International Design Patent Application

When seeking foreign design patent protection, U.S. inventors in the past have had to file a design patent in each individual country.

On May 13, 2015, the "Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs" went into force in the U.S., meaning that U.S. inventors may now file an "international" design patent application as a way of registering a design in over 62 countries and territories.

Filing an international application of this sort may be a cost effective way of seeking design patent protection in many countries. Please note that the Hague system is only for design patents, not utility patents.

There are still many countries that have not fully joined the Hague system, and for each of these countries an inventor must individually file a design patent application in the country to seek protection. Key players are joining or are considering joining, however. South Korea joined in 2014, Japan joined in May 2015, and Canada, China, and Russia are considering joining. This is a full list of the countries that have joined the Hague system.