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Patent in France

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  • Patent fees

Fees associated with filing patent applications in France as well as other patent fees are available in the fee calculator.

  • Term for filing a patent application in France

The term for filing a patent application in France claiming conventional priority is 12 months from the priority date. Restoration is possible if the applicant has a legitimate reason for missing the above term and files a request for restoration within two months.

  • Filing requirements in France

The official language of the proceedings before the National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI) is French. Applications may be filed in any language; however, the translation into French should be submitted within two months of the filing date.

To obtain the date of filing, it is necessary to submit:
- request to grant a patent;

- information about the applicant;
- description of the invention (does not have to comply with the formal requirements);
- priority claim (if any).

A copy of the Priority Document should be filed within 16 months from the priority date.

It is not necessary to provide the Power of Attorney if the applicant is represented by an industrial property attorney. In other cases the original non-legalized Power of Attorney should be submitted.

If the applicant is not the inventor or the sole inventor, it is necessary to file a document designating the inventors with their full names and addresses.

  • Search

Conducting a search is mandatory in France and it should be requested either on filing or within one month from the filing date. In case foreign priority is claimed, the INPI will take note of the search report issued for the priority application by the respective National Office.

  • Examination of a French patent application

The patent applications in France undergo both formal and substantive examination. However, as for patent applications filed on or after May 22, 2020, in addition to industrial applicability and novelty, the inventive step criterion is also examined. There is no requirement to submit a specific request for conducting the substantive examination.

  • Opposition period

In France, since the enforcement of the PACTE law, it is possible to file an opposition against a French patent within a period of 9 months following the grant. Grounds for opposition are the same as in Europe. Opposition proceedings pertain only to French patents issued on or after 1 April 2020, it does not concern the French part of a European patent.

  • Novelty grace period

Disclosure of an invention will be disregarded if it occurred within six months before the priority date and as a result of:
- the disclosure made by the applicant or applicant’s legal predecessor at an official or officially recognized exhibition (provided that the corresponding substantiating is filed);
- an evident abuse in relation to the applicant or applicant’s legal predecessor.

  • Grant, validity term and maintenance fees 

Patent applications in France are subject to the payment of the grant fee within 2 months from the date of issuance of the Notice of Allowance. Validity term of a patent is twenty years from the filing date. Annual maintenance fees apply to both pending applications and granted patents. The first annuity is included in the filing fee. Annuities become due on the last day of the month of filing and may not be paid more than one year before the due date. Late payment is possible within six months after the due date, a corresponding surcharge applies.

  • Duration of registration procedure

If the prosecution process goes smoothly, it takes an average of 2-3 years to get a patent granted.

  • Utility Model 

In France, it is possible to obtain a utility certificate, which has a non-extendable validity term of 10 years. Filing requirements are the same as for patents, but no search is conducted. Utility certificate applications are subject to formal examination only. It is possible to protect products, methods or devices with utility certificates. Annuities are payable in the same manner as for patents.

  • Representation by a patent attorney

For applicants not residing in France, EU or EEA (European Economic Area), it is necessary to perform patent prosecution through an agent, a registered French patent attorney.

  •  Notes

1. Online Search Databases: French PatentsEuropean Patents (EPO).
2. Patent protection in France may also be obtained via registration of the European patent. European patents are automatically valid on the territory of France.
3. It is not possible to enter the PCT national phase in France, only a European patent may be obtained on the basis of a PCT application.

Brief summary is based on the information provided by LAURENT & CHARRAS on 08.02.2024
Please contact us if the above information is not in conformity with French IP Laws