According to the Korean Intellectual Property Office, Samsung filed most international design patents in 2015 under the Hague Agreement. The company filed 1,132 design patents last year, and these numbers were released by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) on April 10.
Samsung was followed by the Swatch Group of Switzerland, Fonkel, and Volkswagen AG of Germany with 511, 438, and 418 patent application filings, respectively. South Korean firms collectively filed 1,282 patent applications, making the country fourth largest in this aspect. Germany, Switzerland, and France were the top three countries with 3,453, 3,317, and 1,317 patent applications, respectively.
The Hague Agreement is an international registration system where firms from designated member countries can obtain protection of industrial designs by filing a single international application. Moreover, these patent applications can be filed in a single language without a need to file them through a registered attorney or an agent, making the whole process simpler and cost-effective.
Only European countries were using the Hague Agreement, but major countries including the US, Japan, and South Korea joined the system recently, and a whopping 16,435 design patent applications were filed last year. Currently, 83 countries can file industrial design patent applications using the system.