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“Hague” Filing for Overseas Design Protection — Available May 13

Americans can file international industrial design applications on WIPO’s* on-line filing system, starting May 13, 2015. The US has taken the final step to join the Hague Agreement, which allows a US applicant to file to register up to 30 related product designs at once in up to 62 participating territories. The fee depends on how many designs, and what countries are designated. A typical fee (on WIPO’s tutorial) comes to 943 Swiss francs (about $950 US), but few applications are typical. *(World Intellectual Property Organization, located in Geneva; see ).
Also, US design patents that are applied for on or after June 13, 2015 will have fifteen-year terms, in place of the current fourteen-year term. Presumably, most US applicants will be filing a US design patent application first, then using that as the basis for priority in a Hague international filing.
Most of Europe and much of Africa participates in the Hague Agreement. Japan, like the US, is just now joining, and Korea is a recent member. In the Americas, though, only Dutch-speaking Surinam currently belongs, but Canada and Brazil are considering joining in the near future.
The USPTO is expected to announce Hague design application rules and procedures soon.