SUNYOUNG INT’L Patent & Law Firm Newsletter(April, 2014)
The Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) held a ceremony to celebrate the accession to the Geneva Act of the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs (the Hague Agreement, hereinafter) at WIPO’s headquarters in Geneva on March 31, 2014. The Hague Agreement will subsequently enter into force in the Republic of Korea on July 1, 2014, three months after the submission of the instrument of accession.
The Hague System for the International Registration of Industrial Designs offers the owner or the applicant of an industrial design a means to obtain protection in several countries through a single application in one language with one set of fees in one currency, which can be submitted to WIPO or one of the contracting parties. The Republic of Korea’s accession is expected to revitalize the Hague System, and WIPO is eagerly anticipating its arrival as a contracting party.
The new Hague System (of the Hague Agreement) allows a country with substantive examination systems to become a party to the Hague Agreement and utilize it more conveniently, whereas the previous system was designed for countries, particularly those in Europe, without substantive examination systems for registrable requirements, such as industrial applicability, novelty, and creativity. The Republic of Korea’s accession is expected to boost the prospect of accession for other major players in the design field such as the U.S. and Japan, which also conduct substantive examination like Korea but have yet to accede to the new system.
The U.S., Japan, and China have been preparing for accession to the Hague Agreement, and applicants may soon be able to enjoy the benefit of international applications through the Hague System to protect their industrial designs in the major global economies. For reference, in 2012, applications through the intellectual property offices of China, the Republic of Korea, the U.S., and Japan accounted for 85 percent of all (920,000) applications worldwide.
Park Seong-Joon, director general of the Trademark and Design Examination Bureau at KIPO said, “The accession of the Republic of Korea is expected to contribute to the development of the Hague System, which will help spread the international registration system for industrial designs across the world.” He further stated that, “Korea’s accession could serve as a catalyst for consolidating KIPO’s partnership with Francis Gurry, the recently re-elected director general of WIPO.”