Priority and filing date
Priority means that those who have submitted an application in one country are able to submit an application for the same invention in another country within twelve months and have the second application considered to have been submitted simultaneously with the first with regard to its novelty. However, each application has a different filing date.
To obtain priority, the country in which you submit the second application must be party to the Paris Convention or the WTO.
The date on which you submitted your application from which priority is being claimed is called the priority date. If someone else applies for a patent for the same or a similar invention, an early priority date may give you precedence.
Important deadlines to bear in mind with regard to priority
12 months: In order for your application to be given priority in another country, you must submit an application for the same invention in that country within twelve months of your first application being submitted.
16 months: If you want to request priority on the basis of an earlier application, you must do so within 16 months of the priority date, i.e. the filing date of your first application.
You can also request priority within four month of the date on which you submitted your new application if this is a later date.
Benefits of priority
The right to priority has many benefits.
If you submit your foreign application within the priority year, you can:
- hold off on spending time and money applying for patents in other countries until you already have a verdict on whether the invention is patentable,
- make your invention public as soon as you have submitted your first patent application without this destroying its novelty abroad,
- retain novelty even if someone else applied for a patent for the same or a similar invention in the period between your priority date and your foreign filing date.
You have submitted a patent application in Sweden that concerns packaging. You now want to patent the same packaging in Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Japan and the USA. Within one year, you can submit national applications in these countries and request priority on the basis of your Swedish application.
If you do this, your application is considered to have been submitted simultaneously in all these countries, i.e. on the same day as you submitted your application in Sweden.
You are also able to use the priority year if you choose instead to submit a Patent Cooperation Treaty, PCT application that you complete in Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Japan and the USA, or submit a European patent application.