China joined the Hague System by becoming a signatory of the Geneva Act (1999) on 5 February 2022. Its membership will take effect on 5 May 2022, increasing the number of countries covered by this system to 94. Our Intellectual Property team takes a look at this news and its consequences.
China joined the Hague System by becoming a signatory of the Geneva Act (1999) on 5 February 2022. Its membership will take effect on 5 May 2022, increasing the number of countries covered by this system to 94.
As of that date, Hague System users will be able to make a centralised request for the protection of their designs in China at the same time as other Hague System member countries.
This is a significant step forward in the protection of designs in China.
· What is the Hague System?
The Hague System provides for and organises a centralised system through which to register applications for the protection of designs with the WIPO, World Intellectual Property Organization, throughout all of the signatory territories, i.e. 94 countries to date.
Each country carries out its own national assessment in line with legislation applicable throughout its territory.
China signed its membership of the Hague System on 5 February 2022. Its membership will be effective as of 5 May 2022. As of that date, the design registration procedure should be simplified for China.
The Special Administrative Region of Hong Kong and the Special Administrative Region of Macao (China) are not covered by this membership. Therefore, separate registrations will be required for those territories.
Within the framework of membership in the Hague System, each member party may issue statements to take into account relevant applicable national provisions.
China has opted, in particular, for the following:
· Mandatory additional content of the international application
China will request mandatory additional content on top of the elements necessary for the registration application. This content will take the form of a brief explanation of the characteristic elements of the designs.
· Designation fee
China has chosen to introduce an individual designation fee. The amount is as yet unknown. The Chinese authorities will clarify this point at a later date.
· Requirement of uniqueness for multiple filings
Designs for which a single registration application is made for China must meet the uniqueness of design requirements, meaning that the different designs that are the object of the single application must be related in order to form a unique concept. If this is not the case, their registration will be refused.
· Reproduction of designs
Specific reproduction methods for viewing designs will be required in order to present a complete registration request. The competent authorities will provide the conditions later.
· Notification of refusal of registration of a design
The notice period for the refusal to register a design has been extended to 12 months (compared to the default period of 6 months).
Finally, for information, the Chinese design law reform of 2021 extended the protection of designs from 10 to 15 years (compared to 25 years maximum for a French design).