International designs: Belgium and Luxembourg have ratified the Geneva Act of the Hague Agreement

la-defense-6If Belgium and Luxembourg have not previously been part of the system for international industrial designs, it now is. This is respectively because on June 7 2013 and September 3, 2013, the Belgian and the Luxembourgian government signaled the deposit of its instrument of ratification of the Hague Agreement.


Although in contrast to the European Union, Benelux is not a member of the Hague Agreement. For this reason it is important to specifically designate the three countries when filing an application in order to ensure effective protection across these territories.


As a reminder, this system concerns the international registration of industrial designs. An attractive proposition, it affords protection in the different member countries (61 at present(1)) by means of a single application to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in a single language (French, English or Spanish) which is relatively inexpensive.


Moreover, processing is relatively quick since in principle the publication of the registration occurs six months after filing the application and protection is guaranteed for 5 years. As for extensions, they can be obtained in accordance with the legislation of each member country, though this is limited to 25 years for the European Union. This system is an excellent mechanism for the protection of international industrial designs.


Although Belgium’s and Luxembourg’s accession will not greatly enhance the attractiveness of this Agreement, the impending membership of the United States and Great Britain, on the other hand, will undeniably reinforce the scope of this system established by the Hague Agreement.


We are glad to see additional countries joining this system for international protection which clearly demonstrates its effectiveness.