International protection of designs
Once a first design application is filed for a certain feature, corresponding protection can be obtained in other countries by filing of separate applications in each country. In this context, a regional application, such as a RCD (EU) application or an international application via the Hague system is considered as an application in one country. Hence, there are a few ways to get design protection in several countries via centralized registration procedures.
It is possible to start with a national, regional or international application and then file corresponding application in other regions or countries. We can provide guidance regarding suitable ways to achieve this.
National design registrations
Most countries have similar legislation regarding what kinds of designs can be protected. However, the formal requirements differ among countries. In addition, the protection period for registrations differs. Some countries are neither members of the EU nor of the Hague system for international design registration. For such countries, a national application is the only means of protection. Of course, we at Noréns know what must be provided where and when.
Priority is a possibility to get the same application date as in the first application when filing applications abroad. The opportunity is available for six months after first filing.
In many countries there is an absolute novelty requirement which means that the design must not have been shown or published anywhere in the world. If priority is claimed from the first application, however, the first application cannot be a novelty bar for the subsequent application.
It is possible to get design protection for the entire European Union. There is also an automatic unregistered design right (UCD) within the European Union, with a shorter term of protection and a more limited scope of protection. Applications for registered European design (RCD) are filed at the EUIPO (European Union Intellectual Property Office) in Alicante. The resulting registration will automatically cover the entire European Union. A n EU-design is valid for five years from the filing date and can thereafter be renewed in blocks of five years up to a maximum of 25 years.
The Hague system for international design registration
It is also possible to file for an international design registration at WIPO World Intellectual Property Organization in Geneva, according to the Hague System. The system covers among other countries and regions the EU (RCD), Norway, Switzerland, Russia, Turkey, Japan and USA.
This can be a cost-efficient way of getting design protection in several countries, if some of the countries that are members to the system are relevant and the image quality is good enough. The country specific rules should neither present any problems in terms of limitations against keeping designs secret or use of certain images. The Hague system is very detailed and use of the system requires good insights to be able to navigate within. Noréns have long experience in handling international design applications in the Hague systems.