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What’s priority right?

What’s priority right?

Priority right, which is activated by the first filing, shows that you’ve been the first to apply for an invention, industrial design or trademark. To make use of it, you need to claim your priority right when filing abroad.

What’s the time limit for claiming priority?

Applicants have “twelve months for patents and utility models, and six months for industrial designs and trademarks” (Paris Convention, Art.4) from the filing date of the initial application to take further actions.

Why shall I claim priority?

The Patent Office will decide on the novelty of your invention (check out our post on novelty) based on the priority date. If you filed without priority, all the information that became known in the world (including your first application, if published) would be a part of the state of the art, and your invention would no longer be considered new or novel.

All in all, priority claim preserves the rights of the applicants who want to obtain protection for their intellectual property in more than one country.

Utility Model

This time we will focus closely on one of the IP types - utility model. So let’s find out what exactly can be protected as a utility model and how it differs from a utility patent / a patent for an invention.

Similarly to an invention, a utility model, also known as a “petty patent”, can be patented to protect a technical innovation and prevent other people from exploiting it without permission of the rights holder. In some countries, applicants can register utility models in the same fields of technologies as inventions. Others allow such type of protection only for mechanical devices and machines, but not for technical, chemical, or biological processes. Suitable subject matters for utility models vary depending on the jurisdiction.

The major difference between inventions and utility models is the fact that only two criteria of #patentability (novelty and industrial applicability) are required to register a utility model. The inventive step (introduced by us earlier) is not obligatory. Moreover, utility models do not go through substantive examination in most jurisdictions. These two factors make this #IP type a quicker and more affordable option for applicants.

Unfortunately, the period of validity for utility models is significantly shorter than that for inventions: 10 years from filing date on average. This can be satisfactory for products with a rather short commercial life.

Utility models are not available in all countries. You can find the information on whether or not a specific country offers such an opportunity in our IPGuide