Efforts to expand the geographical scope of the Hague System by encouraging accession to the Geneva (1999) Act of the Hague Agreement started to bear fruit during the 2014/15 biennium, with certain countries representing some of the world’s major trading areas joining or standing close to accession. In as much as they will be new to the Hague System, they are amongst the world’s largest sources of design filings and are likely to stimulate further accessions. As such, the number of international applications filed during the 2016/17 biennium is expected to increase considerably. Furthermore, some of these countries are those for which a number of features of the 1999 Act were developed, particularly in view of the thorough novelty examination undertaken by their Offices. These features are among the more complex and have yet to be tested in practice.
In view of the above, the challenges for the 2016/17 biennium consist of coping with the expected growth; successfully implementing the features of the Geneva Act not yet put in practice and ensuring that the System remains attractive to users.
WIPO aims at making the Hague System the first choice for design registrations. To achieve this, WIPO will enhance awareness of the Hague System and promote its wider and better use, while, at the same time, improve its administration in the face of rising complexity and workloads.
Coordinated actions will take place on three fronts: visibility, geographical scope and system development.
(i) Visibility: promotion will continue in the existing membership where there is significant untapped potential. Promotion will also start in countries whose accession is imminent so as to foster immediate usage of the system after effective accession.
(ii) Geographical scope: promotion and technical assistance to foster expansion of the Hague System through new accessions to the Geneva Act will continue in cooperation with relevant Programs. Priority will be given to countries whose accession is likely to make the System more attractive to users or to prompt further accessions
(iii) System development: as the System expands, the sophistication of the IT support services will need to increase in order to achieve higher levels of productivity through efficiency gains and to accommodate the expectations of the various Hague System stakeholders, in particular the possibility of safely interacting with the international register online and in a real-time, self-service mode. Great attention will be paid to delivering improved online services that offer identical service and performance to all stakeholders, irrespective of geographic location. Also, further development of the legal framework will be required in order to ensure that it remains in step with new Contracting Parties’ legal systems and users’ needs. Finally, focusing the System around the 1999 Act appears essential in view of simplification, starting with continued efforts to terminate the antiquated London (1934) Act.
Program 31 collaborates primarily with other Programs as illustrated below:
RISKS AND MITIGATION STRATEGIES
Decline in the level of customer satisfaction due to difficulties in coping with growth in filings and information requests and to the growing complexity of the system as a result of the implementation of features supporting novelty examination in certain designated Offices.
Enhancing efficiency and effectiveness in all aspects of system administration, promotion of best practices and convergence amongst the Offices concerned; development of IT solutions to assist users and examiners of Offices and the International Bureau.
10 consents to termination of the 1934 Act received (3 still missing). 4 Contracting Parties bound only by the 1960 Act (which are not members of an intergovernmental organization party to the 1999 Act).
All (13) consents to termination received. All CPs to be bound by the 1999 Act (or members of an intergovernmental organization party to the 1999 Act).
Processes and procedures adapted to geographical and legal evolution of the system
Processes and procedures adapted
processes and procedures adapted
Progress towards the enhancement of the legal framework
Amendments to the Common Regulations ( into force on 1.1.2015) and the Administrative Instructions (into force on 1.7.2014) to adapt the Hague System to its geographical expansion to new and prospective CPs with examination systems.
Updating the Hague legal framework to keep pace with the evolvement in the design field worldwide.
Following amendments to the legal framework of the Hague System, more flexibility concerning optional contents of an international application may be indicated and recorded in the International Register.
Inability to record granular design information
Flexibility of data recorded in the International Register
and possible specification of further optional contents to be recorded in the International Register.
Ability to record granular design information
3 deployed versions of DIRIS and 3 deployed versions of Hague e-Filing
DIRIS not deployed, e-Filing HPM in production, current database design does not reflect the newly required granularity, e-Filing does not enable the electronic reply to irregularity letters
3 deployed new versions of DIRIS, 3 deployed updated versions of Hague e-Filing, electronic irregularity response enabled and a revised logical database design
RESOURCES FOR PROGRAM 31
The total resources for the Hague System show a slight decrease in 2016/17 compared to the 2014/15 Budget after Transfers. The decrease in personnel resources is due to the change in the costing methodology for personnel resources in 2016/17 based on actuals. Non-personnel resources for the Program have been re-adjusted based on expenditure patterns in 2014/15.