Changes to ‘Address for Service’ rules in the UK
From 1 January 2021, new UK intellectual property applications and oppositions will need a UK address for service.
The Hague Agreement for the International Registration of Industrial Designs enables applicants to file a single “international” design application with the International Bureau (IB) of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), covering many countries, including the USA, Japan and the EU.
Even though the UK is not currently party to the Hague Agreement, UK applicants can file international applications by virtue of the UK’s membership of the European Union, as the EU is a party to the Hague Agreement.
If this situation does not change, then after the UK has exited the EU in 2019, UK businesses and design owners wouldn’t be able to use the Hague Agreement system, as only applicants resident in a country or region which is a party to the Hague Agreement can use it. UK applicants would instead have to file individual applications in each country, increasing both costs and time.
However, the UK Intellectual Property Minister, Jo Johnson, recently announced that the UK will ratify the Hague Agreement by 31 March 2018.
The UK government’s announcement is good news for UK businesses, as it means UK applicants will be able to file international design applications under the Hague Agreement post-Brexit. This will be an important development for UK companies trading throughout the EU, and globally, as it will enable them to obtain protection more efficiently through a single application rather than through filing separate applications for national protection in each country or region.
Furthermore, the Hague Agreement is very cost-effective for applicants as there is only a single fee to be paid to WIPO. Moreover, it lessens the administrative burden of owning and maintaining the design registrations as any changes to, or renewals of, the registrations can be recorded through a single action as opposed to having to record the changes and/or renewals against each individual registration.
If you want further information about the Hague Agreement for the International Registration of Industrial Designs or you would like advice on registering a UK Design right or EU Community Registered Design right, please do not hesitate to contact us.