International design registration

An international design registration is in fact a bundle of national design registrations that are all acquired at once. This means that protection of your design is determined by the domestic law of the various countries that you have specified in your international application (apart from some specific provisions regarding the term of protection).

Benefits of an international design

  • Lower costs

An international application costs less than submitting your application to each national authority separately.

  • Convenient

One international registration bundling various countries, rather than national registrations in a number of different countries, is more convenient to manage and cheaper in the long run, because only one registration needs to be maintained.

How does it work?

The Hague Agreement is an international treaty regulating the international registration of designs.The Benelux is a party to the treaty. As a result, you can gain protection in all or some of the treaty's member states, including the Benelux countries, by means of an international application. 

View all member states

You must file your international application directly with the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) in Geneva, Switzerland. You specify the countries in which you want protection in your application.

Contrary to an international trademark registration application, no earlier registration in the Benelux is required when applying for an international design registration.

Our Information Centre will be happy to inform you about the procedure.

Search for a design

You can check whether there is an identical or very similar design in specific countries using Designview. This is an online tool that you can use to search through all designs in the registers of the participating authorities, WIPO and EUIPO.

Claim priority

If you apply for a design registration for the same design within six months of your first application in one of the countries that are parties to the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property or are a member of the World Trade Organization, this later application can be given the same date as your first application. This is referred to as 'claiming priority' or right of priority.

Impact of Brexit: Community designs and international applications and registrations designating the EU are subject to measures put in place since 31 December 2020 that ensure design owners do not lose their existing rights. In short, this means that registered designs will be automatically converted and that, for ongoing applications, an application can be filed in the UK within the nine months following the end of the transition period, i.e. within nine months from 31 December 2020, and the priority date will be retained. More information is available from the websites of EUIPO and UKIPO.

For further information about the consequences of Brexit for Benelux trademarks and designs, click here.

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