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UK to join Hague Agreement in 2018

9 May 2017

It has been announced that the UK intends to ratify the Hague Agreement for the International Registration of Industrial Designs by 31st March 2018 and will be in a position to launch the service on 6th April 2018.

The Hague Agreement enables applicants to seek protection of registered designs/design patents in over 66 territories through a single application. The system is administered by a single body – the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO) – and provides a simple and cost-effective solution to multi-regional design protection.

The European Union (EU) has been a Hague member for many years and so design protection in the UK is available through the Hague system by virtue of the UK’s membership of the EU. However, the UK is not currently a member in its own right and therefore its future withdrawal from the EU has hastened steps to join the Hague Agreement in a national capacity.

This is excellent news for applicants both in the UK and abroad with UK business interests, as the Hague system allows design protection to be sought in over 66 territories (that includes all EU member states, USA, South Korea and Japan [Members of the Hague Union]) with a single application. It also provides a cost-effective solution, as the filing and renewal fess are all paid to one entity and are calculated based on the number of designs and number of protected territories. In addition, the applications need only be filed in English or French – potentially saving on translation fees.

The UK joining the Hague system in its own right means that applicants will be able to continue to secure design protection in the UK through the Hague system post-Brexit, and also that UK based attorneys are uniquely well positioned to advise on pan-European design protection.


Richard Worthington
Designs group

If you require further information on anything covered in this briefing, please contact Richard Worthington (+44 1179 253 030) or your usual contact at the firm. This publication is a general summary of the law. It should not replace legal advice tailored to your specific circumstances.

© Withers & Rogers LLP, May 2017