For establishing a Union for the protection of Industrial Property, Paris Convention Treaty was signed in Paris on 20 March 1883. It is one of the first intellectual property treaties.
In 1873, several countries were invited by the Empire of Austria-Hungary to an international exhibition of inventions held in Vienna. Due to the absence of adequate legal protection, most of the inventors declined to exhibit their inventions at that exhibition, which gave rise to two historic changes:
● Austria passed a law for providing temporary protection to all foreigners participating in the exhibition for their inventions.
● Congress of Vienna convened for at Paris for Patent Reform.
As an outcome of the convention, 11 states (Belgium, Brazil, France, Guatemala, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, El Salvador, Serbia, Spain, and Switzerland) signed the International Convention for the Protection of Industrial property. These states formed a Union of patenting authorities and therefore are also referred to as the “Paris Union”.
There are 3 main substantive provisions of the Paris Convention are Right to National Treatment, Priority Right, and common rules.
Right to National Treatment: No preferential treatment must be given by the Paris Union countries to patent holders who are citizens over those who are not.
Priority Right: Under priority right, a patent application that has been filed in a home country is provided with a 12-month period to file a Paris Convention application.
Since the inception, Paris convention laws have been revised six times. Over time, members of this convention have expanded from 11 to 177 contracting states (for the list of contracting states, you can click here).
Paris Convention Members in green:
Picture source: www.wikipedia.org
Paris Convention Treaty is serving the requirement of filing a patent application in multiple countries. Typically, the Paris Convention route is adopted when an Applicant is confident about the patentability of the invention and has enough resources/budget required to file and prosecute patent applications in different countries. As the Paris Convention application is to be filed within 12 months from the priority date, allowance of patent applications filed through the Convention route is faster than when national phase applications are filed through the PCT route. Also, the Convention route is usually adopted when the filing is to be done in fewer numbers of countries (say 1-2). As mentioned above, claiming of priority date in a Convention Application is based on an application filed in the home country, which helps in a faster prosecution of the applications filed in other countries.