About the Paris Convention

The Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property was one of the first intellectual property treaties. It established a Union for the protection of industrial property. Any person who has duly filed an application for a patent, utility model, industrial design, or of a trademark, in one of the countries of the Union, shall enjoy, for the purpose of filing in the other countries, a right of priority. The periods of priority shall be twelve (12) months for patents and utility models, and six (6) months for industrial designs and trademarks.

This Treaty basically gives you time to extend your patent/trademark abroad without compromising your rights. When you file a patent or a trademark in your country you have a “priority right” that gives you twelve (12) months (for patents) or six (6) months (for trademarks) to extend your rights abroad. The filing date in the foreign country will be the same filing date in your country.

At present, the Members of the Paris Convention are:

  • Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan;
  • Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi;
  • Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic;
  • Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic;
  • Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Estonia;
  • Finland, France;
  • Gabon; Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana;
  • Haiti, Holy See, Honduras, Hungary;
  • Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy;
  • Jamaica, Japan, Jordan;
  • Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan;
  • Lao People's Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg;
  • Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique;
  • Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway;
  • Oman;
  • Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal;
  • Qatar;
  • Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Rwanda;
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, San Marino, Sao Tome and Principe, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Syrian Arab Republic;
  • Tajikistan, Thailand, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan;
  • Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, United States of America, Uruguay, Uzbekistan;
  • Venezuela, Viet Nam;
  • Yemen;
  • Zambia, Zimbabwe.

As long as your original application has not been published, and you have not publicly disclosed your invention and no exports with foreign countries have been closed you can still file a non-Convention application. The main difference is the filing date. Instead of having the priority of your original filing date, the filing date in the foreign country will be the actual filing date. There will be no retroactive action to the original filing date.