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Guidelines for Examination

 
 
6.2
Applications giving rise to a right of priority 

Applications giving rise to a right of priority referred to in A-III, 6.1(i) are those filed at industrial property offices:

(a)
of or acting for States party to the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property,  
(b)
of or acting for any member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), or 
(c)
not subject to either the Paris Convention or the Agreement establishing the WTO, but where: 
(i)
that authority recognises that a first filing made at the EPO gives rise to a right of priority under conditions and with effects equivalent to those laid down in the Paris Convention, and 
(ii)
the President of the EPO issues a communication indicating this. 

To date, no such communication referred to in (c)(ii) has been issued and so this does not as yet apply. Furthermore, the members of the WTO do not necessarily have to be States as such, but may also be intergovernmental bodies or regions with special status such as the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu.

In view of the wording of Art. 87(1) which refers to filings "in or for" any State party to the Paris Convention or member of the WTO, priority may be claimed of an earlier first filed national application, European application or international application. This includes the US "provisional application for patent" (Notice from the President of the EPO dated 26 January 1996, OJ EPO 1996, 81). A list of the countries party to the Paris Convention is published on WIPO's website and is regularly published in the Official Journal of the EPO. Likewise a list of the members of the WTO is published on the website of the WTO, and this list is also regularly updated.

The decisions G 2/02 and G 3/02 previously excluded the possibility of claiming priority from an application filed at the industrial property authority of members of the WTO which were not also signatory states to the Paris Convention (Art. 87(1) EPC 1973). This exclusion no longer applies under the revised Art. 87(1).