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UK ratification of Hague Agreement

15 March 2018

The UK has now ratified the Hague Agreement for the International Registration of Industrial Designs.  This means that from 13 June 2018 the UK can be designated in new international design applications under the Hague system.

International design applications allow applicants to submit a single design application to the International Bureau of the World Intellectual Property Office and obtain design protection in up to 67 contracting parties, which include all European Union (EU) member states, USA, South Korea, Japan and Russia (Hague Contracting Parties).  The fees are calculated according to the number of designs and which territories have been selected, and are, conveniently, paid to a single entity.

The Hague system therefore provides a streamlined, cost effective process for obtaining and renewing design protection in several countries.

At present, design protection can be obtained in the UK through national registered design applications, registered community (EU) designs and international designs designating the EU (by virtue of the UK’s membership of the EU).

By joining the Hague Agreement, the UK has ensured that UK design protection will be possible using international design applications post-Brexit.

To avoid the current Brexit-related uncertainty applicants will be able to designate the EU and the UK, as well as other non-EU European countries such as Switzerland and Norway, in international design applications.

UK attorneys already familiar with UK design law are in an excellent position to provide advice on pan-European protection for designs.


Jennifer Unsworth
Designs Group

If you require further information on anything covered in this briefing, please contact Jennifer Unsworth (; 44 20 7940 3600) 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, March 2018