China joins WIPO’s Hague System for the International Registration of Industrial Designs Effective May 5, 2022March 14, 2022

Earlier this month, the World Intellectual Property Organization (“WIPO”) announced that China has joined WIPO’s Hague System for the International Registration of Industrial Designs effective May 5, 2022.

An industrial design is a form of intellectual property that protects the ornamental or visual features of an article not related to its functionality. In general, to gain protection the design must be novel, or original to the designer. WIPO’s Hague System for the International Registration of Industrial Designs (the “Hague System”) allows an applicant design protection simultaneously in over 90 countries through one application, in one language, with one set of fees. This system is administered by WIPO and therefore offers centralized management of an applicant’s design across the participating countries, including for example, renewals.

To use the Hague System an applicant must be a citizen of a member country, domiciled in a member country, or have an industrial or commercial establishment in a member country. There are over 90 member countries, including the United Stated, the European Union, and as of May 5, China. An application may be filed in English and must contain at least one view of the design, and can include up to 100 different designs in the same class. The application fee includes a basic fee, a publication fee and a designation fee for reach member country. An application is examined by WIPO for adherence to formal requirements, and after formal requirements are met, the design is recorded in the International Register and published on the WIPO website. If any member country finds that a design does not meet its criteria for registration, it must notify the International Bureau of the registration refusal. The registration takes effect in every member country that does not issue a refusal. The registration is effective for five years and is extendable for further five-year periods up to the maximum duration for each member country.

With China’s participation, designers outside of China will have easier access to the Chinese market. Moreover, according to WIPO, Chinese residents filed 795,504 designs in 2020, about 55% of the worldwide total. These Chinese designers will be able to use the Hague System to more easily protect and promote their designs around the world.

Julie L. Spieker is an Intellectual Property Attorney in the MVS Biotechnology & Chemical Practice Group as well as the Mechanical and Electrical Practice Group. To learn more, visit our MVS website , or contact Julie directly via email .

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