MPEP 2920.05(b)
One Independent and Distinct Design

This is the Ninth Edition of the MPEP, Revision 08.2017, Last Revised in Januay 2018

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2920.05(b)    One Independent and Distinct Design [R-07.2015]

Hague Article 13

Special Requirements Concerning Unity of Design

  • (1) [Notification of Special Requirements] Any Contracting Party whose law, at the time it becomes party to this Act, requires that designs that are the subject of the same application conform to a requirement of unity of design, unity of production or unity of use, or belong to the same set or composition of items, or that only one independent and distinct design may be claimed in a single application, may, in a declaration, notify the Director General accordingly. However, no such declaration shall affect the right of an applicant to include two or more industrial designs in an international application in accordance with Article 5(4), even if the application designates the Contracting Party that has made the declaration.
  • (2) [Effect of Declaration]Any such declaration shall enable the Office of the Contracting Party that has made it to refuse the effects of the international registration pursuant to Article 12(1) pending compliance with the requirement notified by that Contracting Party.

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37 C.F.R. 1.1064  One independent and distinct design.

  • (a) Only one independent and distinct design may be claimed in a nonprovisional international design application.
  • (b) If the requirements under paragraph (a) of this section are not satisfied, the examiner shall in the notification of refusal or other Office action require the applicant in the reply to that action to elect one independent and distinct design for which prosecution on the merits shall be restricted. Such requirement will normally be made before any action on the merits but may be made at any time before the final action. Review of any such requirement is provided under §§ 1.143 and 1.144.

Only one independent and distinct design may be claimed in a nonprovisional international design application. See 37 CFR 1.1064. Under Article 13 of the Hague Agreement, a Contracting Party whose law at the time it becomes party to the Hague Agreement requires, inter alia, that only one independent and distinct design may be claimed in a single application, can refuse the effects of the international registration on grounds of noncompliance with such requirement. U.S. law requires that only one independent and distinct design may be claimed in a single application. See In re Rubinfield, 270 F.2d 391 (CCPA 1959); In re Platner, 155 USPQ 222 (Comm’r Pat. 1967); MPEP § 1504.05. The practice set forth in MPEP § 1504.05 is generally applicable to nonprovisional international design applications. If more than one independent and distinct design is claimed in the nonprovisional international design application, the examiner should in the notification of refusal or other Office action require the applicant in the reply to that action to elect one independent and distinct design for which prosecution on the merits shall be restricted. The requirement should normally be made before any action on the merits but may be made at any time before the final action. Review of any such requirement is provided under 37 CFR 1.143 and 1.144.