GENEVA ACT OF THE HAGUE AGREEMENT
GENEVA ACT (1999) OF THE HAGUE AGREEMENT
CONCERNING THE INTERNATIONAL
REGISTRATION OF INDUSTRIAL DESIGNS
BENEFITS FROM FOREIGN DESIGN PROTECTION
1. Product appearance is being pirated as well as product function. Design patents and design registrations (collectively referred to as design patents), provide an effective way to help stop piracy. With a design patent and utility patent protecting a product, the extent of protection is substantially expanded.
2. In many countries the cost of obtaining a design patent is relative low, compared to a utility patent. The lower cost is due to the fact that there is no novelty examination, in most design protection systems. It may be cost effective to obtain design patents on many models of a product..
3. In many countries design patents are obtained relatively promptly, because the application review is only for formalities. In many cases the registration is obtained without any need for a foreign attorney when the Geneva Act system is used.
4. In some cases design patents may add to the strength of a product image, enhancing the likelihood of a product appearance becomes a mark (trade dress). It will depend on national law what the affect is of a design patent on the rights to a subsequent mark for the same design.
5. Another major difference between systems where rights are granted only after novelty examination, and registration systems where there is no novelty ezam is the initial rights to obtain rights. The opposition or litigation cost can be significant, but this cost in focused on products designs that have proven maket value. Therefor the cost of regislation system filing is considerable less than in examination systems. Most of the foreign design protection systems are registration systems, and that approach seems to be the trend. The two types of systems were debated extensively at the preparatory meetings for the Hague Agreement treaty. Each group considered their approach more cost effective and better for their economies.
6. Most registration systems for design protection permit
multiple designs in one application and the cost of more than one
design in an application is considerable less then for the first design.
The cost advantages for multiple design applications reduces the intial
cost of design protection, allowing the design owner to select which designs
are the ones to retaom active and challenge a competitor in an opposition
or litigation. The different types of design protection systems suggest
unique strategies that cannot be used in novelty examination countries.
The Hague Agreement gives the user a lot of flexibility to combine these
strategies at relatively reasonable costs.
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