When it comes to having your design protected in a number of countries, the International Design system (or The Hague System) is a cost effective manner to obtain design protection. Although in the old days, only a small part of the countries in the world was a member of the Hague Agreement (and the larger economies were not yet part), due to the accession of the EU, Korea, Japan and the United States in the recent years, the International route is more and more seen as the preferred route to design protection.
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Round up: International designs
WIPO published its Annual Report for the International Design Registrations. What immediately catches the eye is the 40% increase in International Design applications in 2015. This is primarily caused by the fact that South-Korea became a member state in 2014 and Japan and the United States in 2015. The system immediately saw the benefits of these new member states as Samsung Electronics from Korea was the largest filer in 2015 with over 1100 (!) design applications via the International route. Swiss watch designer Swatch, last year’s top filer, was second with 511 filings and Dutch furniture company Fonkel Meubelmarketing (438 filings) was third. Volkswagen and Procter & Gamble completed the top five. In addition to these figures, WIPO reports that in 2015, an application included, on average, more designs and more designated countries, compared to 2014. The EU remains the most designated “member state”, followed (at a large distance) by Switzerland and Turkey. Likely, the new member states will change this ranking.