Monday 29 September 2008


Designers from all OAPI Countries to Benefit from Fee Reductions

From the World Intellectual Property Organization in Geneva today comes Press Release PR/2008/566. It states, in relevant part:

"Designers from the sixteen member states of the African Intellectual Property Organization (known by its French acronym OAPI - Organisation africaine de la propriété intellectuelle) will, from January 1, 2009, benefit from a 90% reduction in fees prescribed under the Hague System for the International Registration of Industrial Designs, an international treaty administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) that helps designers acquire protection for their designs in multiple countries. This decision was taken by WIPO member states ... on the occasion of their annual Assemblies.

Following its decision in 2007 to recognize applicants from Least Developed Countries (LDCs) a 90% reduction in the prescribed fees, the Hague Union Assembly agreed last week to extend this fee reduction scheme to certain intergovernmental organizations, the majority of whose member states are LDCs. The fee reduction is intended to improve the ability of design creators from LDCs to benefit from the Hague system by reducing the costs of filing design applications under the system.

... OAPI comprises 16 member states of which 12 are LDCs. These 12 countries automatically qualify for the Hague fee reduction scheme for LDCs while the four remaining OAPI members (Cameroon, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire and Gabon) would not normally do so. OAPI’s accession to the 1999 Geneva Act means that nations from all members states of OAPI are entitled to file international applications under that Act. With a view to preserving the underlying principle of uniformity, members of the Hague Assembly agreed to amend the current schedule of fees under the 1999 Act of the Hague Agreement and to extend the Hague fee reduction scheme for LDCs to applicants from all member states of OAPI, whether LDC or not. Thus, applicants from Cameroon, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire and Gabon will now benefit from this new scheme to the extent that their international application is governed exclusively by the 1999 Geneva Act.

An international registration submitted under the Hague System will have effect in as many members as identified in the application for registration, except those that refuse protection within the required time-limit.

OAPI’s accession to the Geneva Act of the Hague Agreement offers applicants in its 16 member countries the opportunity to extend the protection of their creations of form abroad in a streamlined and cost-effective manner. It further creates an interface between WIPO’s international industrial design operations and those of OAPI allowing users to obtain protection in all OAPI countries as well as the other members of the Geneva Act of the Hague Agreement by filing one single application for the registration of their industrial designs. OAPI member states include Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal and Togo.

Under the Geneva Act of the Hague Agreement, intergovernmental organizations with an office in which protection for industrial designs can be obtained for the territories of such an organization are able to join the Hague system. OAPI is the second inter-governmental organization to have acceded. The EC acceded to the Geneva Act last January. The Hague System has a total number of 53 contracting parties covering 72 states. The Geneva Act has effect in 32 of these contracting parties covering 63 states.

The Geneva Act of the Hague Agreement enhances the Hague system by making it more compatible with the procedures for the registration of industrial designs in countries where protection of industrial designs is sometimes contingent on a more complex examination to determine the acceptability of an application, so as to allow these countries, such as the United States and Japan, to accede to the Hague System.
For more information, please contact the Media Relations and Public Affairs Section at WIPO: Tel.: +4122-3388161 or +4122-3389547; Fax: +4122-3388280: Email:".



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30 September 2008 at 13:04 delete

International designs are not particularly popular - just over 1000 design applications filed annually embodying over 6000 designs. However, Daimler, Richemont and Opel use the system so it cant be half bad and, like the European Community design system, it is a very cheap and quick way of getting protection for designs which, for trade mark enthusiasts like myself, extends to new and original logos, computer icons and labels. The system is likely to be of benefit to multinationals with offices/real and effective business establishments in member states. There are only a few international design Court decisions to draw from but it is a growing body of work. Marques recently did an analysis of the first 100 cancellation decisions at OHIM which may be useful if you are ever litigating on them.