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Hague Agreement Adoption by U.S. Will Reduce Barriers to Global Protection of Designs

Posted on Feb 23, 2015 in Blog

U.S. applicants interested in protecting their designs outside the U.S. will soon have the option of filing a single international design patent application under the Hague Agreement. The Hague Agreement goes into effect in the U.S. on May 13, 2015.

Applicants will be permitted to submit up to 100 designs in one Hague Agreement design patent application. In addition, since the Hague Agreement design application is published, “provisional patent rights” will also be available to applicants, assuming that the corresponding U.S. design patent is substantially similar to the published Hague Agreement design application.

The term of U.S. design patents will increase pursuant to the Hague Agreement. Patents on U.S. design applications filed on or after May 13, 2015 will have a term of 15 years, rather than the 14-year term of design patents filed prior to that date. Accordingly, we recommend waiting until May 13, 2015 to file design applications whenever possible.

The changes are not limited to U.S. applicants. Applicants for design patents outside the U.S. will be permitted to enter the U.S. through the Hague Agreement. However, non-U.S. applicants are cautioned that examination of design applications in the U.S. may be substantially more rigorous than in other jurisdictions. As a single set of drawings is used in all designated countries in a Hague Agreement design application, it is highly recommended that Hague Agreement design applicants, who are considering eventually entering the U.S., comply with the stringent design application drafting rules of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office when the Hague Agreement design application is initially filed.

If you have any questions, please contact us.

– by Scott Slomowitz

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