PRIORITY

priority.

1. The status of being earlier in time or higher in degree or rank; precedence.

2. Commercial law. An established right to such precedence; esp., a creditor’s right to have a claim paid before other creditors of the same debtor receive payment. [Cases: Secured Transactions 138–145. C.J.S. Secured Transactions §§ 88, 90–102, 106–107, 118.]

3. The doctrine that, as between two courts, jurisdiction should be accorded the court in which proceedings are first begun. [Cases: Courts 475, 493, 514; Federal Courts 1145. C.J.S. Courts §§ 188, 211, 224.]

4. Patents & trademarks. The status of being first to invent something (and therefore be potentially eligible for patent protection) or to use a mark in trade (and therefore be potentially eligible for trademark registration). [Cases: Patents 90; Trade Regulation 66. C.J.S. Patents §§ 120–125; Trade-Marks, Trade-Names, and Unfair Competition §§ 29–30.]

priority of adoption. Trademarks. Priority in designing or creating a trademark. • Priority of adoption does not in itself confer the right to exclusive use of a mark if someone else was first to use it in commerce.

— Also termed priority of appropriation; priority of invention. Cf. priority of use.

priority of appropriation. Trademarks. See priority of adoption.

priority of invention.

1. Patents. The determination that one among several patent applications, for substantially the same invention, should receive the patent when the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has declared interference. • This determination depends on the date of conception, the date of reduction to practice, and diligence. [Cases: Patents 90, 106. C.J.S. Patents §§ 120–125, 159–162, 165.]

2. Trademarks. See priority of adoption.

priority of use. Trademarks. Priority in using a mark in actual commerce. • The priority of use, not the priority of adoption, determines who has the right to protection. Cf. priority of adoption. [Cases: Trade Regulation 66. C.J.S. Trade-Marks, Trade-Names, and Unfair Competition §§ 29–30.]