20 March 1883

The Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property is signed.

The Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property is one of the oldest and most significant international treaties concerning intellectual property rights. It was first adopted in 1883 in Paris, hence its name, and has since undergone several revisions and amendments. The primary aim of the convention is to foster international cooperation in the protection of intellectual property rights, particularly patents, trademarks, and industrial designs.

National Treatment: One of the fundamental principles of the convention is the concept of “national treatment.” This means that member countries must treat nationals of other member countries in the same way they treat their own nationals regarding the protection of intellectual property rights. In other words, foreign individuals or entities seeking protection for their intellectual property in a member country are entitled to the same rights and benefits as the country’s own citizens or entities.

Right of Priority: The convention introduced the concept of the “right of priority.” This provision allows an applicant who has filed for a patent, trademark, or industrial design in one member country to subsequently file an application for the same intellectual property in another member country within a specified period (usually 12 months for patents and utility models, and 6 months for industrial designs and trademarks) and still claim the earlier filing date as the effective filing date. This ensures that the applicant retains the priority date for their intellectual property rights across multiple jurisdictions.

Minimum Standards of Protection: The Paris Convention sets forth minimum standards of protection for intellectual property rights that member countries must adhere to. However, it does not harmonize the substantive laws of member countries; rather, it establishes a framework for cooperation and mutual recognition of intellectual property rights.

Administrative Provisions: The convention also includes administrative provisions related to the registration and enforcement of intellectual property rights, as well as mechanisms for dispute resolution between member countries.

Revisions and Amendments: Over the years, the Paris Convention has undergone several revisions and amendments to adapt to evolving trends in intellectual property law and to address emerging challenges. These revisions have expanded the scope of protection and introduced new provisions to enhance international cooperation.

The Paris Convention has played a crucial role in facilitating the global exchange of ideas, innovations, and creative works by providing a framework for the protection of intellectual property rights across national borders. It serves as the foundation for many subsequent international agreements and treaties relating to intellectual property, including the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) administered by the World Trade Organization (WTO).