CHINA JOINS WIPO’s INTERNATIONAL DESIGN SYSTEM MAKING PROTECTION EASIER AS FROM 5 MAY 2022

On 5 February 2022, China deposited its instrument of accession to the Hague Agreement, which will enter into force in China on 5 May 2022. China’s joining of the WIPO’s Hague System for designs, will ensure easier protection for the Chinese market as it will be possible to secure international design protection in China. Designers in China will in parallel also be able to protect and promote their designs overseas more cheaply and easily.

On 5 February 2022, China finally deposited its instrument of accession to the Geneva Act (1999) of the Hague Agreement concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs (“the Hague Agreement”). The Hague Agreement forms the backbone of WIPO's Hague System. Since the amendment of China’s Patent Law increasing design patent term from 10 to 15 years (entry into force on 1 June 2021), China’s joining of the international Hague System has been expected. This amendment enabled China to sign on to the Hague Agreement, which requires a 15-year term for designs.

China is the 68th contracting party to the 1999 Act and 77th member of the Hague Union, bringing the total number of countries covered to 94. With China’s accession, the Hague System will now cover nine out of ten of the world’s top economic markets (India excluded).

China’s instrument of accession specifies that the Hague Agreement will not be applied in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region or the Macao Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China until otherwise notified by the Government of the People’s Republic of China.

The Hague Agreement governs the international registration of industrial designs. The Hague System enables an applicant to file a single international design application to register designs in more than 90 countries and therefore eliminates the need to file separate and multiple applications in individual countries or regions. The Hague Agreement will enter into force in China on 5 May 2022. From that date, Applicants will be able to designate China as part of an International Design Application along with other major jurisdictions, securing international design protection in China and facilitating the expansion of their business into one of the world’s largest and most dynamic markets.

Designers in China in parallel will be able to protect and promote their work overseas more cheaply and easily, helping them to expand into international markets, as they will be able to quickly seek international protection for their designs in as many of the 94 countries covered by the Hague System as desired. Also worth mentioning is that in 2020 Chinese residents filed a total of 795,504 designs, representing 55% of the worldwide total.

On China’s accession to the Hague System, WIPO Director General Daren Tang stated:

“China’s accession to the Hague System means that the design community in China will find it easier to protect and bring their designs out of China, and overseas designers will find it easier to move their designs into one of the world’s largest and most-dynamic markets.”

From 5 May 2022, more information will be available in the WIPO’s Hague System Member Profiles detailing China's domestic laws, procedures and requirements for international design protection.


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