Marques lecture: “Mastering the Hague Agreement: from Asia to the USA, through the EU”

Marques needs little introduction in the IP community. It is a European association, aiming to educate and help brand and trademark owners to navigate through the demands of the global economy. One of the methods of achieving their goal is through conferences, meetings, and events. Always focusing on a currently problematic topic, the latest series of lectures was on industrial designs, titled “Mastering the Hague Agreement: from Asia to the USA, through the EU”. Additional focus was put on the 2014/2015 newcomers to the Hague family, namely South Korea, Japan and the US.

On 25 April 2017 it was Munich´s IP practitioners’ turn to listen to the amazing, concentrated presentations delivered by Gregoire Bisson, WIPO´s The Hague Registry Brands and Designs Sector Director, and Oliver Nilgen, a member of the Marques Designs Team.

Mr. Bisson introduced us to the “Experiences gained after the accession of South Korea, Japan and the USA”. He outlined the benefits of the Hague system, especially in given the varsity of national systems, usually very different to the European one. Given that, the European lawyers seem to have struggles adapting, resulting in a myriad of refused applications. With a familiar and uniform scheme, the percentage of formal errors was reduced. However, the problem is still persistent with the high number of refusals by the national IPOs. The most common arguments are the lack of novelty or unity of the design and insufficient disclosure (entailing e.g. an inadequate number of angles to create a well-rounded idea of the design or discrepancies among the views). Another factor preventing registration might be a lack of a suitable description, necessary to clarify what exactly is to be protected. Although all of the legislations mentioned above have their own personalized “slippery slopes” (e.g. Korea´s non-acceptance of logo-designs), a common thread with preventing rejection is to make the application as specific and precise as possible, using as many descriptions and tools available (such as legends, etc.)

Mr. Nilgen´s summary perfectly supplemented the previous one, presenting us with the characteristics of the pictures and portrayals which ought to result in a universal acclaim by the national IPOs. The limelight was set on the requirement of precision of the design application, describing several examples of “what-not-to-do”. The value of this presentation was that it was a practical guide, a result of years and years of experience, adding colors to the contours drawn by the previous lecture.

For more information on worldwide design registration and registrability, please consult WIPO´s Guidance on Preparing and Providing Reproductions in Order to Forestall Possible Refusals on the Ground of Insufficient Disclosure of an Industrial Design by Examining Offices and Guide to the International Registration of Industrial Designs.