Priority Date Considerations

Date Published

To raise a “whole of contents” objection, examiners must be satisfied that if the relevant information in a citation is, or was to be, the subject of a claim of the citation, that claim has, or would have, a priority date earlier than that of the claim under consideration.

Where the citation does not claim priority from another application, examiners will only need to be satisfied that the filing date of the citation is earlier than the relevant priority date.

Where the citation claims priority, and the filing date of the citation is later than the relevant priority date, examiners will in principle have to establish that all the essential features of the claim under consideration are disclosed in the citation (see Basis of the "Whole of Contents" Objection) and disclosed in the relevant priority document.  However, where the determination of priority dates is difficult or time consuming, it is not unreasonable to assume that the citation is entitled to its earliest priority date, with the onus of rebuttal being placed upon the applicant or attorney.