Quick Navigation


Guidelines for Examination


3. Date of filing or priority date as effective date

It should be noted that "date of filing" in Art. 54(2) and (3) is to be interpreted as meaning the date of priority in appropriate cases (see F‑VI, 1.2). It should be remembered that different claims, or different alternatives claimed in one claim, may have different effective dates, i.e. the date of filing or (one of) the claimed priority date(s). The question of novelty must be considered against each claim (or part of a claim where a claim specifies a number of alternatives) and the state of the art in relation to one claim or one part of a claim may include matter, e.g. an intermediate document (see B‑X, 9.2.4), which cannot be cited against another claim or another alternative in the same claim because it has an earlier effective date.

The priority right of the application being examined or the patent being opposed may also be lost as a result of failure to provide a translation of the priority when requested in accordance with Rule 53(3) (see A‑III, 6.8 and sub-sections).

Of course, if all the matter in the state of the art was made available to the public before the date of the earliest priority document, the examiner need not (and should not) concern himself with the allocation of effective dates.

If the applicant files missing parts of the description, or drawings (see A‑II, 5.1), late under Rule 56, the accorded date of the application is the date of filing of these missing elements under Rule 56(2) (see A‑II, 5.3), unless they are completely contained in the priority document and the requirements given in Rule 56(3) are satisfied (see A‑II, 5.4), in which case the original filing date is maintained. The date of the application as a whole is thus either the date of filing of the missing elements or the original filing date.

Claims filed in response to a communication under Rule 58 (see A‑III, 15)do not result in a change in the filing date of the application (see A‑III, 15), as they are considered as amendments to the application as filed (see H‑IV, 2.3.3).