15-Year Term U.S. Design Patent Effective May 13, 2015

In a previous blog post, we mentioned that the U.S. Is Soon to Join the Hague System . As we stated in that post, the date for which design patents will receive the new 15-year design patent term is May 13, 2015. However, many blog posts have been misstating that the new 15-year design patent term prompted by the Patent Law Treaties Implementation Act of 2012 (PLTIA) was effective for any design patents filed on or after December 18, 2013.

The PLTIA implements both the Patent Law Treaty and the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Deposit of Industrial Designs. The PLTIA will change the term for U.S. design patents from 14 years after issuance to 15 years after issuance for designs filed on or after May 13, 2015 NOTon or after December 18, 2013. The PLTIA was enacted and signed by President Barack Obama on December 18, 2012. The Act stated that “[t]he amendments made by this title [by which is meant the Hague Agreement portion of the Act] shall take effect on the later of – (1) the date that is 1 year after the day of the enactment of this Act or (2) the date of entry into force of the treaty with respect to the United States.” United States just deposited its Instrument of Accession with the World Intellectual Property Organization (“WIPO”) on February 13, 2015 and the Hague Agreement treaty will enter into force with respect the US on May 13, 2015, which is the later of the two dates.

Therefore, to determine the length of protection for any design patents, refer to the date of filing and whether it is before or after May 13, 2015. For those considering delaying filing for a longer period of protection on their design patents, please consult with a patent attorney about the tradeoffs for waiting until after May 13, 2015 to file a new design patent application or any continuations or divisionals as well.