On December 18, 2012, the Patent Law Treaties Implementation Act of 2012 (PLTIA) was signed into law. The PLTIA among other things sets forth provisions implementing the 1999 Geneva Act of the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs (“Hague Agreement”). These provisions (Title I of the PLTIA) take effect on May 13, 2015.
The Hague Agreement is an international registration system which offers the possibility of obtaining protection for up to 100 industrial designs in designated member countries and intergovernmental organizations (referred to as “Contracting Parties”) by filing a single international application in a single language either directly with the International Bureau of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) or indirectly through the office of applicant’s Contracting Party.
Beginning May 13, 2015, U.S. applicants will be able to file international design applications through the USPTO as an office of indirect filing, and applicants filing international design applications will be able to designate the United States for design protection. In addition, U.S. design patents resulting from applications filed on or after May 13, 2015 will have a 15 year term from issuance.