These are the changes made to the Hague Agreement –
- International design protection will be available to nationals of a contracting country, domiciled in a contracting country or have industrial or commercial establishment in a contracting state.
- An international design application may be filed either at the applicant’s national office or directly with the International Bureau of WIPO.
- Two-dimensional designs (textile designs) would be eligible for protection.
- A formalities examination will be carried out by the International Bureau and then the application will be published if it is found to satisfy the formalities. The publication will be made six months after the registration. This can be deferred to 30 months in some special cases.
- The International Bureau will, after the registration, send a copy of the application to each of the designated countries. These countries have to inform the Bureau within six months if national requirements are not met. However, countries that examine design applications for novelty or where opposition system exists, this time is increased to 12 months.
- Multiple designs may be included in the same application. It is however, required that all products to which such designs relate must be in the same class under the Locarno Classification. It can be seen that there are some similarities with the PCT system for patent applications. India is not yet a member of the Hague Agreement and hence, the above provisions or description may not be of immediate relevance to us. However, there is a strong need to monitor the developments in this area.