Industrial design IP is an important part of today’s marketplace. Look no further to Apple’s success to see that. Their sleek designs and functionality are one of the big draws to their technology. U.S. design patent application filings have doubled since 2000, and judgments have been handed down in cases where infringement has happened.
Design IPs are about to get a lot stronger on May 13th. On that day, the Hague Agreement takes effect. This allows a US patent applicant that meets certain requirements to file one design IP patent application with up to 100 designs per application with the World Intellectual Property Organization. If it passes examination, that patent will apply in multiple countries all over the globe. Right now, separate applications must be filed in all countries. These patents will last for 15 years under the new agreement.
Under the agreement, the patent holder must be a US national, or a person having a domicile, a habitual residence, or a “real and effective” industrial or commercial establishment in the US. One big difference is that the patents will be published while under examination. During examination, applicants will be entitled to a reasonable royalty from anyone who infringes between publication and issuance. The time between filing and publication is normally six months, but upon request an “immediate publication” can be obtained, which speeds the process up to two weeks.
For more information about the new Hague Agreement, read the rest of the article from the New Jersey Law Journal, or contact Greenberg & Lieberman, LLC for a consultation about how this new agreement could help protect your IP rights.