Friday, April 20, 2018

Late Request to Amend Priority Date

Bayer Cropscience LP v. Canada (Attorney General) 2018 FCA 77 Nadon JA: Webb, Gleason JJA aff’g 2017 FC 178 O'Reilly J

In this decision the FCA has affirmed O'Reilly J’s decision affirming the Commissioner’s decision to refuse Bayer’s request to amend the priority date, essentially for the same reasons given by O’Reilly J, namely that the request was outside the sixteen month window set in by Rule 88(1)(b).

As discussed here, this case turned on a narrow point of law in the context of unusual facts. Bayer filed a US patent application on 3 April 2012. The USPTO refused to assign a filing date for it on the basis that Bayer had failed to file accompanying drawings. Bayer filed the drawings on 19 April 2012, and the USPTO assigned that as the filing date. The following year, on 15 March 2013, Bayer filed a PCT application claiming priority from the US application. Bayer asked for a filing date of 3 April 2012, but WIPO pointed out that the US application had a filing date of 19 April. Therefore Bayer requested, and was given, a filing date of 19 April 2012. Two years after that, Bayer persuaded the USPTO that the drawings were not required after all, and on 14 April 2015, the USPTO amended the filing date for the US application to 3 April 2012. However, the USPTO, which acted as the international receiving office for the PCT application, refused to amend the PCT filing date. On 7 August 2015, the PCT application entered the national phase in Canada as Canadian Patent Application No 2,907,271. Bayer requested that the ‘271 application be given a filing date of 3 April 2012 on the basis that it was claiming priority from the ‘691 US Priority Application, which had an amended filing date of 3 April 2012.

Bayer’s argument was essentially that it had physically filed the complete and proper US application on 3 April 2012, and it should therefore be entitled to claim priority based on that date [47], [76]. The problem is that Rule 88(1)(b) provides that the request for priority must be made “before the expiry of the sixteen-month period after the date of filing of [the US application].” Bayer’s request was simply out of time. It was in effect asking for a waiver of the sixteen month period set out in the Rules, and there is no basis for such a waiver [77].

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