Removal of requirement of a power of attorney for Hague Agreement applications

As announced on 9 November 2018, amendments have been made to the regulations governing the filing of Hague agreement applications, which should make it easier to file international registered designs.

The Hague agreement is an international registered design agreement, via which a single registered design application covering multiple territories can be filed. Territories party to the Hague agreement include the European Union, the US, Canada, Japan and South Korea. Several of these territories have joined the Hague agreement in the last few years, which has resulted in the agreement becoming a more useful route for registered design protection.

Prior to the Hague agreement, when seeking registered design protection it was necessary to file a registered design application in each territory of interest. Therefore, multiple registered design applications had to be filed if protection was sought in more than one territory. Since filing a single international application is both cheaper and easier to do than filing multiple national applications, the Hague agreement typically results in reduced filing costs when seeking registered design protection in multiple territories.

Currently, a power of attorney must be filed by an attorney (or other representative) when filing an international registered design application on behalf of an applicant. This means that the representative must get a signed power of attorney from the applicant prior to filing the application, which can be problematic if the applicant or (in cases where the applicant is a company) authorised person becomes unavailable due to unforeseen circumstances and/or there is a deadline associated with filing the application.

The amendment to the regulations means that, as of 1 January 2019, a power of attorney will no longer be required when filing the application. Instead, the international design office (WIPO) will assume a representative which files an application on behalf of an applicant is authorised to do so. The Hague system should therefore be easier to use (and so more useful) for both applicants and their representatives.

If you are interested in filing an international registered design application, or have any other questions in relation to registered designs or intellectual property in general, please feel free to contact one of our attorneys.


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