One design patent application can now be used in more than 70 countries

As a result of the U.S. joining the Hague Agreement on Industrial Designs, beginning May 13, 2015, U.S. applicants can file a single design patent application and elect one or more of the 70-plus countries that are members of the Hague Agreement.

U.S. applicants should see a reduction of costs because they will no longer need to hire local patent attorneys in individual countries to file separate applications. In addition, as many as 100 designs can be included in a single application, as long as the designs all relate to the same class of design. However, each design carries an additional cost, so applicants must be careful when deciding how many designs to include in an application.

The length of U.S. design patents will also increase, from 14 years to 15 years, per the treaty. As with all design patents, particular attention must be paid to the quality of the drawings and photographs illustrating the design or designs.