Date: 14 May 2018
By Tim Pendered
The UK is taking steps to get its IP ducks in line in time for Brexit. In our sister publication Patent issues, we report on ratification of the Unified Patent Court Agreement. Here we report on ratification of the Hague Agreement on industrial designs.
The UK instrument of ratification of the Hague Agreement was deposited in Geneva on 13 March 2018 and will come into effect on 13 June 2018. From that date, applicants from participating states can use the system for industrial design protection in the UK, and vice-versa.
At present, UK businesses have access to the Hague Agreement system of design registration, but only via the EU’s membership. With Brexit looming there is a need for the UK to join in its own right (though the decision to join had already been taken before the Brexit referendum).
If UK is designated, publication will not be deferred
There is a practical twist for applicants of the system extending to the UK. Whereas applicants from most Hague Agreement countries can elect to defer publication for 30 months from filing, UK domestic law does not provide for such a long deferment, so the UK has implemented a deferment of only 12 months. Accordingly, if you designate UK you have to accept a shorter deferment for everywhere.
It is at present not clear whether existing designations of the EU will be deemed in future to include a national GB designation, or whether there will be a need to “convert” to a national UK design.