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The International Design Registration System is Available from May 13, 2015— Design Applications and Design Rights can be Managed at one time in Multiple Contracting Parties —

On May 13, 2015, the Geneva Act of the Hague Agreement, which stipulates the international registration system for industrial designs, officially entered into force in Japan. Therefore, from May 13, 2015, design rights can be acquired and managed in multiple member countries through simple procedures at low cost using this system.
This will support enterprises that have an excellent capacity for designing products in developing their business overseas.

1. Background

As the number of Japanese companies developing their business overseas has been growing, it has become a significant issue for Japan to prevent its products with outstanding designs from being counterfeited and to appropriately convey information on such excellent products to other countries in order to secure the global competitiveness of Japanese industry. Thus, it is effective that Japanese enterprises can acquire and practically use their design rights, one of intellectual property rights for protecting the exterior appearance of products.

Before the system was available, applicants were burdened with procedures and costs associated with industrial designs because they had to file an application with the patent office in each country using different languages, forms, and currencies to register their industrial designs in multiple countries.

In response to this situation, the government of Japan decided to accede to the Geneva Act of the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs (hereinafter referred to as the “Geneva Act”) in order to support Japanese enterprises that have an excellent capacity for designing products in developing their business overseas with respect to the improvement of the environment for internationally acquiring design rights. (On February 13, 2015, the government of Japan deposited an instrument of accession to the Geneva Act.)

2. Outline of the international registration system for industrial designs based on the Geneva Act.

The Geneva Act is an international treaty aiming to simplify applicants’ registration procedures for industrial designs in multiple countries and to reduce their costs for such procedures. Under the Geneva Act, by filing a single international application directly or via a domestic office (the Japan Patent Office for applicants in Japan) to the International Bureau of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), an applicant can in effect simultaneously file in multiple contracting parties. This system also enables integrated control of the design rights that were granted in multiple countries. Here are the main advantages of the international registration system for industrial designs based on the Geneva Act.

(1) Design rights can be acquired in multiple countries through a single procedure

For multiple countries and multiple designs (up to 100 designs), applicants only need to file a single international application using a prescribed application form, a single language (English, French, or Spanish), and a single currency (Swiss franc). Therefore the direct and indirect costs of acquiring design rights will be reduced.

(2) Applicants can easily manage the design rights to multiple designs in multiple countries

Applicants only need to go through a single procedure via the International Bureau of WIPO to renewal and transfer the international registration of designs and can easily manage the rights to multiple designs in multiple countries.

The Geneva Act also entered into force in the U.S. on May 13, 2015. Consequently, as of May 13, 2015, 49 countries and intergovernmental organizations, including the EU and the Republic of Korea, have acceded to the Geneva Act. From May 13, 2015, an applicant who is a national of or has domicile in any of the contracting parties to the Geneva Act or has a business establishment in any of the contracting parties to the Geneva Act will be able to utilize the international registration system in any of the contracting parties to the Geneva Act, including Japan.

3. Commemorative Symposium on Japan’s Accession to the Hague Agreement

On June 16, 2015, the Japan Patent Office will hold a symposium for users of the system inviting persons from WIPO and intellectual property offices in major countries to Japan as part of the promotion of the dissemination and utilization of the international registration system for industrial designs.

WIPO, which administers the international registration system for industrial designs, will explain the main points and advantages of the system. And also, the major countries where many Japanese enterprises file design applications will present information on topics such as points to remember when designating each country on filing an international application as well as national legal systems.

Event outline
Date: Tuesday, June 16, 2015 10:30-17:00
Venue: Tokyo Midtown Hall & Conference Hall B
Content: Lectures (simultaneous interpretation to be provided)
Registration limit: About 350 (admission free, pre-registration required)

Please refer to the following URL for application procedures and program details.
“Commemorative Symposium on Japan’s Accession to the Hague Agreement” website
http://web.apollon.nta.co.jp/Hague_agreement/index.htmlExternal Site Link
(in Japanese)

Information regarding the program of the symposium will be updated as required in the future.

Release date

May 13, 2015

Division in Charge

Design Division, Patent and Design Examination Department (Physics, Optics, Social Infrastructure and Design), JPO

Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry
1-3-1 Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8901, Japan Tel: +81-(0)3-3501-1511
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