Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property

This convention facilitates in seeking protection for various types of industrial property in countries that are signatories to this convention. The date of filing the first application in a convention country (e.g., India) may be claimed as the priority date in other convention countries if the application for protection in those countries is filed within 6 or 12 months of filing the first application (12 months for patents; 6 months for industrial designs and marks). The main advantage is that when an applicant desires protection in several countries, he is not required to present all his applications at the same time in those countries, but has an additional 6 or 12 months to decide in which countries to seek protection.

Subject Matter of the Paris Convention:

The Paris Convention applies to industrial property, including patents, marks, industrial designs, utility models, trade names, geographical indications and the repression of unfair competition.

Main Provisions of the Paris Convention:

The substantive provisions fall into three main categories: national treatment, right of priority and common rules.

  • National treatment: Each contracting State must grant the same protection to nationals of the other contracting States as it grants to its own nationals. Nationals of non-contracting States are also entitled to national treatment if they are domiciled or have a real and effective industrial or commercial establishment in a contracting State.
  • Right of priority: On the basis of a regular first application filed in one of the contracting States, the applicant may, within a certain period of time (12 months for patents; 6 months for industrial designs and marks), apply for protection in any of the other contracting States; these later applications will be regarded as if they had been filed on the same day as the first application, i.e., the later application will have priority over applications which may have been filed during the said period of time by other persons for the same invention, mark or industrial design.
  • Common rules: Certain rules which all the contracting States must follow. Some of the important rules are as follows:
    • Independence of patents: Patents granted in different contracting States for the same invention are independent of each other - the granting of a patent in one contracting State does not oblige the other contracting States to grant a patent; a patent cannot be refused, annulled or terminated in any contracting State on the ground that it has been refused or annulled or has terminated in any other contracting State.
    • Compulsory license for patents: legislative measures providing for the grant of compulsory licenses must have certain limitations. For example, a request for compulsory license based on failure to work the patented invention may be filed only after 3-4 years of failure to work or insufficient working of the patented invention and the request must be refused if the patentee gives legitimate reasons to justify his inaction.
    • Marks: no application for the registration of a mark filed by a national of a contracting State may be refused, nor may a registration be invalidated, on the ground that filing, registration or renewal has not been effected in the country of origin.
    • Industrial Designs: must be protected in each contracting State, and protection may not be forfeited on the ground that the articles incorporating the design are not manufactured in that State.
    • Trade Names: Protection must be granted to trade names in each contracting State without the obligation of filing or registration.
    • Indications of Source: Measures must be taken by each contracting State against direct or indirect use of a false indication of the source of the goods or the identity of the producer, manufacturer or trader.
    • Unfair Competition: Each contracting State must provide for effective protection against unfair competition.


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