United States Joins the Geneva Act of the Hague Agreement – International Registration of Industrial Designs

As of May 13th, 2015, inventors in the United States have new options for filing design patents in over 62 countries in one stroke.

Previously, U.S. applicants seeking protection for industrial designs (design patents) in multiple nations had to file individual applications in each of the countries where the product was to be sold. Now applicants can file a single international design application either with WIPO or the USPTO. The new rules allow for up to 100 designs in over 62 countries with the filing of one single international application.

“U.S. accession to the Geneva Act of the Hague Agreement will provide applicants with the opportunity for improved efficiencies and cost savings in protecting their innovative designs in the global economy.” “We are extremely excited about joining the Hague Union and contributing to the continued expansion and development of the Hague system which facilitates protection of industrial designs in design registration and examination systems alike.”

Deputy Under Secretary for Commerce for Intellectual Property and Deputy Director of the USPTO Michelle K. Lee.

The Hague system allows applicants to save considerably on their legal fees as they seek international markets. The entry of the U.S in the agreement was delayed as there was concern that U.S examiners would not be able to apply U.S. law to the applications. Under the current Geneva Act, the U.S. will examine the applications under the umbrella of U.S. patent law.

U.S. design patents applied for under this agreement after May 13th, 2015 will have a 15 year term.

Sections 401-405 of Part Four of the rules note with regard to drawings:

  • A single copy of “reproductions”;
  • Black and white or color;
  • Pasted or printed on A4 paper (white and opaque) held upright;
  • A maximum of 25 figures per page;
  • Arranged in orientation for publication;
  • Each figure must fall within a right-angled quadrilateral containing no other figure or part of figure and no numbering;
  • The photos and reproductions shall represent the industrial design alone, or the product in relation to which the industrial design is to be used, to the exclusion of any other object, accessory, person or animal;
  • Representations may not exceed 16 x 16 cms, but with respect to at least one representation, one dimension must be at least 3 cms;
  • At least a 5 mm margin;
  • Technical drawings, particularly with axes and dimensions, and explanatory text or legend in the representation, shall not be accepted;
  • Matter shown in a reproduction but for which protection is not shown can be indicated in the textual description, or by means of dotted or broken lines, or coloring;
  • Photographs must be of professional standard, and the pictured design must appear against a neutral background;
  • Retouching of photographs with ink or correcting fluid shall not be allowed;
  • The industrial design may comprise shading or hatching to provide relief;
  • Numbering of reproductions shall appear in the margin and may be accompanied by legends to indicate a specific view (e.g., front view, top view, etc.);
  • When the same industrial design is represented from different angles, the numbering of the views shall take the form of, e.g. 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, etc. for the first design, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3 etc. for the second design, and so on; and
  • The reproductions shall be presented in numerical order in the application.

Links of interest (5/14/2015):

http://www.uspto.gov/about-us/news-updates/united-states-deposits-instrument-ratification-geneva-act-hague-agreement http://www.wipo.int/treaties/en/text.jsp?file_id=337315