China: China joins The Hague Design Registration System
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On February 5, 2022, China deposited its instrument of accession to the Geneva Act (1999) of the Hague Agreement with the Director General of WIPO. The Hague design registration system will expand further to include 77 member states, effectively covering 94 countries.
The Hague System for the International Registration of Industrial Designs is administered by WIPO and aims to provide applicants with a simple and cost-effective route to seek protection for a design in multiple Member States on the basis of a single request in one language and one set of fees.
To prepare for joining the Hague System, China updated its design patent law on June 1, 2021 to align with the provisions of the Hague Agreement. Major areas of refinements include:
- increase the term of protection for designs from 10 to 15 years
- provide protection on partial designs
- allowing design requests to claim national priority
China has been the top submitter of design applications for more than a decade. In 2020, China received 770,362 design applications, representing 55.5% of all applications filed globally (source: World Intellectual Property Indicators 2021 – Figure C16. Equivalent application design counts for top 20 origins, 2020). The Hague system is expected to receive huge support from Chinese applicants. In fact, a small number of pioneering Chinese companies have already filed international design applications from their overseas offices in other Hague member states, making China the ninth largest user of the Hague System in 2020, even before the Hague Agreement enters into force. in the countryside.
The advantage offered by the Hague system is twofold and bidirectional. In 2020, 18,023 design applications were filed in China by non-resident applicants (source: World Intellectual Property Indicators 2021 – Figure C10. Application designs count for top 20 offices, 2020) . From May 5, 2022, when the filing will take effect, the Hague System will also provide foreign applicants with an alternative route to seek industrial design protection in China based on an international application filed with the International Bureau of WIPO, other than filing an application for separate Chinese nationality. application.
Meanwhile, China has clarified that the instrument of accession will not be applied in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region or the Macao Special Administrative Region since the intellectual property systems in the two regions are governed by local laws. under the “one country, two systems” constitution. principle.
Originally published February 9, 2022
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