The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) recently updated its public and private Patent Application Information Retrieval (“PAIR”) graphical user interfaces to provide access to information regarding design applications filed pursuant to the Hague Agreement. Such information will not be available, however, until entry into force of the Hague Agreement with respect to the U.S., which will occur three months after the U.S. deposits its instrument of ratification with the International Bureau of the World Intellectual Property Organization (“WIPO”), unless that instrument specifies a later date.
Generally speaking, the Hague Agreement establishes an international registration system which facilitates protection of industrial designs (i.e., design patents) in member countries and intergovernmental organizations (“Contracting Parties”) by way of a single, “standardized” international design application filed either directly with the International Bureau of WIPO or indirectly through an applicant’s Contracting Party.
As illustrated below, the USPTO’s new PAIR user interface provides for entry of an international registration number (assigned by WIPO) formatted according to the series code DM/999999. Published international design applications designating the U.S. are assigned an application number (by the USPTO) beginning with the series code 35/nnn,nnn.
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According to the USPTO, users can search for a 35-series application using an “Application Number” search in the “Search for Application” section. Users can also search for a 35-series application corresponding to a published international design application designating the U.S. by the international registration number using the “International Design Registration Number” in the “Search for Application” section (which is highlighted in yellow above). Note, however, that if the international design application has not designated the U.S. or has not been published by WIPO, searching for the corresponding 35-series application based on the international registration number (DM/ number) will not be available in PAIR.