The USA and Japan joined the Hague System for international design registration on February 13, 2015. This new system will make it easier to register industrial designs internationally. Currently, U.S. applicants pursuing protection for industrial designs in multiple jurisdictions file individual applications for each jurisdiction. The Hague system, on the other hand, manages international registration centrally. It facilitates a process to obtain design protection in up to 64 member countries through a WIPO application (World Intellectual Property Organization). If, in turn, National IP Offices grant said applications, registrants in effect receive national protection. The agreement comes into effect May 13, 2015.
Now, US and Japanese designers have access to easier protection among these member states and designers from other countries will also have an easier path to registration in these two important economies. Hopefully, these new memberships will encourage further expansion of the Hague System.