China joins International Treaty on Intellectual Property of Industrial Designs

In what they consider “a major development for the international design system”, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has announcement that China has joined its Hague system for the international registration of industrial designs.

Under the Hague System, applicants (theoretically) obtain design protection in over 90 countries by filing a single application for their design. (Outside the system, you’ll need to file by country or region.)

What this means for China:

“All designers in China will be able to use the international design system to protect and promote their designs overseas, saving them time and money.”

What this means for designers concerned about design piracy from Chinese sources:

“Overseas designers will have easier access to the Chinese market, using a single application and set of fees to file for protection in 94 countries, including China, when its membership takes effect on May 5, 2022.”

In the announcement, PMOI Director General Daren Tang, a Singaporean citizen of Chinese descent, said:

“From the first ornamental products made by our Stone Age ancestors to the modern haute couture we see on catwalks around the world, designers enrich, excite and enliven us. Designers are also playing a greater role in shaping the look of the products we use every day – from household products and mobile phones to virtual designs China’s membership of the Hague System means that the design community in China will have more easier to protect and get their designs out of China, and foreign designers will have an easier time moving their designs to one of the largest and fastest growing markets in the world.”

I don’t mean to sound cynical, but I’m curious to see how it all shakes out.

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