35 U.S.C. 120 (pre‑AIA) Benefit of earlier filing date in the United States.
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, which is filed by an inventor or inventors named 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 payment of a surcharge, 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, 2011) and 20(j) (effective Sept. 16, 2012), 125 Stat. 284.)