Filing a European, French or German patent application under Convention priority has never been simpler
The European Patent Convention, as well as national patent laws in France and Germany nowadays include several provisions that greatly simplify the filing of subsequent Convention priority applications in those countries.
1. Filing at the EPO, the FPO or the GPO in the language of the first filing
It is possible to file a subsequent Convention priority application at the European Patent Office (EPO), French Patent Office (FPO) or German Patent Office (GPO) by simply submitting the original description, claims and drawings of the priority application in the original foreign language. There is no restriction on the foreign language, the text and the drawings may be in any language. At the EPO and the FPO, the applicant has then to submit a translation into an official language of the Office within two months of the filing date. At the GPO, the deadline for submitting a German translation is three months from the filing date.
The advantage of filing the original foreign language text and drawings of the priority application is that these documents then constitute the initial disclosure of the subsequent EP, French or German application. Accordingly, in case of inaccuracies in the later-filed translation, the same can be brought into line with the original foreign language text. This is not possible if the filing of the subsequent application is made based on the translation.
2. Filing at the EPO or the FPO by reference to a previously filed application
At the EPO and the FPO, a subsequent Convention priority application can even be validly filed by, instead of filing application documents, simply providing the filing date, the application number and the name of the Office where the priority application was filed, together with an indication that the reference to the priority application replaces the application documents.
The applicant must then provide a certified copy of the priority application within two months of the filing date. If the priority application is not in an official language of the Office, the applicant must also file a translation into an official language within the same deadline.
The possibility to file a patent application in any language at the EPO, FPO or GPO and the possibility to file a patent application at the EPO and FPO by simple reference to an earlier application can be very helpful in meeting an imminent priority deadline.
Also, filing the original foreign language application documents at the EPO, FPO or GPO guarantees that any potential translation mistake can still be corrected during subsequent prosecution.
For further details and legal advice, please contact us.
- Publication date: March 2015
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