When the UK chose the path of Brexit, I blogged this:
The UK does not belong to Hague. It will be particularly helpful if the UK were to join Hague right away.
The news is that on March 13, 2018, the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland deposited its instrument of ratification of the Geneva Act of the Hague Agreement with WIPO. The photograph shows UK Ambassador Julian Braithwaite depositing the instrument of ratification with WIPO’s Director General Francis Gurry. The Geneva Act will enter into force, with respect to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man, on June 13, 2018.
With this news, the UK accomplishes the trifecta — membership in all three major intellectual property filing systems — utility patent (PCT, joined January 24, 1978, extended to the Isle of Man with effect from October 29, 1983), trademark (Madrid Protocol, joined December 1, 1995 in respect of the United Kingdom and the Isle of Man), and now industrial design (Hague).
It was already possible for companies and designers from the UK to use the Hague System to protect their industrial designs by virtue of the UK’s membership in European Union. As of June 13, 2018, applicants from the UK can make use the Hague System by means of the UK’s direct membership in the Hague System. This will permit uninterrupted access by such applicants to the Hague System despite the planned exit of the UK from European Union.
Those located outside of the UK had already been able to use the Hague system to protect their industrial designs by virtue of the UK’s membership in European Union (by designating “EM”). From June 13, 2018, those located outside of the UK will be able to designate the UK directly (by designating “GB”).
This is good news for the Hague Agreement and for industrial design generally.