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The International Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property was first signed in Paris in 1883. The document itself is known as the Paris Convention. The convention has been revised many times and its current language encompasses patents, trademarks, and industrial designs. As of November 2008, there were 173 contracting parties to the Paris Convention.
The Paris Convention established some important international protocols to deal with multi-national patent filings. It both protects some rights of those who file international applications, and governs procedure for how signatory states should treat these patent filings. Most importantly, the Paris Convention included the vital concept of “priority". This means that under the Paris Convention, patent applicants are granted the date of their first filing as the active application date for patent applications in all additional Paris Union countries, for up to 12 months after filing the original application.Another useful function of the Paris Convention treaty is that it contains provisions to ensure that intellectual property holders who are non-residents and non-nationals of a Paris Union country are given the same expectations and rights under the law as nationals of said country.
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