Canada: Designers, Êtes-vous Prêts Pour Les Enregistrements De Dessins En Vertu Du Système De La Haye?

Le 13 mai 2015, l'adhésion des États-Unis au système de La Haye est devenue effective, permettant par le fait même aux entreprises canadiennes ayant un établissement d'affaires réel aux États-Unis de déposer leur demande d'enregistrement en vertu de cette convention internationale. Les autres entreprises canadiennes pourront sans doute le faire sous peu, car l'adhésion du Canada est prévue pour 2016. Que devez-vous faire pour vous y préparer?

Avant d'entrer dans les détails de l'élaboration d'une stratégie internationale en propriété intellectuelle, j'aimerais inviter les nouveaux, ou ceux qui ne connaissent pas les dessins industriels et leur distinction par rapport à un brevet «utilitaire» ou «d'invention», à lire mon article intitulé «Apple c. Samsung et la guerre des brevets».

Maintenant que tous nos lecteurs sont au même niveau et qu'ils apprécient les avantages associés à l'exclusivité sur les caractéristiques visuelles de leurs produits, étudions les avantages et les inconvénients de l'approche internationale en vertu du système de La Haye en comparaison avec ceux de l'approche nationale traditionnelle.

Tout d'abord, il importe de rappeler que l'approche nationale traditionnelle avait (et continue d'avoir) un volet international en ce sens qu'en vertu de la Convention de Paris, il est possible, une fois une première demande d'enregistrement du dessin déposée dans un premier pays, de déposer des demandes d'enregistrement du même dessin dans d'autres pays qui conserveront la date du premier dépôt, pour autant que ces dépôts subséquents soient faits à l'intérieur d'une période de 6 mois suivant la demande initiale et que certaines autres formalités soient respectées.

Ceci dit, les autres dépôts doivent être présentés individuellement aux différents états sélectionnés, ce qui génère des taxes gouvernementales et des frais de spécialistes locaux sur une base nationale. Le coût exact dépend directement du nombre de pays.

La date initiale peut être très importante à préserver, car elle est la date à laquelle l'évaluation de la nouveauté du dessin est évaluée. Ainsi, ce délai de 6 mois permettait aux détenteurs de dessins d'avoir un peu de répit avant de devoir engager ces frais nationaux.

Six mois plus tard, il ne fallait toutefois pas trop tarder car les différents pays avaient différentes exigences concernant certaines formalités. Ceci pouvait requérir des jeux de figures additionnels et même jeter un doute sur la validité de la date initiale. L'encadré ci-dessous présente des exemples de telles formalités:

L'objectif du système de La Haye est de simplifier les choses pour ceux qui désirent réserver leurs droits dans plusieurs pays en leur permettant de couvrir tous les pays membres avec une seule demande d'enregistrement. La liste des pays membres est disponible ici http://www.wipo.int/hague/fr/.

Ainsi, le demandeur présente une seule demande d'enregistrement au Bureau international (l'OMPI) et paye une seule taxe (en francs suisses), ce qui sera beaucoup moins coûteux que de déposer des demandes d'enregistrement nationales dans plusieurs pays.

Le Bureau international possède, en principe, l'autorité d'examiner la demande en ce qui a trait aux formalités et enregistre le dessin (et le publie) s'il répond aux critères formels du Bureau international.

Par contre, chacun des états désignés aura alors 6 ou 12 mois pour émettre un refus d'enregistrement.

Le refus d'enregistrement ne peut, toujours en principe, viser les formalités, mais peut viser tout autre critère dit «de fond», propre au pays, tel que:

  • Manque d'originalité
  • Manque de détails ou de cohérence ne permettant pas d'interpréter complètement la forme tridimensionnelle du produit
  • Manque d'unité entre les différentes variantes

Un appel du refus d'enregistrement ne peut être logé qu'auprès de l'autorité nationale, ce qui demandera typiquement de retenir les services d'un agent local et pourrait s'apparenter aux démarches d'examen typiques de la voie nationale.

Il est important de noter qu'un refus d'enregistrement pourrait, au moment où il est signifié, être irrémédiable si une stratégie appropriée n'a pas été prévue au moment du dépôt de la demande internationale. Par exemple, l'objection pourrait demander une correction au dessin international alors que la procédure internationale ne permet pas une telle correction.

Lorsque les détails administratifs seront connus en ce qui a trait à l'adhésion du Canada, nous serons plus à même de déterminer si la procédure nationale est préférable à la procédure internationale à la lumière des circonstances spécifiques d'un dossier donné.

Alors à quand l'adhésion du Canada? Sachez que le Canada a déjà signé la convention et que les changements législatifs ont reçu la sanction royale. De nombreuses étapes restent toutefois à être franchies. Plusieurs indices portent à croire que l'adhésion deviendra effective en 2016.

Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP

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