Member States Simplify International Design Registration System

Geneva, September 25, 2009

Member states moved on September 24, 2009 to simplify the international design registration system by suspending the earliest of the three Acts that govern the Hague Agreement concerning the International Deposit of Industrial Designs. This decision will streamline the administration of the Treaty which offers the possibility to protect designs in several countries by filing one single application (in one language with one set of fees in one currency - Swiss francs). The Hague system also simplifies the subsequent management of industrial design rights. 

The decision was taken at an Extraordinary Meeting of the Contracting Parties to the 1934 (London) Act of the Hague Agreement on the sidelines of the WIPO Assemblies’ meetings from September 22 to October 1, 2009.

The Hague Agreement concerning the International Deposit of Industrial Designs of November 1925 consists of three different Acts, namely the London Act of 1934, the Hague Act of 1960 and the Geneva Act of 1999. At a meeting this week, the 15 signatories of the obsolete 1934 London Act decided to freeze that Act from January 1, 2010. 

This decision will reduce the complexity of the system and will focus greater attention on the 1999 Geneva Act which enhances the existing system by making it more compatible with registration systems in countries where protection of industrial designs is contingent on examination to determine the acceptability of an application. The Geneva Act also introduces a modified fee system, the possibility of deferring publication of a design for up to 30 months and the ability to file samples of the design rather than photographs or other graphic reproductions. The latter features are of particular interest to the textile and fashion industries.

Under this decision, as from January 1, 2010, no new designations under the 1934 (London) Act may be recorded in the International Design Register. Designations under that Act made before that date will not be affected.  It was unanimously agreed that the next step would be to terminate the 1934 (London) Act.

The Hague Union Assembly, which will meet early next week, will discuss and amend the Common Regulations under the Hague Agreement to reflect this decision.

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