35 U.S.C. 120 Benefit of earlier filing date in the United States.
[Editor Note: Applicable to a patent application subject to the first inventor to file provisions of the AIA (see 35 U.S.C. 100 (note) ). See 35 U.S.C. 120 (pre‑AIA) for the law otherwise applicable.]
An application for patent for an invention disclosed in the manner provided by section 112(a) (other than the requirement to disclose the best mode) in an application previously filed in the United States, or as provided by section 363 or 385 which names an inventor or joint inventor in the previously filed application shall have the same effect, as to such invention, as though filed on the date of the prior application, if filed before the patenting or abandonment of or termination of proceedings on the first application or on an application similarly entitled to the benefit of the filing date of the first application and if it contains or is amended to contain a specific reference to the earlier filed application. No application shall be entitled to the benefit of an earlier filed application under this section unless an amendment containing the specific reference to the earlier filed application is submitted at such time during the pendency of the application as required by the Director. The Director may consider the failure to submit such an amendment within that time period as a waiver of any benefit under this section. The Director may establish procedures, including the requirement for payment of the fee specified in section 41(a)(7), to accept an unintentionally delayed submission of an amendment under this section.
(Amended Nov. 14, 1975, Public Law 94-131, sec. 9, 89 Stat. 691; Nov. 8, 1984, Public Law 98-622, sec. 104(b), 98 Stat. 3385; Nov. 29, 1999, Public Law 106-113, sec. 1000(a)(9), 113 Stat. 1501A-563 (S. 1948 sec. 4503(b)(1)); amended Sept. 16, 2011, Public Law 112-29, secs. 15(b) (effective Sept. 16, 2012), 20(j) (effective Sept. 16, 2012) and 3(f) (effective March 16, 2013), 125 Stat. 284; Dec. 18, 2012, Public Law 112-211, sec. 202(b)(3), 126 Stat. 1536; amended Dec. 18, 2012, Public Law 112-211, sec. 102(5) (effective May 13, 2015), 126 Stat. 1531.)