New tools for Canadians to protect their intellectual property on the international stage

News release

Canada accedes to Hague Agreement, a key intellectual property treaty for industrial design

November 5, 2018 – Ottawa, Ontario

Canadian companies that protect their creations and ideas are more innovative, enjoy higher growth and create better jobs than their competitors.

Canada acceded today to the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs, an international treaty that will make it easier for businesses to protect the unique designs they have developed for their products.

Canadian enterprises will now have access to a simpler, faster and more effective way to register and protect their industrial designs around the world through a single system managed by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). The Hague Agreement allows applicants from member countries to register up to 100 industrial designs in multiple jurisdictions using a single application, language and currency.

The Government of Canada has significantly modernized its industrial design regime, helping Canadian businesses and innovators reap the full rewards of their hard work.

Canada is also working to join four other international intellectual property (IP) treaties administered by WIPO: the Madrid Protocol, the Singapore Treaty, the Nice Agreement for Trademarks and the Patent Law Treaty. Joining these treaties will help Canadian businesses looking to enter or expand their presence in international markets. It also supports Canada’s Intellectual Property Strategy and its goal of helping Canadian businesses, creators, entrepreneurs and innovators understand, protect and access IP.


“In acceding to this agreement, our government is helping Canadian businesses protect their creations and ideas on the international stage. These tools help Canadian businesses and creators thrive in the competitive global marketplace and create good middle-class jobs for Canadians.”

– The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

“WIPO is delighted that Canada, one of the world’s leading economies, has joined the Hague System, making the System even more attractive for existing and future members. We look forward to further expansion of the Hague System so it becomes a truly international arrangement that facilitates the process of seeking design protection for designers the world over.”

– Francis Gurry, Director General, World Intellectual Property Organization

“FICPI Canada salutes the Government of Canada for acceding to the Hague Agreement. The Hague System for the International Registration of Industrial Designs is an important tool for Canadian designers and owners of industrial designs to acquire international protection for their industrial designs. FICPI Canada hopes that accession to the Hague Agreement will lead to increased filing of applications for registration of industrial designs, which has hitherto been an underutilized albeit important form of protection.”

– Coleen Morrison, President, FICPI Canada (Fédération Internationale des Conseils en Propriété Intellectuelle)

“The protection provided by industrial designs is an increasingly important part of a company’s intellectual property strategy, whether in the field of manufacturing, consumer goods, retail or electronics. Canada’s accession to the Hague Agreement enables companies to use the centralized international system to protect their unique designs in Canada and other countries. The corresponding practice updates are welcome changes that make it easier for both Canadian and foreign companies to obtain valuable protection in Canada by more closely aligning practices with what is acceptable in other jurisdictions.”

 – Curtis Behmann, Chair of the Intellectual Property Institute of Canada’s Industrial Design Committee

“Intellectual property is at the very heart of our success. In addition to trademarks, we hold more than 140 patents and industrial designs that have either been or are in the process of being registered the world over. Our IP portfolio includes registrations in some 40 countries. It’s a long and sometimes arduous process. But because Canada has acceded to the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs, companies like ours will only need to file an application for registration once through the World Intellectual Property Organization and be able to protect it in more than 60 countries.”

– Adrian Popovici, Chief of Legal Affairs, PBSC Urban Solutions Inc.

Quick facts

  • The Hague Agreement is administered by WIPO and will enable Canadians to use a system that allows applicants from member countries to register up to 100 industrial designs in multiple jurisdictions through one application, in one language and with fees paid in one currency.

  • There are 69 countries and regional associations in the Hague System, including most of Canada’s major trading partners, such as the United States, the European Union, South Korea and Japan.

  • Industrial designs protect the unique visual appearance of a product and are a growing element of intellectual property. According to WIPO, the total number of designs protected worldwide doubled between 2005 and 2016.

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Nilani Logeswaran
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

Media Relations
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

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