The following IP guidance note Produced in partnership with IP Asset LLP provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:
This Practice Note follows on from Practice Note: Applying to patent an invention in the UK. The content of that note is not repeated in this one.
Patent law still remains largely domestic, with national offices operating in each territory to examine and grant patent applications and national courts dealing with enforcement of those national patents.
A number of international treaties exist and they are designed to harmonise patent protection across the globe and make it easier for applicants. This note refers to a couple of those: the Paris Convention and the Patents Co-operation Treaty (PCT).
One of the oldest patent treaties is the Paris Convention. This provides for certain minimum standards and seeks to ensure that there is no discrimination between patent protection granted to local patentees and patent protection granted to foreign patentees who are nationals of or resident in a contracting state.
The Paris Convention sets out a right to priority. This means that, provided a patent application for the same invention is filed in a contracting state within 12 months of the first filing in another contracting state, the applicant will be able to backdate its application to its first application date. Although originally designed at a time when patent application documents had to travel by surface mail, this continues to be a valuable tool, as it enables an applicant to file an application in its home state (or another of choice) and then have a further year to see how matters progress before committing to filing further afield.
The priority date is important and as most countries examine patents in the light of documents published anywhere
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