The USPTO announced US applicants will be able to file a single international design application either with WIPO in Geneva, Switzerland, or the USPTO to obtain protection in multiple countries on or about May 13, 2015.
Under the Hague system for the protection of industrial designs, US applicants will be able to register up to 100 designs in over 62 territories. Hopefully, this will greatly lower the cost of seeking foreign patent protection on designs.
Here is details from the USPTO announcement:
"U.S. innovators will soon have more options for pursuing multijurisdictional
protection for new industrial designs
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Commerce’s United States Patent and
Trademark Office (USPTO) today announced that the United States has deposited
its instrument of ratification to the Geneva Act of the Hague Agreement
Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs (Hague
Agreement) with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in Geneva,
This marks the last step in the membership process for the United States to
become a Member of the Hague Union. The treaty will go into effect for the
United States on May 13, 2015.
Currently, U.S. applicants wishing to pursue protection for industrial designs
in multiple jurisdictions must file individual applications in each of the
respective jurisdictions where industrial design rights are desired. When the
Hague Agreement enters into force for the United States, it will be possible
for U.S. applicants to file a single international design application either
with WIPO in Geneva, Switzerland, or the USPTO to obtain protection in multiple
economies. The Hague system for the protection of industrial designs provides a
practical solution for registering up to 100 designs in over 62 territories
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,” said Deputy Under
Secretary for Commerce for Intellectual Property and Deputy Director of the
USPTO Michelle K. Lee. “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.”
The Hague system offers applicants increased filing efficiencies and potential
cost savings in pursuing protection for their innovative industrial designs. As
envisioned under the Geneva Act, the United States will continue to
substantively examine design applications and to grant design rights in the
form of U.S. design patents, whether the application is filed pursuant to the
Hague Agreement or as a United States design patent application.
USPTO will soon publish the Final Rules governing USPTO processing and
examination of international design applications filed pursuant to the Hague
Agreement in the Federal Register. The Agreement, Title I of the Patent Law
Treaties Implement Act of 2012 (the implementing legislation for the Hague
Agreement in the United States), and the USPTO’s Final Rules are all expected
to go into effect on May 13, 2015. U.S. design patents resulting from
applications filed on or after May 13, 2015 will have a 15 year term.
The Hague system (www.uspto.gov/patent/initiatives/hague-agreement-concerning-international-registration-industrial-designs)
is expected to experience significant growth over the next few years with
recent and expected additions of several countries to the member list. In
addition to United States membership taking effect on May 13, 2015, South Korea
became a member effective July 1, 2014, and Japan is expected to become a
member in the same time period as the United States. Canada, China, and Russia
are also among the countries exploring membership in the near future.
For non-press inquiries please contact David Gerk, Patent Attorney, Office of
Policy and International Affairs (OPIA) at 571-272-9300."
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