NELSON Charlene11641472 1Charlene Nelson, Chartered Trade Mark Attourney in our Intellectual Property Team, provides an overview, including the benefits, of the UK joining the Hague Agreement.

The UK has recently become a member of the Hague Union in its own right and will be a standalone contracting Member State of the Hague Agreement. This will allow UK based businesses to file international registered design rights post Brexit.

Presently, UK businesses can do this by virtue of our membership of the EU.

What is the Hague Agreement?

The Hague Agreement is administered by the World Intellectual Property Organisation.

The Hague Agreement enables UK businesses to apply for an international registered design in a single application by designating the countries in which they require protection. The application is examined and then passed to the relevant national offices around the world. The main advantages of this system are that it significantly reduces the cost of the filings and the amount of administration required to secure protection.

The alternative would be to file a bundle of separate national applications in all the relevant countries, which would be very expensive and time consuming.

In general, registered design rights enable the rightsholder to protect the appearance and shape of a product and prevent third parties from reproducing the design. In most jurisdictions, it is possible to protect logos and patterns as registered designs.

Why is the UK joining?

The EU is already a member of the Hague Agreement, and so companies and designers in the UK have already been able to use the system set out by the Hague Agreement to protect their designs. Following Brexit, this would not have been possible without the UK signing up in its own right.

The UK's joining of the Hague Agreement as an individual contracting State will allow UK businesses to file international designs post Brexit.

What are the main advantages of the Hague Agreement?

There are several benefits of the Hague Agreement including:

  • One single application can be filed for a design in up to 68+ Hague Agreement contracting States. This avoids the need to make an application in each of those countries and reduces costs.
  • UK businesses will be able to benefit from the Hague Agreement after Brexit and file international designs.

Charlene Nelson, Chartered Trade Mark Attorney said: "Any businesses designing and creating products should consider securing design protection for the shape and appearance of their products as the cost of doing so is relatively low, and having such rights will significantly improve the rightsholders' ability to protect their designs and ensure that others do not copy them."

For more information, please contact Charlene Nelson at or on +44 (0)1392 685332.