China submitted its accession documents to the 1999 Geneva Act of the Hague Agreement on February 5, 2022. This makes China the 94th country to join the Hague System for the international protection of Designs. Because of this, the 1999 Geneva Act of the Hague Agreement will enter into force in China on May 5, 2022.
What is the Hague System?
The Hague System provides a straightforward mechanism for international protection of industrial designs and enables applicants to apply for and manage industrial design rights in signatory countries through a singular application.
Currently, in order to acquire international protection of industrial design rights, applicants in China have to either file separate applications in all the countries they intend to seek protection without claiming priority right, or file separate applications in the member states of Paris Convention claiming priority right within 6-month priority period following the date they first file the application with China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA).
Highlights of the Hague System
Applications in one language – under the Hague System, applicants are allowed to file one application directly with the international bureau （ Chinese applicants can also file application through CNIPA） in one language (either English, French, or Spanish).
Cost efficient – compared to filing separate applications in different countries either directly or under Paris Convention, filing applications under the Hague System cuts costs approximately in half. This is due to the Hague System’s streamlined procedures, which can avoid inconveniences encountered when filing on a country by country basis (e.g., different domestic examination procedures, different languages, etc.)
More designs in a single application – under the Hague System, a single international application may comprise up to 100 designs, as long as all designs included in this application belong to the same Locarno Classification.
Long protection period – the initial protection period for industrial designs under the Hague System is 5 years, which can be renewed at least twice. In effect, this could offer at least a 15-year protection period of industrial designs.
China’s accession to the Hague System provides a convenient way of facilitating Chinese applicants to efficiently protect their designs internationally. Meanwhile, it also facilitates foreign companies to efficiently enforce their rights over their industrial designs in China.
DaWo’s team of intellectual property experts has extensive experience with protecting IP rights, and always closely follows these kinds of developments. Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions.