Intellectual Property Developments – the Hague Agreement

World Intellectual Property Organization

Intellectual Property Developments – the Hague Agreement

Canada Officially Accedes to Hague Agreement on International Intellectual Property

In what will doubtlessly be a significant legal development for Canadian companies engaged in or considering international operations, acceded to the Hague Agreement (Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs), an international treaty with the intent of streamlining the process of filing intellectual property claims in countries and regions that are party to the Agreement. Among the 69 associates to the treaty are several of Canada’s most important trading partners, such as the European Union, Japan, South Korea, and the United States, which underscores the scope and relevance of this treaty in intellectual property law on the world stage. For those unfamiliar with IP law, feel free to read through one of our previous blog posts on the subject. If you’re interested in learning more about business law in general, a primer is also available that covers the basics.

What This Means

Under the previous system, Canadian companies intending to file international intellectual property claims (such as copyrights, patents, and trademarks) were required to submit these applications (each of which would be subject to renewal deadlines) to each and every intended country in multiple languages, at considerable expense, and pay all associated fees in corresponding currencies of said country. The government of Canada asserts that through the Hague Agreement, the process of filing intellectual property claims will be simplified by bringing all related functions under the umbrella of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). Rather than having to repeat the filing process for each country and for each application, Canadian companies now need only submit a single application in one language to the WIPO and pay the fee in one currency. Applicants based in countries party to the treaty are permitted to include up to 100 industrial designs per application.
WIPO website.

Why This Matters

In light of these new changes, the time has never been better for Canadian companies considering international expansion to start the application process on their intellectual property. Given that this new system applies to all countries party to the treaty, it may be better to begin this process sooner rather than later, lest another foreign company beat yours in registering a piece of disputed intellectual property. If you need assistance in Edmonton with intellectual property law, or another kind of business law, Right Legal can help connect you with the lawyer you need.

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