On 13th March 2018, the UK deposited the instrument of ratification of the Geneva Act (1999) of the Hague Agreement with WIPO, in Geneva, completing its final step toward joining the Hague Agreement for industrial designs. The Act will come into effect on 13th June 2018.

The Decision to join the Hague system will allow applicants to register designs in the UK through an application filed with the International Bureau at WIPO. At present, applicants are only able to benefit from protection through the Hague Agreement by way of a European Community design registration. Applications filed through the Hague system allow applicants to efficiently protect their IP without having to apply to multiple national offices. The system allows an applicant to register up to 100 industrial designs in 68 countries and intergovernmental organizations in a single application.

Not only will joining the Hague system allow applicants to save money on design registrations, it will provide comfort for existing and future design holders that the UK benefit from the Hague system, and be available for protection via a Hague Agreement application after the UK leaves the Europe Union.