International design registrations
Since 2008, it has been possible for Danish citizens and entities to file an international design application through the Haag system. The Haag system consist of 3 international agreements, including the Genève agreement, which Denmark and the rest of the EU acceded to in 2008, making us a part of the international design cooperation.
The Haag system makes it possible to apply for design protection in multiple countries with a single application. The application designates the countries, where the applicant wants protection, and as a Danish applicant it is even possible to file an international design application through the Haag system designating Denmark without a prior Danish application. That way, the applicant can skip a step and go straight for the international registration.
The application is written in English and sent to WIPO, who acts as the administrative authority. The application must contain information about the applicant, a reproduction of the design, and a classification of the product for which the design will be used. If the requirements are met, the design is registered and published in WIPO’s international design register.
After publication and registration, WIPO forwards a copy of the application to the authorities of the designated countries, where the application is assessed in accordance with the country’s national rules for design protection. If the application is not in accordance with the national laws, the application will be refused from registration – but without it having an effect for the other countries designated in the application.
The fee for an international design registration is paid directly to WIPO and consists of a basis fee, a designation fee for each country, and a publication fee. The size of the fees depends on the designated countries, the number of words in the application, the number of reproductions of the design, and the size of the applicant – a company categorized as a so-called “small entity” will for example get a 50% fee reduction.
At the moment, the Haag system has 65 members – including the EU, which can be designated as one. The system also includes countries such as Norway and Switzerland.
In 2015, USA and Japan joined the system as well, and it is therefore now possible to designate these countries in an international application. This was a welcome addition to the system, as USA in particular has extensive and costly application processes for design registrations. With the Haag system, it is now possible to make one collective application – designation, for example, both USA and EU.
Although important countries such as Russia and China are not yet part of the Haag system, the current system with its 65 members is already a big step in the right direction. The system streamlines the application process and makes it easier to obtain international design protection.
If you wish to register a design, or want to learn more about international design registrations, you’re welcome to contact us.
By Mia Storm