European Union: The United Kingdom Is Now A Member State To The Hague Agreement

It is now possible, as of 13 June 2018, to designate the UK as an individual country in a Hague design registration.  The Hague System for the International Registration of Industrial Designs, administrated by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), provides a mechanism for an industrial design to be registered in over 60 jurisdictions via a single application.

Availability of the Hague System

The Hague System coexists with other design registers of the national patent offices and is available subject to the following considerations.

  • The Hague System can be considered an exclusive club, and it is a closed system similar to the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT).  Those wishing to use the Hague System need to qualify by domicile, nationality, place of business and/or residence.
  • On a practical level, even though the Hague System fulfils its promise of a single point of contact for submitting a design application, the rules on the effects of design protection are not harmonised across Hague member states.  In order to achieve a comparable scope of protection in different countries, it may be necessary to file different design applications complying with different formal and substantive requirements.
  • Different member states apply different grace periods to protect a design registration from invalidity in view of a disclosure pre-dating the registration.  Some member states offer no grace period at all and some allow up to 12 months, with the effect that the same design may be validly registered in some countries and would be invalid in others.
  • Publication time lines differ across member states, with some jurisdictions allowing publication very soon after filing.  This requires careful preparation of a filing strategy to avoid premature disclosure of a design intended to remain secret for a limited period of time after filing.  Indeed, publication of a Hague design registration may invalidate a later design registration for the same design in a country without a grace period.
  • As the Hague System allows designations of foreign countries from the outset, it may still be necessary to secure a foreign filing licence from a national office for each design in a registration.

Tips for using the Hague System

Furthermore, particularly for users familiar with design registrations administrated by the UKIPO and the EUIPO, the Hague System differs in a few aspects which should be considered during preparation of a design filing strategy. 

  • The states in which protection is sought need to be declared on filing.  It is not possible to add designations after filing.
  • Likewise, the eligibility requirements of the applicant need to be fulfilled on filing.  Particularly in the field of industrial designs which often involves commissioned work, it is important to clarify ownership of each design variant.
  • It is possible to file multiple designs in a single application, benefitting from a fee reduction.  However, the eligibility requirements for a multiple design fee reduction differ in some jurisdictions.  It is not possible to utilise multiple-design status for some designated jurisdictions and not for others.
  • A few member states, such as Norway or the US, have strict rules on declaring the identity of each designer.  This is in contrast to the UKIPO which does not impose this requirement, and in contrast to the EUIPO which allows a "team" of designers to be named.
  • Applications filed by a legal representative need to be accompanied by a Power of Attorney, and this is a requirement on filing – stricter than may be known from corresponding PCT rules.
  • When filing online, the WIPO e-filing system allows selection only of existing product indication terms.  In some jurisdictions, this may affect the scope of protection or eligibility for fee reductions.
  • WIPO charges fees that are not used by the UKIPO or EUIPO, such as a word-count based fee for descriptions exceeding 100 words.
  • The Hague System offers certain benefits such as the utilisation of the Priority Document Access scheme, which can avoid post-filing costs for substantiating a priority claim.

European coverage

Dual coverage for design registrations in the UK and in the EU may indeed be popular.  Since the UK's referendum in June 2016 to leave the European Union ("Brexit"), it has been reported that design registrations in the UK increased by 95% (in August 2016, compared with August 2015).  This may at least in part be influenced by dual filings of registrations in both the UK and the EU, driven by the desire to ensure design protection is in force in the UK regardless of the post-Brexit status of an EU-wide design registration in the UK.

With regard to obtaining single-registration coverage in both the UK and the EU, the formal requirements, as well as the scope of protection provided by design registrations, has been harmonised between the UK and the EU:  an application prepared conforming to either UK or EU requirements will usually provide a comparable scope of protection in both jurisdictions.  As such, the Hague System is an attractive option to register designs designating the UK and to include, at this opportunity, EU coverage in the same application.

Outlook for the Hague System

The UK's accession to the Hague System coincides with a phase of increased momentum for the Hague System.  Originally signed as the "Hague Agreement" in 1925, the Hague System had not been ratified by many large industrial nations until recently; however, in the last three years, the USA, Japan and Russia have joined the Hague System.  Canada and Australia, too, have in the meantime concluded preparatory consultations (Canada in January 2018, Australia in May 2018), and such consultations are expected to be followed by an accession to the Hague System in the foreseeable future.  Of perhaps growing importance is the possibility to designate the Democratic People's Republic of Korea via the Hague System since 2016.

Based on the recent momentum in accessions, the Hague System is likely to become a powerful tool in obtaining design protection across a number of "blocs" that otherwise do not offer a common design register.  For those wishing to register a design in Europe, the Hague System allows designating almost all countries in geographical Europe, both EU and non-EU.  At the same time, the Hague members include a large number of Commonwealth nations and, once Canada joins, also the entire G7/G8 bloc.

Your usual Marks & Clerk attorney can guide you to utilise the Hague System to its best effect.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
In association with
Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions