All new design fulfilling the requirements of the states designated in the application are registrable designs.
It is possible to claim the priority of an earlier first design filed in a member state of the Paris Convention within 6 months of that first design application. If, however, it is a first filing, the design application can be the basis for a priority right when applications are filed for the same object in other states party to the Paris Convention.
Who May Apply for an International Design
Any natural or legal person who is a citizen or resident of a member state of the Hague Agreement or who has a true and operative industrial or commercial enterprise in one of those states may apply for an international design registration.
Applicants may only be represented by qualified consultants holding membership in the Italian Industrial Property Consultants Institute, or by attorneys-at-law.
Where to File the Application
Applications may be filed at the head offices of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in Geneva, Switzerland.
Application for protection of an international design may be filed regardless of the existence of a prior national design.
Multiple International Designs
With a single application it is possible to request protection for a group of designs, up to a maximum of one hundred, as long as they belong to the same class of goods of the international classification of Locarno on designs.
French and English are the official languages to be used in the application.
The list of member states of the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs can be downloaded from the WIPO web site (.pdf, 21 K).
Designation of States
The designation of states in which the applicant intends to obtain protection for the design must be indicated in the application. Applicants may only designate states that have pledged compliance to the agreement or texts thereof which their own states have also ratified.
Designation of the European Union
The designation of the European Union is possible in an international registration under the Geneva text. This international registration will have the same effects in the territory of the European Union as a Community design.
Rights Conferred by the Application
Filing an application for an international design registration, in terms of the protection it provides, is equivalent to filing national applications in all the states designated in the application.
Publication of the Application and Accessibility by Third Parties
Upon filing the application, the applicant may request that the application be published, and therefore made accessible to third parties, in a subsequent period which cannot exceed 12 months from the filing or priority date.
Examination and Searches
In some states under national law applications undergo examination and searches to verify novelty are conducted.
The duration of an international design registration depends on the duration of protection provided by the laws of individual member states. Therefore, it can vary according to the states designated in the application.
Maintenance fees are due every 5 years.
International design registrations can be assigned only to individuals or entities entitled to apply for international design registrations with the same criteria established for the designation of states. International designs can also be licensed to third parties.
An International design registration gives the owner the right to request customs protection, involving the seizure of counterfeit products at customs.
Applicable International Agreements
The Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs: in the London text of 1934, or in the Hague text of 1960, or in the Geneva text of 2003.