The Paris Convention is one of the first international treaties signed to protect industrial and intellectual property. The Convention allowed to overcome the obstacle of the principle of territoriality applicable to IP rights, with the aim of standardising the various national legal systems.

In fact, these legal systems offer protection in fields such as trademarks and patents which is limited to the territorial scope of the country covered by the registration or in which a patent is granted.

The Convention was signed on 20 March 1883 and has been revised several times to adapt to the evolution of IP rights. It is a multilateral agreement with 173 contracting countries joining in the Union.

Principles of the Paris Convention

Fundamental principles and rights are recognised in the agreement.

Right of reciprocity

The countries which subscribe to the Convention grant the citizens of other countries the same IP rights as their own (Article 2 of the Convention).

Principle of assimilation

Citizens of non-subscribing countries are treated, in terms of rights, as the citizens of the countries of the Union if domiciled in one of the countries of the Convention or if they own industrial or commercial establishments in one of them (Article 3 of the Convention).

Right of priority

Any person who "has duly filed an application for a patent, or for the registration of a utility model, or of an industrial design, or of a trademark, in one of the countries of the Union, (...), shall enjoy, for the purpose of filing in the other countries, a right of priority" (Article 4 of the Convention).

Filing and right of priority

Therefore, there is a close relationship between filing and right of priority.

In fact, any filing that is "equivalent to a regular national filing"(Article 4 of the Convention) is suitable for giving rise a right of priority and therefore identifying a date - in accordance with the national legislation of each country and that of the community.

However, the patent extension must be filed within certain terms of priority:
  • 12 months for invention patents and utility models

  • 6 months for industrial designs and trademarks.

These terms start from the date of the first application.
The correct calculation of the term excludes the filing date.

The right of priority implies that the necessary evaluation of the patentability requirements (novelty and inventive activity) of the application for extension in the countries party to the Convention takes place not with reference to the patent extension date, but to the one on which priority is invoked.

Therefore, since this type of application is examined as if it had been filed at the same time as that with priority, any type of disclosure of the invention following the priority filing does not invalidate further applications.

Benefits of the Convention

In particular, the Convention gives the inventor exactly one year to be able to file an application for the same invention in a second country, claiming the priority of the first filing.
In addition, it gives interested parties the opportunity to wait a year also for:

The necessary translations to be prepared for the extension of the application to the other countries of the Union;

The evaluation of the patent’s economic convenience.