Claiming Priority in Europe - The Air Diffuser Decision

Abstract

The German Supreme Court in a recent decision rejected the concept of partial priorities for individual features in a claim. In particular, the court rejected the "umbrella"-theory (which allows partial priorities) and endorsed a "strict interpretation" of the priority right within the framework of the "fiction"-theory. In its decision, The Supreme Court followed an earlier opinion of the European Patent Office's Enlarged Board of Appeal.

In this presentation the practical consequences of the decision for the drafting of European patent applications are discussed by contrasting the court's concept of priority with the "umbrella"-theory.

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