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International Registration Of Designs

Registration of Designs Internationally, is based on the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs. The system for International Registration of designs is referred to as the Hague System.

It is administered by the International Bureau of World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and consists of 34 Articles dealing with Registration of Designs. Paris Convention was adopted in 1883 for the protection of Intellectual Property Rights, it applies to patents, trademarks, industrial designs, etc.

This agreement was the very first step to ensure that the works of the creators were protected all over the globe. Another Agreement namely, The Locarno Agreement was established to classify Industrial Designs also known as the Locarno Classification. It classified the designs under various classes and sub-classes.

Who Can Use the Hague System?

According to Article 3 of the Hague System, any person that is a national of a State that is a Contracting Party or that has a domicile, a habitual residence or a real and effective industrial or commercial establishment in the territory of a Contracting Party, shall be entitled to file an international application.[1]

The system is not open to everybody; it is only open to applicants who fulfill the following criteria:

  1. A citizen of a contracting party;
  2. A person having a domicile in the terrain of the contracting party;
  3. Habitual Resident of the parties in contract; or
  4. The applicant has a real & effective industrial/commercial establishment in the terrain of the contracting party.
It was only after 1999, that an international application could be filed under the Hague System.

Where Can the Protection Be Obtained?

Protection can only be obtained in the Contracting states, who are a part of the same Act as the Contracting State, where the applicant has applied for registration. For example, if an applicant has claimed entitlement through a Contracting State bound by The Hague Act, 1960, he can only request safety in those Contracting States which are bound by The Hague Act, 1960. The Hague System cannot safeguard a design in a state which is not a party to the Hague Agreement. In order to shield a design in such a country, the applicant has to file a national application.

Process for International Registration of Design

The procedure for registration begins with Filing of the Application then a formal examination of the application is done by the International Bureau. Subsequently, publication is done in the 0fficial Journal of International Designs. Next, a substantial examination is done by the contracting parties where the applicant wants his design to be protected. The last step is the grant or denial of Registration.
  1. Filing of the application
    Filing of application is a process that has been explained in Article 4[2] of the Agreement. Filing for application on the international level is only through E-filing. E- filing is an easier, inexpensive and a quicker method to file international application. The Article discusses about two ways in which an application can be filed; Direct or Indirect Filing.

    Direct Filing is done with the IB[3], where the applicant has to go through security clearance of the parties to the contract. Whereas, Indirect Filing is a procedure where the applicant has to file an application through the office of the applicant’s contracting state.

    The International Application has to be in the prescribed language and shall be accompanied by: Data of the applicant; Copies of Reproduction; In the prescribed form with the prescribed fee; Details of the designated contracting party; an indication of the product which constitute the industrial design or in relation to which the industrial design is to be used.[4]

    An international Application can comprise up to 0ne Hundred Designs though they must be of the same class of the Locarno Classification[5]. The payment of fees is of three types and has to be done in Swiss francs; The basic fee; Publication fee; and Fee for each designated Contracting State.
     
  2. Formal examination
    After receiving the application, the IB indorses that it comprises of all the relevant information that is needed for a smooth registration process. In case of any defects, the applicant is informed about it and is asked to correct it with three months. If the applicant fails to do so, his application will be considered abandoned. in case of no flaws in the application, the IB will continue with recording the details in the International register and with Publication of the registration in the International Designs Bulletin.
     
  3. Publication of the Design
    After examination of the design and recording it in the International Register, the IB will Publish the Registration in the International Designs Bulletin. It takes place after six months of the registration date. It consists of all the relevant details of the design.
     
  4. Substantial Examination
    After publication in the International Bulletin, each designated contracting state has to move forward with substantial examination of such designs. The Hague System gives power to the office of the contracting state to refuse protection, in its region, to a design which does not fulfil the substantive conditions provided by its national law.
     
  5. Grant or Denial of Registration
    In a situation where the 0ffice finds no grounds for refusing protection, may issue a grant of protection. The 0ffice of the Contracting Party has the Right to Refuse, where the conditions or the grant of protection under the law of that Contracting Party are not met. A Notification of Refusal shall be communicated by the Office to the International Bureau. Such notification shall state all the grounds on which the refusal is based.[6]

Duration & Renewal of Protection

A design is granted protection from being exploited; such protection is granted only for a specific time period. According to Article 17[7] the Initial Term of protection is Five Years from the Date of Registration. It further states that Registration can be renewed for an extra five years only after following the prescribed procedure and submission of the given fee. In case of renewal of International Registration, the duration of protection in each of the States that are a part of the Contract shall be 15 years, from the date of the Registration.

After Renewal of Registration is done, the International Bureau will publish a notice stating the effect.it will send a copy of the same notice to the 0ffice of the Contracting States as well.

Effect of registration

If the Application of the applicant is not refused by the Selected State within the prescribed time limit or the refusal has been withdrawn by such state, the international registration will have the effect as a grant of protection in that particular State.

Conclusion
The 0bjective of The Hague Agreement is to protect the Designs that are created by people. At times an article is bought due to its attractive physical appearance and not due to its purpose. The significant role of Registration of Designs is to protect the Artisan, Creator, 0riginator or Inventor of a Design. 0nce a Design is registered, it gives its 0riginator a legal right to take an action against those persons who violate his right. The main 0bjective is to protect the 0riginators or the Creators from getting demoralized.

End-Notes:
  1. Article 3 of the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs-Entitlement to File an International Application
  2. Article 4 of the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs discusses about ways in which an Application can be filed.
  3. International Bureau of World Intellectual Property Organization (hereinafter referred to as IB)
  4. Article 5 of the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs- Contents of the International Application
  5. The Locarno Agreement also referred as the Locarno Classification has classified the designs under various classes and sub-classes.
  6. Article 12 of the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs- Refusal of International Application by the Designated 0ffice of the Contracting State.
  7. Article 17 of the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs talks about the various duration of Protection of Designs.

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