The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office recently published the Final Rules for implementation of the Hague Agreement for the Registration of Industrial Designs (i.e., design patents). Starting May 13, 2015, U.S.-based applicants can file a single international design application directly with the PTO or the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) who administers the treaty.
The Hague Agreement is an international treaty that establishes filing procedures for design patents, similar to the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) for utility patents. It harmonizes basic filing requirements across member countries, avoiding complexities related to, for example, foreign language translations, fees and deadlines for renewal.
After an initial formalities review performed by WIPO, the application is published and then transmitted to the designated countries. It will then be registered or examined according to each particular country’s substantive design patent laws. Thus, Hague applications will be examined in the U.S. in accordance with the standards of novelty, obviousness, written description, etc. Issues such as foreign filing licenses and the country where the invention or creation occurred should also be considered.
Originally published in Bloomberg BNA’s Patent, Trademark & Copyright Journal, 90 PTCJ 1867, 05/01/2015.
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