(WIPO code: FR) (last revised December 2017)

by CABINET NETTER, Paris

General Information

Area

543,904 sq. km.

Population

66,990,000 (estimated December 2016).

Capital

Paris, with about 12,000,000 inhabitants, including suburbs.

Language

French.

Currency

Euro (EUR).

Imports

(2015): 500,752 million euros.

Exports

(2015): 455,083 million euros.

Most important natural products

Cereals, vegetal oils, wines, vegetables (early) and fruits, cattle, chicken, fish.

Industry

Foodstuffs, textiles and clothing, treatment of raw materials, including iron, steel, lead, aluminium, copper, zinc, mechanical products, aircraft, motor cars, high-speed railcars, locomotives, nuclear plants, electrical and electronic apparatus, radio and television sets, radars, weapons, chemical products, pharmaceutical products, perfumes, engineering.

General Remarks

While conserving its prestige in those fields where it had achieved worldwide reputation (fashion, perfumes, cooking), high technology areas (telecommunications, printed circuit cards, computer and nuclear technology, space, railcars, armament) are also an important part of the French industry. According to a recent survey (Thomson Reuters, November 2015), France ranks third among hundred countries with tene companies among the most innovating organizations.

 

Statistics (2016)

Patent applications
Direct French patent applications 16,200  
From PCT applications 205,300  
Trademark applications
French trademarks 88,500  
International trademarks designating France 2,992  
International trademarks designating the EU 17,293  
European Union trademark applications 116,512  
Models and designs applications
National filings 6,500  
Community filings 23,696  
International designs designating France 249  
International designs designating the EU 2,049  

 

Common Legal Basis for Intellectual Property

The French Intellectual Property Code (IPC) comprises a legislative part (established by Law No. 92-597 of July 1, 1992) and a regulation part (established by Decree No. 95-385 of April 10, 1995). It comprises laws and rules relating to intellectual property according to the following scheme:
– Books I to III Literary and artistic works (author’s right, the French equivalent of copyright),
– Book IV Administrative and professional organization,
– Book V Models and designs,
– Book VI Patents, semiconductors, vegetal creations,
– Book VII Trademarks,
– Book VIII Ancillary judicial provisions concerning the “Overseas Territories”.

The IPC (“Code de la Propriété Intellectuelle”) is available on the official legal Internet site: www.legifrance.gouv.fr under the heading “Les Codes en vigueur” (with latest consolidated version). An English version is also available, however with significant delays in the updating (latest update of March 1, 2006). Only the French version is authentic.

Territory covered: the IPC applies in the French territory, which comprises France (European mainland) and the “Overseas Departments” (DOM), namely Guadeloupe, Martinique, French Guyana, La Réunion and Mayotte Island (status changed on March 31, 2011 for the latter).

The IPC may also apply, conditionally, in the so-called “Collectivities” (former TOM): New Caledonia, Saint-Pierre and Miquelon, Wallis and Futuna, the French Southern and Antarctic Territories, Saint-Barthélemy Island and the French part of the island of Saint-Martin.

Recognition of French IP rights in French Polynesia: French Polynesia is now an autonomous territory in which French IP rights no longer apply automatically. The system enabling recognition of French IP rights in French Polynesia requires that validation be requested. Said proceedings apply to:
– patents, trademarks, designs, utility certificates, topographies of semiconductor products;
– filed (all rights) or renewed (trademarks, designs) between March 3, 2004 and January 31, 2014 (included).
Unless territorial extension has been required by September 1, 2023 at the latest, maintenance or renewal will not be possible in French Polynesia. Since February 1, 2014, when an IP right is applied for, it is mandatory to indicate whether extension to French Polynesia is requested for a new applications or for a renewal. It will therefore be necessary to request recognition of the rights in French Polynesia for the past period of protection, where relevant, at the latest at the time of requesting a renewal (for trademarks or designs).

Rights filed prior to March 3, 2004 (still valid) are automatically valid in French Polynesia.

Judiciary actions regarding intellectual property can be dealt with by civil or penal courts. Only the courts of Paris are competent for patents, SCPs, and topographies of semiconductor products. For other rights there is a limited number of competent courts.

Online proceedings: most of the filings and later proceedings (such as recordals) are now only available online.