The UK joins international system for design registration

July 02, 2018

Last month, the UK officially entered the Hague Agreement for industrial designs, which offers a centralised procedure for the registration of designs in many jurisdictions, often providing significant cost savings for designers.

Generally speaking, industrial or registered designs protect the external appearance of a product, rather than how a product works.

Designers in the UK are currently able to apply for International design protection via the Hague Agreement on account of the UK’s membership of the EU, though this right will most likely be lost once the UK leaves the EU. The UK’s membership ensures that the Hague system will remain accessible to UK users after Brexit, and also ensures that Hague system users outside of the UK will be able to continue to access design protection in the UK via the Hague system.

The Hague system has in recent years become a more commercially attractive option for those seeking design protection abroad, with many important markets becoming accessible via the system. South Korea ratified the agreement in 2014, to be followed by the US and Japan in 2015. In February of this year Russia joined the agreement, with Canada and China taking steps to do the same.

As expected following the entry of major nations into the Hague Agreement, the number of international design registrations per year via the Hague system increased by 86% between 2014 and 2017.

Swindell & Pearson is a UK based firm of patent and trade mark attorneys that has been helping businesses and individuals protect and defend their ideas, innovations and brands for over 135 years. Based in the East Midlands, the firm has offices in Derby, Stoke, Wolverhampton and Stafford as well as in Sheffield. To find out how Swindell & Pearson can help you and your business with any intellectual property matters please get in touch via [email protected] or by telephone on 01332 367 051.