International Industrial Design


International Industrial Design Registration Procedure and Costs -

The International Industrial Design registration is another convenient system allowing worldwide protection of designs

using a single, simplified and cost-effective procedure governed of one administrative authority – the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)

The International Industrial Design Registration procedure is also known as the Hague System, which allows its users to acquire protection of products’ aesthetic features in over 80 countries that are member states of the Hague Agreement


Advantages of the International Design Registration


The International Design registration has several advantages for the owner of the IR Design. The application of the International Design Registration is filed in one language – English, French or Spanish; payment of a single set of fees in one currency CHF; resulting in one registration; subsequent changes of all kinds can be managed through a single procedure in very easy steps; IR Design renewal is cheaper and easier to administer. In cases of multiple application up to 100 industrial designs may be registered with 1 application.


Thus, the Hague System creates favorable conditions for quick and cheaper protection of designs in multiple markets, compared to the cumbersome and long-lasting process of filing a whole series of applications for national(or regional) design registrations. The international design procedure eliminates the obligation to file individual design applications in each country or region of interest, where the different requirements of national legislation do not have to be met, at the same time reducing the costs of registering the marks, removing the translation requirements prescribed by each country, avoid the design attorney’s expenses in individual countries, it is not necessary to monitor the different terms of protection in a separate countries and related payments of numberless official fees in various currencies.


What is the effect of IR Design Registration?


From the date of the IR design’s registration and if no refusal is notified by a given designated Contracting Party within the prescribed time limit (or if such refusal has subsequently been withdrawn), the protection of the design in each of the designated countries is the same as if the design had been the subject to national design registration filed directly with the national IP Office of that Contracting Party. Therefore, the International Design registration results in a bundle of national design registrations. However, national laws subsequently govern the allowance of the registration in each territory, albeit the International design application has international character. Hence, an international application may be successful in some designated countries and refused for others.


An international design shall, however, have no effect in the State of origin if the laws of that State so provide.


In contrast to the International Trademark Registration system, applicants for International Design Registrations needn’t have a national/regional application or registration before filing an international design application.

For instance, Bulgarian applicants neither need to have already registered Bulgarian Industrial Design or filed application for Registration of Bulgarian Industrial Design, nor already registered Community Industrial Design (RCD) or filed application for Registration of Community Industrial Design (RCD).


The scope of protection is generally is defined by the reproductions (representations/views) of the design provided in the international design application.


An international design registration is effective for an initial term of 5 years. It may be renewed for a further periods of 5 years on payment of the prescribed International design renewal fees.  The minimum duration of protection shall be at least 15 years, subject to renewal, and up to the expiry of the total term of protection as prescribed by each Contracting Parties’ respective laws.


Who can file application for International Design Registration?


The Hague system is a closed design filing system, which practically means that only design applicants who are residents, nationals or have a place of business in at least one of all contracting states of the Hague Agreement may file application for Registration of International Industrial Design. An international design application may have several applicants, but at least one of them must be a resident of Hague Agreement’s contracting state.


The procedure and costs of an International Industrial Design Registration


The procedure is relatively fast and may take just few weeks/months to get your designs registered. The application is subject to formality examination by WIPO only and no examination on novelty and originality is conducted. WIPO then registers the International Design, publishes it in the International Designs Bulletin. Each designated office may under its national legislation reject the effect of the International Design for its territory withing the prescribed 6-12 months time limits after the International Design publication.


An international application is subject to the payment of three types of fees (in Swiss francs – CHF), namely:
• a basic fee = 397 CHF;
• a publication fee;
• for each designated Contracting Party, either a standard fee or an individual fee.


The official design fee’s  structure is complicated, depend on many factors and cannot be illustrated in a summarised version, an actual schedule of fees may be consulted on WIPO’s page or use WIPO’s  design fee calculator.

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EQE qualified European Patent & Trademark Attorney  |  Bulgarian Patent & Trademark Attorney

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