Claiming priority is overall referred to the Paris Convention (PC). Thus, even if I refer to the EPC, it shall have the same answer for countries which are WTO or PC members.

Priority is defined by Art. 87(1) in EPC:

(1) Any person who has duly filed, in or for

(a) any State party to the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property or

(b) any Member of the World Trade Organization,

an application for a patent, a utility model or a utility certificate, or his successor in title, shall enjoy, for the purpose of filing a European patent application in respect of the same invention, a right of priority during a period of twelve months from the date of filing of the first application.

What is the meaning of "first application" here? Is it the first application from the same applicant or the overall first application?

To illustrate my question with an example:

  1. Applicant A files an application EP-A in Europe
  2. Applicant B files an application US-B in USA for same subject matter
  3. Applicant B files an application CA-B in Canada for same subject matter, claiming priority from US-B

The above step are conducted within 1 year, none of the applications are published. Is the priority claim valid?

  1. Now, the applicant B files an application EP-B in Europe for same subject matter, claiming priority from US-B.

Still none of the are published. But in this case, EPO knows both EP-A and EP-B. Also, EP-A is Art.54(3) prior art document for EP-B.

Is the priority claim of EP-B from US-B valid?


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