NEWS: IMPORTANT CHANGES FOR US DESIGN PATENTS

Important changes are coming for US design patents.  These changes will be a great boon to US applicants, making it possible to use a single application to simultaneously seek protection of their designs in dozens of countries around the world.  This change comes as the US took measures last week to join the international system of design patent registration known as the Hague System.  These changes will take effect for applications filed from May 13, 2015.

IMPORTANT CHANGES FOR US DESIGN PATENTS

1. Design patent protection will be increased from 14 years to 15 years.

2. Applicants can use their single US design patent application to apply for protection in some or all Hague System countries.

3. A single application under the Hague System can include up to 100 designs. (US rules yet to issued)

PRACTICAL CONSIDERATIONS

1. Although a single application can be used for all eligible countries, additional fees apply for each country selected. Consider your budget in selecting the countries or country groups that are most important to your protection strategy.

2. Different countries within the Hague System have different drawing requirements. It will be critical that drawings in your single application meet the requirements of the countries important to you.

3. In determining which member countries to select, determine where your product will most likely be sold and the effectiveness of enforcement in each country being considered.

ADDITIONAL BACKGROUND

Although the current rules of the Hague System were established in 1999, the US did not agree to join the current system until the Patent Law Treaties Implementation Act of 2012. The final steps necessary for the US to join the system only occurred last week.

A list of countries that are currently members of the Hague System is available here. Interestingly, as a result of these recent US measures, several additional industrial nations are now taking measures to the join the international regime as well.

For more details on protecting your designs and crafting your global protection strategy, contact Zak Shusterman.

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