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French trademark proceeding

Anteriorities research

During the French Office examination procedure, no anteriorities research is done. As the application of a trademark in France is considered as an act of infringement, it is important to conduct a search before filing, at least within the registered trademarks.

Filing

The registration application has to contain the applicant identification, the trademark, the product(s) and/or service(s) to which it applies and, when it occurs, the claim of a foreign application priority.

Application publication

The application is published in the BOPI (French Official Bulletin of Industrial Property) within about 6 weeks of the filing date.

Examination

The French Office may ask to specify the designated products or to include a class which contains some of the designated products, without extending the application scope. The French Office may also refuse a sign for its lack of distinctivity.

In case of irregularities, the applicant has a time allowed by the French Office (generally one month) in order to regularize his application or to contest the observation.

Opposition

Within a 2-month period from the application publication, the owner of a prior trademark can file an opposition against the trademark application. This opposition is notified to the applicant which can reply by formulating observations (within a time period higher than 2 months allowed by the French Office) according to a procedure in which all parties shall be heard.

If the opposed trademark was filed more than 5 years ago, the applicant may ask in his first answer for use evidence, in order to establish if the opponent is liable to revocation of his rights (for non genuine use of his trademark during an uninterrupted period of 5 years). In the absence of evidence, the opposition is rejected.

A decision draft is established by the French Office. It can be contested by both parties. In the absence of contestation, this draft becomes decision.

Registration

The trademark registration is notified to the applicant and published in the BOPI. The trademark is registered for 10 years, from the filing date, and is renewable by 10-year periods.

Without any further requirements, protection of a mark in France gives also rights in the "Overseas Departments" (Guadeloupe, Martinique, Reunion and French Guyana), in the "Overseas Territories" (Wallis and Futuna, the French Austral Islands and the French Antartic territories), in the "Territorial Collectivities" (St Pierre and Miquelon, Mayotte) and in New Caledonia and dependencies.

Watching over the mark applications

It is highly recommended to watch up the filing publications of trademarks having effect in France : French trademarks, Community trademarks and international trademarks designating France. We can follow these publications and warn you when an opposition may be done against the registration of an identical or similar trademark application.

Time scales involved in the registration process

Publication of the application as filed : about 6 weeks after the filing.

Registration if no Office Action or with one Office Action (no opposition) : about 6 months.

Registration with a won opposition : about 1 year.