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China joins Hague designs on 5 May 2022

4 May 2022

China can be designated in new Hague International design filings from 5 May 2022.

What does this mean?

Designs can now be protected in China and other countries of the Hague system, including the EU, Japan, Korea, the US and the UK, in one application.

This will be of benefit to international applicants and Chinese applicants.

Chinese residents filed some 55% of the worldwide design application total in 2020 so the Hague system is expected to be popular with Chinese applicants.

The advantage of filing under the Hague System is that the process is simple and very cost-effective. A single application will also make maintenance and renewal much easier in different jurisdictions.

Is Hague right for me?

The domestic examination process and legal standards for designating China in a Hague application will remain the same as for a directly filed Chinese design application.

Notably, the design must meet the strict ‘unity’ requirements and have sufficient views. In China the design generally needs to be shown from each side, and all images of the design must show exactly the same product – the same product with two different attachments may be considered different designs under Chinese law.

Inconsistency between views, overexposure or reflection in images and shading may also cause objection. It may be more difficult to remedy some of these deficiencies in a Hague application compared to a direct Chinese national filing.

EU law is generally more liberal as regards the number of views and shading but designating China in a Hague application alongside the EU means that both sets of national law requirements need to be met. The more countries added to one Hague application, the more complex these overlapping requirements become.

Therefore, it will be prudent for international and Chinese applicants alike to consider carefully whether the Hague system is appropriate for each case, considering the images of the design, the country coverage required, and the number of designs to be protected.

If you need help and guidance on how to use the Hague system or whether it is right for you then speak to Richard Worthington, head of designs group at Withers & Rogers.