The Hague System, the international registration system for industrial designs, grows as Russia becomes its newest member on February 28, 2018. Russia joins a long list of members, which already includes 67 countries and intergovernmental organizations.
Currently under the Hague system designs can be registered through the Patent Offices in the following member countries and regions: the African Intellectual Property Organization (OAPI), Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brunei, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Croatia, Côte d'Ivoire, Denmark, Egypt, Estonia, European Union (EU), Finland, France, Gabon, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Japan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Mali, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Namibia, Netherlands, Niger, North Korea, Norway, Oman, Poland, Portugal, Moldova, Romania, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Serbia, Singapore, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Suriname, Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and the United States.
After Russian membership comes into force at the end of February, applicants can designate Russia in their international design applications (“IDAs”). This is welcome news as the Hague system continues to grow, making it a more attractive filing venue for design rights applicants. One of the many benefits of the Hague system is the elimination of the need to translate your application into Russian or other national languages. With the Hague system there is just one application, in one language, with one set of filing fees. However, caution should be taken when designating Russia, as well as the U.S., Japan, and South Korea for example, because the Hague system does not eliminate substantive examination or patentability requirements in any country. Therefore, applicants should ensure they are familiar with the rules and regulations of any country they designate in their IDA or else they run the risk of failing to obtain design rights in any country in which they fail to satisfy the local requirements.