The Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property was among the first intellectual property treaties in world history. This agreement applies to many different types of industrial property (also known as intellectual property). Trademarks, patents, geographical indications, utility models, service marks, and industrial designs are all protected by this treaty signed by 177 countries. The treaty also represses unfair competition.
Substantive Provisions of the Paris Convention
The substantive provisions of the Paris Convention can be grouped into three categories: national treatment, right of priority, and common rules. According to its provisions on national treatment, with regard to the protection of intellectual property, each contracting nation is to provide the same protection to nationals of other contracting nations as it does for its own. The provisions on the right of priority relate to patents, utility models, trademarks, and industrial designs. When an applicant files a first application in a contracting nation, the applicant may also apply for protection in any other contracting nation within a certain timeframe (12 months for patents and utility models; 6 months for industrial designs and marks). If this is done, subsequent applications will be regarded as having been made at the same time as the first one.
The common rules of the Paris Convention are the treaty’s most important substantive provisions. This is because they specify the key details regarding patent, trademarks, industrial designs, trade names, and other forms of intellectual property.
Protection of Patents
According to the Paris Convention, patents granted in different contracting nations for the same invention are independent of each other. This means that even if a patent has been granted in one contracting nation, others do not have to follow suit. In addition, a patent cannot be refused, annulled, or terminated in any contracting nation if it has suffered the same fate in another. The treaty also provides inventors with the right to be named as such in any patent. The Paris Convention not only protects patents; it also encourages business owners to actively seek application for them. This is because it prevents the refusal of a patent grant as well as the invalidation of one even if the sale of a patented product or a product obtained through a patented process will be restricted or limited by domestic laws.
Protection of Trademarks
The Paris Convention ensures that no application for trademark registration filed by a national of a contracting nation may be refused on the ground that filing, registration, or renewal has not been effected in the country of origin. The same is true regarding the invalidation of a registration. Should a trademark be registered in its country of origin, it must be accepted for filing and protection in its original form in any other contracting nation as soon as a request is made. All collective marks are to receive ample protection. Contracting nations are to refuse registration and prohibit the use of trademarks which are liable to create confusion, represent a reproduction or imitation, or are already being used for identical and similar products while being well-known in any contracting nation and owned by a person entitled to the Paris Convention’s benefits. Unauthorized images of armorial bearings, national emblems, and official signs or hallmarks of contracting nations are not to be used as part of trademarks.
Protection of Other Forms of Intellectual Property
Industrial designs must receive protection in each contracting nation; this protection may not be forfeited on the ground that objects incorporating the design are not manufactured in the relevant nation. The treaty also requires the granting of protection to trade names in each contracting nation. There must also be no obligation to file or register these trade names. Contracting nations are to take appropriate measures against either direct or indirect uses of false indications of the sources of goods or identities of producers, manufacturers, or traders. They are also to provide for effective protection against unfair competition, thus ensuring that intellectual property rights around the world are held in proper regard.
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