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US and Japan join Hague System

On 13 February 2015, the United States (US) and Japan finalised their entry into the Hague system, an international agreement which allows applicants to register industrial design rights in multiple countries by means of a single application. The Hague system, once considered a slightly obscure international agreement, has now become a much more appealing and commercially relevant alternative for applicants wishing to register designs in more than one country.

The Hague system is administered by WIPO and participating territories can choose to sign up to one or both of two constituent Acts (the Hague Act and the Geneva Act). Applicants from a country party to one Act may seek protection for their designs in those other countries party to the same Act.

Importantly, a single application under the Hague system can include up to 100 separate designs in the same class, allowing costs to be kept down. The fees due depend on which particular countries or territories are designated in the application. A successful international registration lasts for five years but is extendable in five-year periods up to regional time limits. Another key benefit of the Hague system is that registration renewals are managed centrally, simplifying what could otherwise be a complex process for rights holders.

Applicants wishing to achieve protection in the US and Japan will be able to file design applications designating those countries from 13 May 2015. Other territories already covered by the Hague System include the European Union, the African Intellectual Property Organization and Korea (a full list of contracting parties can be found here).

This entry was posted in Designs.

Moroccan validation agreement coming into force

European patent applications filed from 1 March 2015, as well as international (PCT) applications filed from the same date which enter the European regional phase, will be able to be validated in Morocco. This change originates from a validation agreement signed by the President of the European Patent Office on 17 December 2010, which has now been implemented into Moroccan law. In order to take advantage of this option, a validation fee (initially €240) must be paid to the European Patent Office within 6 months of the date on which the European Patent Bulletin mentions the publication of the European search report, or, for European regional phase applications, the period for performing the acts required for an international (PCT) application to enter the European regional phase. Further formal requirements have not as yet been published.

Morocco is not a member of the European Patent Organisation and resulting European patents, validated in Morocco, will have the same legal effect as Moroccan national patents and will be subject to Moroccan law. It is expected that corresponding arrangements will come into force for Tunisia and Moldova in due course.

This entry was posted in European Patents.