The Hague System, the international registration system for industrial designs, will reach a new high point when Mexico officially joins later this year. The Hague Agreement will enter into force in Mexico on June 6, 2020. With Mexico’s entrance in the system, the list of countries and intergovernmental organizations will now number 74. Mexico’s accession is also a significant milestone, giving Mexico membership in all three of the international e-filing systems for intellectual property (patents, trademarks, and designs).
Currently under the Hague system designs can be registered through the Patent Offices in the following member countries and regions: the African Intellectual Property Organization (OAPI), Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brunei, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Canada, Côte d'Ivoire, Croatia, Denmark, Egypt, Estonia, European Union (EU), Finland, France, Gabon, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Mali, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Namibia, Netherlands, Niger, North Korea, Norway, Oman, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, Samoa, San Marino, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Serbia, Singapore, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Suriname, Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, and Vietnam.
After Mexican membership comes into force in June, applicants can designate Mexico in their international design applications (“IDAs”). The Hague system has grown in recent years making it an attractive filing venue for design rights applicants. The Hague system can be both an efficient and easy choice for applicants looking to file globally because there is just one application, one language, and one set of filing fees. However, the Hague system does not eliminate substantive examination or patentability requirements in any country, therefore, local rules and regulations should be considered before designating Mexico or any country in an IDA.
This article appeared in the March 2020 issue of MarkIt to Market. To view our past issues, as well as other firm newsletters, please click here.