China Joins Two Key WIPO Treaties

 

China has joined WIPO’s Hague System for the International Registration of Industrial Designs, marking a major development for the International Design System, as well as the Marrakesh Treaty, bringing one of the world’s great cultural and literary traditions into the Marrakesh community.

WIPO Director General Daren Tang received China’s accession document to the Marrakesh Treaty  from Vice Minister Zhang Jianchun, National Copyright Administration of China, and China’s accession document for the Hague System from Commissioner Shen Changyu, China National Intellectual Property Administration.

Chinese residents filed a total of 795,504 designs in 2020, representing some 55% of the worldwide total. China’s entry into the Hague System will make it easier and cheaper for these designers to protect and promote their work overseas.

China’s accessions came during Mr. Tang’s trip to China to attend the opening of the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games, where he joined UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, the President of the UN General Assembly and other heads of international organizations at these Olympic ceremonies.

China is the most populous country in the world, and the birthplace of one of the world’s great literary and cultural traditions. Joining the Marrakesh Treaty means that the over 17 million[i] person blind and visually impaired community in China will now have even greater access to copyrighted works. It will also increase the cross-border movement of Chinese language content in formats accessible to members of this community in other parts of the world.

China joining these two treaties is an important development for the global IP ecosystem, said WIPO Director General Daren Tang

On China’s accession to the Hague System, Mr Tang said: “From the earliest ornamental products made by our Stone Age ancestors to the modern day haute couture we see on runways across the globe, designers enrich, excite and enliven us. Designers are also playing a bigger role in shaping the look and feel of the products we use every day – from household products and mobile phones to virtual designs. China’s accession to the Hague System means that the design community in China will find it easier to protect and bring their designs out of China, and overseas designers will find it easier to move their designs into one of the world’s largest and most-dynamic markets.”

On China’s ratification of the Marrakesh Treaty, Mr. Tang said: “China has one of the world’s oldest and richest continuing literary and cultural traditions. With China’s entry into the Marrakesh Treaty, people who are blind or have other visual impairments will benefit from having greater access to this rich and continuing tradition. And the blind and visually impaired community in China, which is estimated at over 17 million, will benefit more easily from accessible versions of foreign-produced texts. WIPO’s Accessible Books Consortium (ABC), which works with NGOs to convert books into formats accessible by the visually impaired, will work with stakeholders to add a strong collection of books in Chinese to its current offering of 730,000 books in 80 languages.”

Background:

About the Hague System

The Hague System provides a straightforward solution to international design protection that eliminates the need to file separate and multiple applications in individual countries or regions. Users file one online international application to register up to 100 designs in more than 90 countries. One international registration provides you with the equivalent of a bundle of national or regional registrations.

With China’s accession, all designers in China will be able to use the International Design System to protect and promote their designs overseas, saving time and money. Some larger Chinese enterprises with an establishment, such as a manufacturing plant, in countries that are already members, like Xiaomi, Lenovo and others, have already been using the Hague System – underlining the demand for an easier and faster way to operate internationally.

Foreign designers will have easier access to the Chinese market, using one application and one set of fees to file for protection in 94 countries including China when its accession comes into force on May 5, 2022.

Industrial designs constitute the ornamental aspect of an article. An industrial design may consist of three dimensional features, such as the shape of an article, or two dimensional features, such as patterns, lines or color: More recently, graphical user interfaces or objects for the virtual world are becoming popular forms of designs. Design registrations in respect of health and personal safety items have also risen lately, showing the relevance of design innovation as part of the worldwide efforts to curb the COVID-19 pandemic.

About the Marrakesh Treaty

The WIPO-administered Marrakesh Treaty makes the production and international transfer of specially-adapted books for people with blindness or visual impairments easier. It does this by establishing a set of limitations and exceptions to traditional copyright law.

The Marrakesh Treaty was adopted on June 27, 2013, and entered into force on September 30, 2016. It is WIPO’s fasting growing treaty and now includes 84 contracting parties before China’s accession comes into force on May 5, 2022.

[i] Source: Second National Sample Survey of the Handicapped in China – conducted by a leading group jointly formed by several Ministries and other entities in China, with the approval of the State Council.

The World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) is the global forum for intellectual property policy, services, information and cooperation. A specialized agency of the United Nations, WIPO assists its 193 member states in developing a balanced international IP legal framework to meet society’s evolving needs. It provides business services for obtaining IP rights in multiple countries and resolving disputes. It delivers capacity-building programs to help developing countries benefit from using IP. And it provides free access to unique knowledge banks of IP information.

www.wipo.org