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Industrial Design Protection Simplified with New Law

The new Patent Law Treaties Implementation Act (“PLTIA”) has now been signed into law.

The PLTIA implements two patent law treaties: (1) The Hague Agreement Concerning International Registration of Industrial Designs (“Hague Agreement”) and

(2) The Patent Law Treaty (“PLT”). Both treaties were ratified by the Senate without opposition in 2007. Both treaties would simplify the formal obligations and reduce costs

for American inventors when seeking patent protection outside the United States.

The Hague System

The Hague System regarding industrial design was created to streamline procedures for registering such a design and obtaining protection for it. Under the agreement, an individual can apply for protection in all participating countries using a single application.  In order to be eligible an applicant must be a national of a participating country; be domiciled in a member country; have an industrial or commercial establishment in a participating country; or, in cases where the country adhered to the 1999 Geneva Act, the applicant is eligible if they have a habitual residence.

Applications for design protection are reviewed by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).  If approved, a design registration is valid for a period of five-years and can be renewed for additional five-year periods up to the maximum duration permitted in participating countries.

Patent Law Treaty

The Patent Law Treaty was designed to limit the number of formalities that a country can impose on a foreign patent application and unify the application processes through which applicants can obtain patents internationally. The treaty contains provisions relating to harmonizing patent applications and examination procedures, standards for obtaining a patent, and what rights and remedies are available under a patent.

Click here for additional information regarding US Design Patent Applications.


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