On February 5, 2022, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) announced that China joined the Hague System for the International Registration of Industrial Designs effective May 5, 2022. The Government of China deposited its instrument of accession to the 1999 Geneva Act of the Hague Agreement on February 5, 2022. China is the 68th contracting party to the 1999 Act and 77th member of the Hague Union. The Hague System eliminates the need to file separate and multiple applications in individual countries or regions. Applicants file one online international application to register up to 100 designs in more than 90 countries.
China’s joining the Hague System has long been expected with the amendment of the Patent Law in 2021 to allow for a 15-year design patent term (up from 10 years) and published intentions to join in 2021-2022 Outline for Building a Powerful Intellectual Property Country and the Annual Promotion Plan for the Implementation of the 14th Five- Year Plan (知识产权强国建设纲要和“十四五”规划实施年度推进计划) and the 14th Five-Year Plan for Patent and Trademark Examination (专利和商标审查“十四五”规划).
With China’s accession, all designers in China will be able to use the International Design System to protect and promote their designs overseas, saving time and money. Foreign designers will have easier access to the Chinese market, using one application and one set of fees to file for protection in 94 countries including China when its accession comes into force on May 5, 2022.
China also joined the Marrakesh Treaty on February 5, 2022. The WIPO-administered Marrakesh Treaty makes the production and international transfer of specially-adapted books for people with blindness or visual impairments easier. It does this by establishing a set of limitations and exceptions to traditional copyright law.
The Marrakesh Treaty was adopted on June 27, 2013, and entered into force on September 30, 2016. It is WIPO’s fasting growing treaty and now includes 84 contracting parties before China’s accession comes into force on May 5, 2022.