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Protect your trade marks and designs in the European Union

Protect your intellectual property in the European Union

International Registration


The Hague Agreement governs a system for the international registration of industrial designs. It is administered by the International Bureau of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) located in Geneva, Switzerland.
This system gives the owner of an industrial design the possibility to have a design protected in the territories of all the Contracting Parties by filing one application with the International Bureau of WIPO, in one language and with one set of fees in one currency (Swiss Francs).
The Hague Agreement comprises two different ‘acts’, the 1960 Hague Act and the 1999 Geneva Act. Both consist of a different set of legal provisions. In principle, a country is free to choose the act to which it wishes to become party. However, international intergovernmental organisations, such as the EUIPO, may only become party to the Geneva Act. The Geneva Act became fully operational on 01/04/2004. The European Union acceded to the Geneva Act on 24/09/2007, which entered into force with respect to the EU on 01/01/2008.

For more information, please visit the WIPO website on the Contracting Parties to the Geneva Act.

The accession of the EU to the Geneva Act means that applicants entitled to file international applications, either because of their having the nationality of an EU Member State or having a domicile, real and effective commercial or industrial establishment, or habitual residence, in the territory of an EU Member State, may file an application for industrial design registration using the Hague System.
Another consequence is that the EU may be designated in an international registration. If the EUIPO does not issue a refusal for an international registration, it will have the same effects within the EU territory as a Community design.

The EUIPO has no role in the initial procedure of the international registration. This means that applications for international registrations have to be filed directly with WIPO and are processed there. Furthermore, and in contrast to the Madrid Protocol, there is no need to have a national or a Community application or registration as a base for an international application.
Where an application for international registration has been submitted to the EUIPO erroneously, the EUIPO neither forwards the application to WIPO nor returns it to the sender.

Any person that is a national of a State that is a Contracting Party or of a Member State of an intergovernmental organisation that is a Contracting Party, or that has a domicile, a habitual residence or a real and effective industrial or commercial establishment in the territory of a Contracting Party, may file an application for an international registration.

For an international application, in addition to a basic fee and a publication fee, a fee has to be paid for each Contracting Party designated in the international registration. The fee depends on the specific Contracting Party. All fees have to be paid in Swiss Francs to WIPO. For further information, please consult WIPO’s fee calculator.

For more information regarding how to apply, see the Guidelines, Examination of Applications for Registered Community Designs.

No. An international application can be directly filed by the applicant. However, the applicant can appoint a representative to act on his behalf.

An international application may be filed in English, French or Spanish (as from 01/04/2010), at the applicant’s discretion.
For more information regarding how to apply, see the Guidelines, Examination of Applications for Registered Community Designs.

Depending on the Contracting Parties designated in the international registration, the publication may be deferred. Some Contracting Parties have made declarations to the effect that, when they are designated, deferment is not allowed or the deferment period is shortened to 6 months. The maximum period for deferment under the Geneva Act is 30 months from the filing date, or, where priority is claimed, from the priority date, which is also the period allowed by the EU. For further information on deferment, please consult the WIPO website.

For more information regarding how to apply, see the Guidelines, Examination of Applications for Registered Community Designs.

No. International registrations designating the European Union are published by WIPO in the Hague Express Bulletin.
This international Bulletin is available on the WIPO website and it is updated weekly.

No, the EUIPO does not (re-)publish international registrations. Only WIPO publishes international registrations on their website in the International Designs Bulletin.

Yes, the priority of an application for registration of a Community design may be claimed in an application for an international registration and vice versa. The priority period is 6 months.

In order to revoke or cancel the effects of an international registration in the EU territory, third parties may institute proceedings for declaration of invalidity according to the same rules as for a declaration of invalidity of a registered Community design, namely third parties may either submit an application for a declaration of invalidity to the EUIPO or institute a counterclaim for invalidity before a Community design court.

WIPO only performs an examination as to formalities required. The substantive examination, if any, is carried out by the offices of the designated Contracting Parties. In the case of irregularities as to the form, the applicant is given 3 months in which to remedy them.

In accordance with Article 106d of the registered Community design regulation (introduced by amending Regulation No 1891/2006), an international registration of a design designating the EU will, from the date of its registration, have the same effect as a registered Community design, if no refusal has been notified or if any such refusal has been withdrawn.
Further information regarding registration.

Within 6 months of publication of an international registration designating the EU, the EUIPO performs an examination of grounds for refusal, that is, whether the subject of the international registration complies with (i) the definition of a design in accordance with public policy or morality in accordance with Article 9 of the Community design regulation.
If the EUIPO finds a ground for refusal, it communicates a notification of refusal to WIPO, thereby preventing the international registration from having effect within the EU territory. WIPO forwards the notification of refusal to the holder of the international registration, who may respond to it by submitting observations directly to the EUIPO.
If the EUIPO finds that the observations of the holder overcome the grounds for refusal, it will withdraw the refusal and notify WIPO accordingly. In this case, the international registration has the same effect within the EU territory as a registered Community design.

The questions and answers provided on this page serve a purely informative purpose and are not a legal point of reference. Please consult the European Union Trade mark and Community Design Regulations or Trade mark / Design Guidelines for further details.

For more information about how the Office handles your personal data, please consult the Data protection notice

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