14 March 2018

UK joins Hague Agreement on International Design Registrations

Yesterday, the UK deposited its instrument of ratification to join the Geneva Act of the Hague Agreement on the International Registration of Industrial Designs.

This will come into effect in three months, that is, on 13 June 2018.  The UKIPO announcement can be found here, and WIPO’s announcement can be found here.

The Hague Agreement is a simple and cost-effective system for obtaining registered design protection in multiple participating countries through a single application, and the whole system is administered by the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO).  However, the Hague Agreement is a ‘closed’ system meaning that it is only available for use by applicants who are resident, domiciled or have a real and effective commercial establishment in a contacting state.

Until now, UK applicants had been able to use the system by virtue of the UK’s membership of the EU, the EU having joined in January 2008.  From 13 June 2018, however, UK applicants will be able to use the system independently of the UK’s membership of the EU, an  important development for post-Brexit. It will also mean non-UK applicants will be able to designate the UK (as well as the EU) in their international applications to obtain parallel UK and EU registered design protection via one application.

The UK will be the 68th member state of the Hague agreement, and 54th member of the Geneva Act, and as applicants may only designate member states which are also signatories to the same particular act of the Hague Agreement, applicants entitled to use the Hague Agreement by virtue of their UK residency or commercial establishment will only be able to designate the particular 54 states of the Geneva Act in their international registered design application

We will keep you posted with further developments in this matter as soon as they occur.  In the meantime, if you would like any further information on the Hague Agreement, or registered design protection in general, please contact Alex Brown at