively7 (refer to “Item 18: Reduction of individual designation fee”).
The international application may likewise contain a declaration concerning an exception to lack of novelty and its supporting documentation. This would allow the applicant to claim benefits from exceptional treatment for disclosure of a design during the grace period provided for in the national law of certain Contracting Parties. This information may only be included in the international application if the law of a designated Contracting Party provides for a “declaration concerning an exception to lack of novelty8 (refer to “Item 15: Declaration concerning exception to lack of novelty and its supporting documentation)”).
The international application may similarly be accompanied by a statement that identifies information known by the applicant to be material to the eligibility for protection of the design concerned. This information could, for example, concern the patentability of the design for which protection is claimed9(refer to Annex III: Information on eligibility for protection).
Any Contracting Party whose legislation requires an application for the registration of a design to be filed in the name of the creator of the design may notify that fact to the Director General of WIPO (refer to “Additional mandatory contents”). If that Contracting Party is designated in the international application, the identity of the creator of the design must be furnished and that person is deemed to be the applicant for the purposes of the Contracting Party concerned, whether or not the international application was filed in creator's name. Furthermore, if the person mentioned in the international application as the creator is not the same as the person named as the applicant, the international application must be accompanied by a statement or document, depending on what the Contracting Party concerned may require, to the effect that the international application has been assigned by the person identified in the international application as the creator to the person named as the applicant (refer to “Application filed in the name of the creator”)10. The latter person will be recorded as the holder of the international registration. A standard statement for that purpose is included in item 11 of international application form DM/1 and in the relevant section of the eHague interface11.
Any Contracting Party whose legislation requires the furnishing of an oath or declaration of the creator may notify that fact to the Director General of WIPO. If that Contracting Party is designated in the international application, the international application shall be accompanied by an oath or declaration of the creator and contain indications concerning the identity of the creator of the design12 (refer to “Annex I: Oath or Declaration of the Creator”).
Any Contracting Party whose law, at the time of its becoming party to the 1999 Act, contains a requirement of unity of design (according to which, generally speaking, two or more designs included in the same application have to conform to the same creative concept) may notify that fact to the Director General of WIPO13. The requirement of unity of design may vary from one Contracting Party to another. For example, in some jurisdictions only one independent and distinct design may be claimed in a single application, whereas in another, several independent designs may be included in a single application if they belong to a set.
The requirement of unity of design notified by a Contracting Party under the 1999 Act does not affect the applicant's right to include up to 100 designs in the international application even if that Contracting Party is being designated. The purpose of the notification is to enable the Office of the Contracting Party that has made it to refuse the effects of the international registration, pending compliance with the requirement in question14. In that case, the international registration may be divided before the Office concerned in order to overcome the ground of refusal based on lack of unity of design. The Office is entitled to charge the holder of that registration as many additional fees as divisions prove necessary. The mode of payment of additional fees for this type of transaction is not governed by the Hague System; they will be specified by each Contracting Party concerned, which will collect them directly from the owner (refer to "Procedure following notification of refusal").
Where an international registration has been divided before the Office of a designated Contracting Party following a notification of refusal based upon lack of unity of design, that Office must notify the International Bureau of that fact, together with the following additional particulars:
An international application may be in English, French, or Spanish, at the applicant’s option. However, where an international application is presented to the International Bureau through the intermediary of an Office, that Office may restrict the choice of the applicant and require the application to be in any one or two of those three languages.
If the international application is not in one of the prescribed languages, this constitutes an irregularity entailing a postponement of the filing date of the international application (refer to “Irregularities entailing a postponement of the filing date of the international application”).