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Case Law of the Boards of Appeal

 
 
4. Partial and multiple priorities

In cases where partial or multiple priorities can be validly claimed the subject-matters of the subsequent application have two or more operative priority dates. In the case of a partial priority that part of the subsequent application's subject-matters disclosed in the previous application has the priority date of the previous application; for the remaining part the date of filing of the subsequent application applies. With multiple priorities, the priority of two or more previous applications is claimed. In this case, claims in the subsequent application have the priority date of the previous application in which the subject-matter subsequently claimed was disclosed. Multiple priorities may be claimed for any one claim (Art. 88(2), second sentence, EPC 1973), as long as several subject-matters are included (see also 4.3 below).

In such situations, when the content of an application forming the basis of a priority claim is published during the priority interval, the question arises whether such content belongs to the state of the art which can be cited against the partial subject-matters of the subsequent application which have a priority date after the date of publication.