On November 29, 2013, the USPTO published its proposed rules to implement “the Hague Agreement Concerning International Registration of Industrial Designs.” The changes relate to the design patent provisions of Title I of the Patent Law Treaty Implementation Act (PLTIA). Written comments on the proposed changes to design patent practice are due by January 28, 2014.

Summary Of Proposed Changes

As set forth in the Federal Register Notice,  the Hague Agreement “provides that an applicant is entitled to apply for design protection in all member countries and with intergovernmental organizations by filing a single, standardized international design application in a single language.”  Title I of the PLTIA amends portions of 35 USC to implement the terms of the Hague Agreement, and these proposed rules will implement Title I of the PLTIA. According to the Federal Register Notice, these changes are to take effect upon “the entry into force of the Hague Agreement with respect to the United States.”

The Federal Register Notice highlights these eight major changes (other changes also are proposed):

  1. Standardizing formal requirements for international design applications
  2. Establishing the USPTO as an office through which international design applications may be filed
  3. Providing a right of priority with respect to international design applications
  4. Treating an international design application that designates the United States as having the same effect from its filing date as that of a national design application
  5. Providing provisional rights for published international design applications that designate the United States
  6. Setting the patent term for design patents issuing from both national design applications under chapter 16 and international design applications designating the United States to 15 years from the date of patent grant
  7. Providing for examination by the Office of international design applications that designate the United States
  8. Permitting an applicant’s failure to act within prescribed time limits in an international design application to be excused as to the United States under certain conditions

Weighing In

Practitioners and stakeholders interested in design patent protection may want to review the proposed rules in the context of the PLTIA, and provide any comments to the USPTO by the January 28, 2014 deadline.

Comments can be submitted

  • by email to AC87.comments@uspto.gov
  • by email via the Federal eRulemaking Portal (http://www.regulations.gov)
  • by postal mail addressed to:

Mail Stop Comments—Patents
Commissioner for Patents
P.O. Box 1450, Alexandria, VA, 22313–1450
Attention: Boris Milef, Senior PCT Legal Examiner, Office of PCT Legal Administration