17.1 Obligation to Submit Copy of Earlier National or International Application. –

(a) Where the priority of an earlier national or international application is claimed under Article 8, a copy of that earlier application, certified by the authority with which it was filed (“the priority document”), shall, unless that priority document has already been filed with the receiving Office together with the international application in which the priority claim is made, and subject to paragraphs (b) and (b-bis), be submitted by the applicant to the International Bureau or to the receiving Office not later than 16 months after the priority date, provided that any copy of the said earlier application which is received by the International Bureau after the expiration of that time limit shall be considered to have been received by that Bureau on the last day of that time limit if it reaches it before the date of international publication of the international application.

(b) Where the priority document is issued by the receiving Office, the applicant may, instead of submitting the priority document, request the receiving Office to prepare and transmit the priority document to the International Bureau. Such request shall be made not later than 16 months after the priority date and may be subjected by the receiving Office to the payment of a fee.

(b-bis) Where the priority document is, in accordance with the Administrative Instructions, available to the receiving Office or to International Bureau from a digital library, the applicant may, as the case may be, instead of submitting the priority document:

(i) request the receiving Office to obtain the priority document from such digital library and transmit it to the International Bureau; or

(ii) request the International Bureau to obtain the priority document from such digital library. Such request shall be made not later than 16 months after the priority date and may be subjected by the receiving Office or the International Bureau to the payment of a fee.

(c) If the requirements of none of the three preceding paragraphs are complied with, any designated Office may, subject to paragraph (d), disregard the priority claim, provided that no designated Office shall disregard the priority claim before giving the applicant an opportunity to furnish the priority document within a time limit which shall be reasonable under the circumstances.

(d) No designated Office shall disregard the priority claim under paragraph (c) if the earlier application referred to in paragraph (a) was filed with it in its capacity as national Office or if the priority document is, in accordance with the Administrative Instructions, available to it from a digital library.