There are three different ways of extending a patent abroad:

  • Foreign national patent;
  • European patent;
  • International patent application

Within the next few years, an additional method of patent extension may also be represented by the European patent with unitary effect (the so-called Unitary Patent), currently under development by the European Patent Office (EPO).

Established by the Paris Convention, it is important to know that a first term, called “priority right”, to extend a patent abroad is set within 12 months from the filing of the national application.

According to this priority right, anyone who files a patent application has the right to file an identical application in another signatory country of the Paris Convention within a certain time frame without the risk that their own first application may be assessed as novelty-destroying in subsequent application procedures in other jurisdictions.

Consequently, the main effect of priority right is that, in terms of novelty, the filing date of the first application is considered to be the effective date for determining the state of the art of the subsequent applications within 12 months.

The right of priority allows the holder of a national patent application to have a year to plan the protection strategy of his invention abroad, without being forced to file simultaneously several foreign applications, facing a significant economic effort in one shot.

Our IP Consultants are available to help you to identify the best international protection strategy for your invention. For more information or to request a quote, please contact us at