THE PARIS CONVENTION:
Paris Convention is one of the oldest International Treaties for the protection of Intellectual Property at the International Level. Paris Convention has succeeded in bringing together diversified countries with the aim of harmonizing and protecting Intellectual Property with regards to Trade Names, Industrial Designs, Patents, Utility Models, Copyrights and Unfair Competition.
Paris Convention was adopted in 1883 and has undergone several revisions since its inception.
Major outcome of the Paris Convention has been WIPO which is the global administrative body looking after and supervising IPR law amongst signatory countries.
Main aspects of the Paris Convention – Patents and Industrial Designs:
• National Treatment: Nationals of signatory countries enjoy reciprocity in treatment which means each national enjoys the same advantages and benefits in all the signatory countries the way he would in his home country. Paris Convention ensures equality in Intellectual Property Law to all the nationals of the contracting signatory countries.
• Priority: Paris Convention ensures that the priority of a patent and industrial design application right is not lost in multiple jurisdictions, which means that a person can claim priority in the country of his choice within 6 months of filing the industrial design application and 12 months for the patent application in his home country and yet retain the same date of filing in the country of choice.
The most advantageous aspect of the Paris Convention is that, the applicant need not go about filing applications in all the countries of choice at one go but has a window of 6 months and 12 months respectively regarding industrial designs and patents accordingly to consolidate and choose wisely as to the preferred country that the applicant thinks is most suited for prosecuting his patent and design rights.
• Unfair Competition: All the signatory countries have to assure protection against Unfair Competition to all the nationals which comprises of practices contrary to honest trade namely, activities creating confusion, false allegations, misleading public.
• Remedies: Breach in Intellectual Property Rights of nationals of the signatory countries are remedied as per the national laws of such countries where the violation takes place.
Along with the rights that the contracting states are obliged to provide, the following terms and conditions are also important and necessary to bear in mind, which are as under:
- Though contracting States are members to the Paris Convention, patent grants are subject to their independent discretion which means, grant of a patent in one contracting State cannot be imposed on the other contracting States. The independence of each State in granting patent rights is protected.
- The same holds good for annulment, termination and refusals as well. Contracting States cannot be obliged or imposed upon to annul, terminate or refuse a patent only because another contracting State has done so.
- Inventor(s) name on a patent application is to be mentioned as a right.
- Restrictions by domestic laws on the sales of patented products or on the patent processes resulting in such products cannot be grounds for invalidating or terminating the grant of a patent
- Though patent rights are exclusive to the patent owner, State authorities retain the right to issue compulsory licenses on the patent to mitigate abuses and to ensure that the patent granted is sufficiently put to work Patents granted in different contracting States for the same invention are independent of each other: the granting of a patent in one contracting State does not oblige the other contracting States to grant a patent; a patent cannot be refused, annulled or terminated in any contracting State on the ground that it has been refused or annulled or has terminated in any other contracting State.
- Industrial Designs are protected individually by each contracting State as per their domestic law. However, protection of industrial designs by way of a single application exists by way of the following treaties:
• The Hague Convention
• European Union Community Design
The Paris Convention has played a crucial and significant role in establishing the international entity WIPO which acts in the administrative and supervisory capacity regarding harmony of Intellectual Property Rights amongst the signatory countries.