A small bit of Hague housekeeping

Recently a bit of Hague housekeeping happened.

Over the years there have actually been several Hague agreements directed to protection of industrial designs, and the various treaties have been loosely referred to collectively as “the Hague Agreement”.  One of the sub-parts of this collection of agreements is the London (1934) Act of the Hague Agreement.  Gradually the London (1934) Act had been succeeded by other agreements.

As of 2009 there were fifteen contracting parties to the London (1934) Act, namely Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, France, Germany, Indonesia, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Morocco, the Netherlands, Senegal, Spain, Suriname, Switzerland and Tunisia.  And as of 2009 the situation was that the London (1934) Act was not really needed any more because other agreements covered the situation fully.  So there was a need to try to clean out the bits of the Hague Agreement (the collection of agreements) that were no longer really needed.  So what needed to happen was that each of the contracting parties to the London (1934) Act needed to formally withdraw from that agreement.  And at some point the last of the contracting parties would hopefully formally withdraw.  Well, the big day was July 18, 2016, when the last of the contracting parties (Egypt) formally handed in its instrument withdrawing from the London (1934) Act.

This meant that the London (1934) Act would formally end for all fifteen of its members three months later, on October 18, 2016.  This date is drawing near, which is what prompted this posting.

It actually stopped being possible to do new industrial design filings under the London (1934) Act on January 1, 2010.  But filings that had been made prior to that date (under the London (1934) Act) might still need to have renewals filed, and might need to have updates as to who is the owner or what is the owner’s address, until the longest possible term of protection (15 years) had come and gone.

So until 2025 it is possible that someone might file a renewal or address change or ownership change on a designation under the London (1934) Act.

But anyway as of October 18, 2016, the London (1934) Act is officially a think of the past.

Meanwhile the Hague Agreement as it now stands continues to grow and continues to become more and more important.  By now it has 65 members.  You can see the member list here.  It seems that China will soon join the Hague Agreement, and when this happens the Hague Agreement will be even more useful.  It is also to be hoped that the United Kingdom will join the Hague Agreement, thus reducing the disruption to industrial design protection that would otherwise happen due to Brexit.




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