On December 5, the House of Representatives passed S. 3486 to implement the Hague Agreement Concerning Industrial Designs Patent Law Treaty (Hague Agreement) and the Patent Law Treaty (PLT). The bill awaits President Obama's signature.
The Hague Agreement lengthens the current design patent term from 14 to 15 years from the grant date. It also allows filing for protection of up to 100 designs in a single application at the USPTO as long as in the same classification under Locarno Agreement to obtain design protection in all countries that adopt the treaty. Note this is expect to help protect design owners against knockoffs. Further, it retains the current nonobvious requirement for design patents, which patent scholar Harold Wegner suggests is inconsistent with TRIPS. A request and payment at WIPO's International Bureau will renew a design registration. The bill will add Chapter 38 International Design Applications, 35 USC 381-390.
The PLT amends 35 USC 111(a) to reduce some requirements for a nonprovisional to get a filing date. For example, a nonprovisional application will no longer require at least one claim for a filing date, but still requires payment of fees, an oath or declaration, and at least one claims within the time set by the Director to avoid abandonment.
Under new 35 USC 111(c), the Director may prescribe the conditions for filing an application with a reference to a prior filed application, but will abandon an application for failure to submit a specification within the prescribed period.
Updated February 11, 2014: The Patent Law Treaties Implementation Act of 2012.
Copyright © 2012 Robert Moll. All rights reserved.