Hague Agreement on Industrial Design   Leave a comment

The Hague Agreement concerning the International Deposit of Industrial Designs first came into existence in 1925, and was revised in 1934 and 1960. The Agreement aims at providing a mechanism for securing protection of an industrial design in all the member countries by means of an international deposit. The international deposit could be in the form of the industrial product or drawing or photograph or any other graphic representation of the said design. The duration of protection is 15 years from the date of deposit, this term is divided in two periods, one period of five years and the other of ten years. This Agreement is now being implemented by the WIPO. 

A Diplomatic Conference was held in June and July 1999 to bring out some amendments in the Hague Agreement. The revised agreement will come into effect after it has been ratified by six of the initial signatory nations to the Agreement. The idea is to provide a way through which a single design application can give rights to protection for that design in member countries. The international design application must designate countries where protection will be sought. The designated countries can refuse to award design rights, if the application does not meet the requirements of national laws. The Agreement does not lay down any particular standards for registrability of the design, leaving this to national laws.  Once registered, the international registration will have the same effect as a national design registration in those designated countries that have not refused grant of national registration. The other main features of the revised agreement / treaty are:- 

  1. International design protection will be available to nationals of a contracting country, domiciled in a contracting country or having a industrial or commercial establishment in a contracting state.
  2. An international design application may be filed either at the applicant’s national office or directly with the International Bureau of WIPO.
  3. Two dimensional designs (textile designs) would be eligible for protection.
  4. A formalities examination will be carried out by the international Bureau and then the application will be published if it is found to satisfy the formalities. The publication will be made six months after the registration. This can be deferred to 30 months in some special cases.
  5. The International Bureau will, after the registration, send a copy of the application to each of the designated countries. These countries have to inform the Bureau within six months if national requirements are not met. However, for countries that examine design applications for novelty or where opposition system exists, this time is increased to 12 months.
  6. Multiple designs may be included in the same application. It is however, required that all products to which such designs relate must be in the same class under the Locarno classification.

 It can be seen that there are some similarities with the PCT system for patent applications. India is not yet a member of the Hague Agreement and hence, the above provisions or description may not be of immediate relevance to us.  However, there is a strong need to monitor the developments in this area.

© R Saha

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Posted September 17, 2011 by R Saha in Learn IPR, Treaties & Agreements

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