In an interview with Managing IP last year, Korean IP Office (KIPO) Commissioner Kim Young-min cited accession to the system as an important goal of the office.
The Hague system is one of the three international registration systems maintained by WIPO, though it is not as prominent as the Madrid Protocol for trade marks and the PCT for patents. Last year, the Hague system saw a 14.8% increase in filings, with a record 2,990 applications. By contrast, there were 46,829 Madrid filings last year and 205,300 PCT filings.
One reason for the lower numbers is that many large jurisdictions have not acceded to the system. Neither China, Japan nor the US have joined, though they are expected to do so shortly. According to KIPO, those three countries along with Korea account for 85% of the slightly less than 1 million industrial design applications filed in 2012.
Somewhat surprisingly, North Korea has been a signatory to the Hague agreement since 1992.