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May 13, 2021

Belarus acceded to the Hague Agreement

April 19, 2021 saw the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belarus deposit the country's instrument of accession to the Geneva Act of the Hague Agreement on the International Registration of Industrial Designs. The accession allows for the country to officially join the Hague Agreement, and begin to utilise the Hague System 3 months after the accession as of July 19, 2021. This move follows the signing of the Law of the Republic of Belarus "On the accession of the Republic of Belarus to the Geneva Act of the Hague Agreement on the International Registration of Industrial Designs" on April 9, 2021.

From the aforementioned date onwards, designers from member states of the Agreement can begin to utilise the Hague System to obtain legal protection of their industrial designs in the territory of the Republic of Belarus. In turn, designers from Belarus will be able to protect their industrial designs simultaneously in all or a select number of the member states.

The Hague Agreement itself was initially concluded in 1925, and is governed by the Geneva Act 1999, and the Hague Act 1960. Together, they allow for an international industrial design system (Hague System) under the Hague Agreement, which provides the opportunity for applicants to submit a single industrial design application accompanied by one set of documents and fees, to the WIPO, covering protection in any chosen number of member states. An application should be filed in one uniform language, comprising either English, Spanish or French, and can include up to 100 industrial designs to be registered.

The Hague System, now with 75 contracting parties covering 92 countries in total, not only simplifies the process for obtaining industrial design protection within the member states, but reduces the costs and also ensures a smoother procedure for the maintenance of rights throughout each state in which the design is valid.

The accession of Belarus to the Hague Agreement is a positive step forward for the state in terms of encouraging legal protection for industrial designs, one of the country's important exports. This is hoped to lead to an increase in international design applications, improving the business climate and the commercialisation of innovative Belarusian products across the globe, as well as making the country more attractive for foreign investors.

Author: Danielle Carvey