Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Patent Law Treaties Implementation Act of 2012- Design Patent Protection Extended to 15 Years

The S. 3486 Bill, titled the “Patent Law Treaties Implementation Act of 2012,” which would implement the provisions of the Hague Agreement and the Patent Law Treaty, has passed the House by voice vote earlier today.  The Hague Agreement aims to streamline procedures for obtaining design patent protection in member countries.  A summary and a copy of the Bill are available here.

The Hague Agreement allows an individual to apply for Industrial Design protection in all countries participating in the Agreement using a single application.  Similar to utility applications, applications for design protection will be reviewed by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).  The bill also adds a new chapter to 35 U.S.C. on “international design applications,” specifying the regulations for filing the industrial design applications and determining priority dates based on foreign filing.  One of most noteworthy provisions is the change to the term of a design patent from 14 to 15 years from the date of grant. 

The Bill has been a long time in the making: the Hague agreement was signed over 12 years ago, and the Bill was ratified by the U.S. Senate in 2007.  The Bill now moves on to the White House for signature.  If signed, the provisions of the Bill shall take effect 1 year after the date of the enactment.  As always, we will continue to monitor and provide any meaningful updates.

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