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UNITARY PATENT

In 2012 Member States and the European Parliament agreed on the "patent package" - a legislative initiative consisting of two...

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Community Designs to be Linked to International System

The EU Commission have announced that Community Designs will be linked to the Hague Agreement System for the International Registration of Industrial Designs, by 1 January 2008. With the adoption of the Geneva Act the Hague System, works somewhat like the Madrid Protocol registration system for trademarks. The Geneva Act permits member states to perform some national phase examination. It also allows the accession of regional offices such as OHIM. At present, there are only 47 member states of the Hague Agreement, of whom only around half have joined the Geneva Act. Many of the existing members are already part of the EU. Many major design filing nations, including the US, Japan, China, South Korea, Australia, Canada and New Zealand are not members.

The accession of the EU (through OHIM) will have two consequences:

  1. It will be possible for nationals of, or residents in, a member state of the Hague System to file an international application, designating the EU as a whole as a Community Design. The designation fees will be relatively low.

  2. It will be possible for EU nationals or residents to file an international design application, thereby designating non-EU members of the Hague agreement.

In view of the limited membership of the Geneva Act of the Hague agreement at present, and of the fact that most of the largest members are already EU states, the system will have only limited attractions at present. However, as new states join, its attractions will increase. Potential applicants will need to exercise great care, because the Hague System does not harmonise substantive design law: a design which meets the restrictive Hague Agreement requirements may nonetheless be invalid, or of narrow scope, in designated states. Many users will therefore prefer to continue to work through local counsel in each important country instead of using the Hague system.

Non-EU Hague (Geneva Act) countries which might be of interest to applicants are as follows:

Biggest economies - Countries within top 100 GDP (EU, for comparison, would rank top)

StateRank (GDP)Rank (GDP per head)
Turkey1869
Switzerland207
Singapore4425
Egypt51117
Ukraine52106
Croatia6449
Iceland935



Wealthiest - Countries within top 100 GPD per capita (EU, for comparison, would rank 26th)

StateRank (GDP)Rank (GDP per head)
Iceland935
Switzerland207
Singapore4425
Croatia6449
Botswana10658
Turkey1869
Namibia12590
The former Yugoslav Replublic of Macedonia12691
Albania11195