New, inexpensive way to get a design patent world-wide coming May 13

by John Roberts on May 7, 2015

The Geneva Act of the Hague Agreement concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs (Hague Agreement) will go into effect for the United States on May 13, 2015. Accordingly, beginning May 13, 2015, it will be possible for U.S. applicants to file a single international design application either with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) or through the USPTO as an office of indirect filing to obtain protection in a number of countries that are party to the Hague Agreement. In addition, applicants filing international design applications on or after May 13, 2015 will be able to designate the United States for design protection. U.S. design patents resulting from applications filed on or after May 13, 2015 will have a 15 year term from issuance.

This is a big deal because previously, there was no way to easily nationalize a design patent in different countries. This new method will provide an inexpensive way for companies to protect the non-functional, ornamental aspects of their design throughout most of the world (similar to product trade dress). While the protection is typically narrow in scope, it can be used to effectively stop direct knock-offs.

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John Roberts


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