China’s accession to the Hague Agreement: WIPO

On February 5, 2022, the Chinese government deposited its instrument of accession to the Geneva text of the Hague Agreement (1999) with the director general of the WIPO, thus becoming the 68th Contracting Party to the 1999 text and the 77th member state of the Hague Union. The Geneva text of the Hague Agreement (1999) entered into force in China on May 5, 2022.

In preparation for joining the Hague System, China amended the Patent Law on June 1, 2021. Important modifications related to design patents mainly focus on three aspects: 1) Increasing the protection period of design from 10 years to 15 years; 2) Provide protection for partial designs; 3) Design applications are allowed to claim domestic priority.

With China’s accession, the Hague System will now cover nine out of ten of the world’s top economic markets (World Bank rankings).  

As a non-resident, from May 5, 2022 you will be able to secure international design protection in China, facilitating expansion of your business into one of the world’s largest and most dynamic markets. In parallel, companies and designers in China will be able to quickly and easily seek international protection of their designs in as many of the 94 countries covered by the Hague System as desired, helping them expand into international markets.

* The instrument of accession also specified that the 1999 Act will not be applied in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region or the Macao Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China until otherwise notified by the Government of the People’s Republic of China.

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