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The International Protection of Industrial Designs

Written by Waheedan Jariwalla on 29 January 2010

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The Hague Agreement concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs offers designers a simplified means of applying for protection of a design. Through this, a single international application can give protection in several countries. This agreement is administered by the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO).

The Geneva Act of the Hague Agreement allows for the accession of intergovernmental organisations; the European Commission acceded to the Geneva Act of the Hague Agreement on 1 January 2008. This has now allowed access to the Hague system for designers in the EU, including designers in the UK.

The benefits incurred upon applicants wishing to register designs internationally include: no need to provide translations of the documents or to keep watch on the different deadlines for renewal of a great number of national registrations, and no need to pay a series of national fees and fees to agents in different countries.

This accession allows the designation of the EC in an international registration under the Geneva Act. This international registration will have the same effects in the territory of the EC as a Community design which is administered by the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM).

Applicants will therefore with a single application be able to obtain protection of a design throughout the European Union and also any of the countries which are members of the Geneva Act of the Hague Agreement.

Neither the Intellectual Property Office nor the OHIM is a receiving office. This means that applications for international registrations must be filed directly with WIPO.

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