Designs & Copyright
Posted on 19/5/2022

Ascension of China to the Hague System

You can now file a Hague registered design application covering China.

As of 5 May 2022, China has joined the international (Hague) registered design system. As such, it is now possible to designate China when filing any Hague registered design application.

The Hague registered design system allows a person to file one registered design application which designates multiple different territories worldwide, thereby seeking protection for a design in several different territories via one application. The ascension of China to the Act means it is no longer a requirement to file a separate national application in China in protection there is of interest – instead, a Hague application designating China (along with any other territories of interest) can be filed.

There are several requirements, specific to China, of a Hague registered design application. The most important one from the point of view of deciding whether to now designate China in a Hague application or continue to file a separate national application is the requirement for unity. If an application contains multiple designs, to avoid an objection in China the designs must be similar designs for the same product or two or more designs which are incorporated in products belonging to the same class and sold or used in sets. Further to this, an application can contain a maximum of 10 designs.

Unity is not a requirement in some other territories which can be designated in a Hague application, and even where it is a requirement the definition of what constitutes “unity” can vary from territory to territory. Accordingly, when filing a Hague registered design application for multiple designs, depending upon the designs in question in may still be best to seek protection for the designs via separate Chinese national applications rather than as a designation of the Hague application.

The ascension of China to the Hague Act does not include Hong Kong or Macau. As such, separate applications in these territories will still be required if they are of interest.

If you are interested in filing a Hague registered design application covering China or otherwise, and/or would like advice of this matter, please contact our designs department at Wilson Gunn or your usual contact.