Hague Agreement
By Colin B. Harris
| April 26, 2016
The USPTO's Design Day 2016, held April 19th, started off with a welcoming address from the Commissioner for Patents, Andrew Hirshfeld. Commissioner Hirshfeld noted the increasing importance of design patents, as U.S. design patent application filings have increased from 11,000 in 1987 to 37,000 in 2015. Commissioner Hirschfeld encouraged everyone to submit comments and examples for the application of the Written Description Requirement in Design Applications, which was published on April 15, 2016 (reported here). Commissioner Hirshfeld also announced that 15 design examiners will be working out of the USPTO's San Jose satellite office.
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By David. M. Longo, Ph.D.
| April 2, 2015
On April 2, 2015, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office ("USPTO") published its Final Rule on Changes to Implement the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs ("Hague Agreement").  80 F.R. 63, pp. 17918-17971.  These changes go into effect on May 13, 2015.  Some of the changes only apply to patent applications filed on or after September 16, 2012 (e.g., power of attorney, application by assignee, inventor’s oath/declaration, and application data sheet).  Other changes only apply to patent applications filed on or after December 18, 2013 (e.g., continuing applications and filing of a certified copy of a previously-filed application).
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By Patrick Miller
| February 13, 2015
On February 13, 2015, the United States deposited its instrument of ratification to the Geneva Act of the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs (“Hague Agreement”) with the International Bureau of World Intellectual Property Organization (“WIPO”). As such, the treaty will go into effect for the United States three months from the deposit date, on May 13, 2015. Japan is also understood to have deposited its instrument of ratification and is expected to become a member in the same time period as the United States.

As indicated previously on this blog, the Hague Agreement, generally speaking, establishes an international registration system which facilitates protection of industrial designs (i.e., design patents) in member countries and intergovernmental organizations (“Contracting Parties”) by way of a single, “standardized” international design application filed either directly with the International Bureau of WIPO or indirectly through an applicant’s Contracting Party (which will now include the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”)).

As for how the USPTO will process and examine international designs filed pursuant to the Hague Agreement, the USPTO has indicated they will soon publish their Final Rules in this regard, which are expected to go into effect on May 13, 2015 and apply to such international design applications filed on or after May 13, 2015. Among other things, U.S. design patents resulting from international design applications filed on or after May 13, 2015 pursuant to the Hague Agreement will have a 15-year term instead of the current 14-year term for U.S. design patents.
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By Patrick Miller
| November 11, 2014
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) recently updated its public and private Patent Application Information Retrieval (“PAIR”) graphical user interfaces to provide access to information regarding design applications filed pursuant to the Hague Agreement.  Such information will not be available, however, until entry into force of the Hague Agreement with respect to the U.S., which will occur three months after the U.S. deposits its instrument of ratification with the International Bureau of the World Intellectual Property Organization (“WIPO”), unless that instrument specifies a later date.

Generally speaking, the Hague Agreement establishes an international registration system which facilitates protection of industrial designs (i.e., design patents) in member countries and intergovernmental organizations (“Contracting Parties”) by way of a single, “standardized” international design application filed either directly with the International Bureau of WIPO or indirectly through an applicant’s Contracting Party.
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By Marc Albert Robinson
| February 4, 2014
As previously reported, on November 29, 2013, 78 FR 71869 was published as a proposed rule to implement the Hague Agreement. 

On February 4, 2014, the Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO) submitted comments on the proposed Hague rules.


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By Marc Albert Robinson
| December 20, 2013
The Patent Law Treaties Implementation Act of 2012 has resulted in new rules being proposed for implementing the Act. 

On October 21, 2013, 78 FR 62367 was published as a final rule to implement the Patent Law Treaty, which generally does not affect design patents, but does provide restoring the right of priority after the 6-month period to claim priority, within 2 months from the expiration of the 6-month period and upon grant of a petition that shows the delay was unintentional.


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By Audrey Pastoret
| April 10, 2013
Further to our prior coverage of the implementation of the Hague Agreement, we are pleased to publish the following from Audrey Pastoret, a guest of ours from France.

The Patent Law Treaties Implementation Act of 2012 signed by President Obama on December 18, 2012 implements the Hague Agreement in the United States. It is intended to provide industrial designs with protection in states and governmental organizations parties to this arrangement through a single international application effected at the WIPO. Before the Hague Agreement, an application had to be filed in every country where protection was desired, resulting in several applications being filed for a single design patent. Under the Hague agreement a single application can provide protection in multiple countries.


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By Anne-Raphaelle Aubry
| March 7, 2013
On March 1, 2013, Teresa Stanek Rea (Acting Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Acting Director of the USPTO) addressed the implementation of U.S. participation in the Hague Agreement on the Director’s Forum blog in "A New Chapter for Protection of Industrial Design for the United States."

The Patent Law Treaties Implementation Act of 2012, signed by President Obama, serves as the implementing legislation for both the Geneva Act of the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs (“the Hague Agreement”) and the Patent Law Treaty.


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By Marc Albert Robinson
| December 10, 2012
S. 3486 (the "Act") has passed the House and the Senate, and awaits signature by the President.  

The summary of this Act reads, with emphasis added:


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By Michel E. Bohn
| June 11, 2010
Brief History of the Hague Agreement


The Hague Agreement is part of the legal framework of the Hague System -- a system that provides a simplified mechanism for registering industrial designs in contracting states.  Under the Hague Agreement, an industrial design can be registered in any number of designated contracting states by filing a single international application, in a single language, with a single set of fees, and in a single currency.


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