IP Cases & Articles

Hague design registration system update: reduced official fees for designating China

In a welcome announcement concerning the international Hague design registration system the individual designation fees for designating China in a Hague design application are to be reduced by around 20%. This reduction in fees will take effect on 01 October 2023, and hence be applicable for any new Hague design application applied for on, or after, this date.

As background, under the Hague design registration system, it is possible to obtain registered design protection in a number of key territories around the world via the use of a single registered design application applied for centrally at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) – based in Geneva, Switzerland.

The reduction in fees follows a number of other welcome changes that have been made to Chinese design law recently, including changes which now better allow design registrations in China that relate to a part of a wider product ( “partial” designs).

The changes are expected to result in a strong growth in the number of Hague design registrations designating China. That being said, and particularly for those contemplating the addition of China to a Hague design application which might only otherwise designate the UK and the EU, care must still be taken to ensure that some of the more specific requirements for designating China are complied with. For example, the Chinese design registry can often be strict in assessing whether the provided product indication for a design is suitably clear and specific. The Chinese design registry also requires the inclusion of a brief description in the Hague design application which specifies the key characteristic of the design, in terms of where the scope of protection is focused. Such a brief description is not required, in contrast, if designating the UK or the EU in the Hague design application.

China can also be much more restrictive about not allowing multiple designs in one Hague design application, noting multiple designs in this instance will only be allowed, for the Chinese designation, if it is considered by the Chinese design registry that the various designs have a sufficiently similar appearance to each other, such that they are considered to have unity of design. This compares with any included UK or EU designations, where multiple designs can remain in a single Hague design application so long as all the designs are in the same Locarno classification. So, care must be taken when considering the designation of China in any Hague design application which contains multiple designs.

In all though, the above reduction in fees for designating China will certainly increase the attractiveness of additionally designating China in any Hague design application that is otherwise pursued. In that respect, for a Hague design application containing one design, with seven views, the official fees for such an application, which designates the UK, EU, and China, after 01 October 2023, will be around £1,000 (at the time of writing, September 2023). Whereas the same application designating only the UK and EU will still incur official fees of around £600. Thus the official fee uplift for additionally designating China represents excellent value for money, bearing in mind the additional geographical protection provided.

For further information on the requirements for designating China in a Hague design application, please refer to the Hague system member profile entry for China (link below).

Useful links

Guide Introduction to registered designs
Guide Introduction to registered designs