Mexico joins the Hague System

Applications for registered design protection under the Hague system can now include Mexico as a designated territory from 6 June 2020.

Mexico submitted an instrument of accession to the Geneva Act 1999 on 6 March 2020, and as a result, Mexican and foreign businesses and designers will be able to obtain protection for their designs in Mexico through the Hague system from 6 June 2020.

The Hague system is WIPO’s international designs filing system and allows for designers and businesses alike with a sufficient link to a territory which has signed up to at least one of the treaties of the Hague Agreement (either the Hague Act 1960, the Geneva Act 1999, or both), to file a single application with a single set of fees to obtain protection for their designs in participating countries.

WIPO reviews the application, and upon acceptance, the application is sent to the relevant national design office of each designated country for approval.

There are now 74 contracting parties covering 90 countries in the Hague system, however Mexico will be the first Spanish-speaking Latin American country to join and is the 64th member of the Geneva Act. The accession will no doubt allow designers and businesses save both time and money when securing protection of their designs internationally and could also serve as a prompt for other Spanish-speaking Latin American countries to follow in Mexico’s footsteps.

However, whilst the Hague system is certainly beneficial, design owners should still proceed with caution. Differences in national requirements for protection, duration of protection and rules regarding deferred publication mean the single application process may not be straightforward and until design law is harmonised between participating countries, it may at times be more practical and even cost effective to file separate design applications in individual countries.