June 17, 2015

By George H. Spencer, Counsel, Roberts Mlotkowski Safran & Cole, PC

The United States joined the Hague for industrial designs on May 13, 2015. This makes it possible for an applicant to file one application, either with United States Patent Office or with the World Intellectual Property Organization, upon payment of a basic fee of $120 as well as various international designation fees. While there is a single set of formal requirements, one must take into consideration the filing requirements of the various countries.  For US purposes, the application is examined generally in the same manner as a regular US design patent application and if approved the application will mature into a US design patent for a term of 15 years from issue date, with no maintenance fees being required.  In general,  it may be preferred to file the application with the USPTO rather than with WIPO because this avoids the need to request a foreign-filing license.