46 countries are, as of August 2007, party to the Hague Agreement on the international registration of industrial designs. The agreement gives the owner of an industrial design the possibility to have his work protected in all those countries via one application with the International Bureau of WIPO, in one language, with one set of relatively modest fees.
Such a registration results in the same rights in each of the countries, as if the design had been registered there directly. It also facilitates the design's subsequent management.
Internal Market Commissioner Charlie McCreevy said: "The new legislation will make it possible for European businesses to safeguard their design rights globally with less bureaucracy and reduced costs." He added: "They will now be able to obtain and protect their designs internationally in a simple, affordable and effective way. This should further stimulate trade and innovation, create new commercial opportunities and boost integration within the EU Internal Market."
The EU already has its own Community Design system, established in 2003. Trademarks and designs registered with the Office for the Harmonization in the Internal Market in Alicante (Spain) are effective for the whole of the EU. The Hague system will allow for designs to be registered globally, for around twice the fee of a Community Design.
24 September - 3 October 2007: WIPO General Assembly (Geneva).
31 October 2007: WIPO Seminar on the Hague System of the International Registration of Industrial Designs (Geneva).
1 January: Hague System for the International Registration of Industrial Designs enters into force.