The Korean Intellectual Property Office said that Samsung Electronics topped the list of “international design applications filed under the Hague system in 2015” with 1,132 filings, according to the statistics released by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) on April 10. The Swatch Group of Switzerland ranked second with 511 filings, followed by Fonkel with 438 applications and Volkswagen AG of Germany with 418.
By country, South Korea ranked fourth with 1,282 designs, following Germany with 3,453 filings, Switzerland with 3,316 and France with 1,317. The country was able to take fourth spot in the list in a short period of time because more and more local large conglomerates were utilizing the system.
The Hague Agreement is an international registration system which offers the possibility of obtaining protection for industrial designs in designated member countries, such as the U.S., Japan and Europe, by filing a single international application. South Korea joined the system in 2014. With the system, each country doesn’t have to file an international application through a registered attorney or agent but in a single language, making the procedure simple with low cost. Also, a country can easily change the ownership of registered design rights, making more manageable.
Until now, the Hague System has been mainly operated by European countries. However, major countries, including the U.S., Japan as well as Korea, have joined the system one after another and the total number of international applications recorded 16,435 last year. Currently, 83 countries can submit applications for international industrial design through the Hague system.