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Use requirement for a French trademark

According to Article L.714-5 of the French Intellectual Property Law : "An owner who has not put his mark to genuine use in connection with the goods or services referred to in the registration during an uninterrupted period of five years, without good reason, shall be liable to revocation of his rights".

We would like to underline that use evidence may be asked in the course of an opposition proceeding against registration of a French trademark or French part of an international trademark, and that they have to be presented within a one-month period, which is a very short time.

We therefore recommend you to already prepare a file of use evidence knowing that :

  • the evidence must have a sure date (date of publication of a magazine containing advertising, date of invoices...);
  • the date must be included within the 5-year period requested (new evidence shall therefore be included in the file every year if possible);
  • the mark has to appear on the evidence. For example invoices which only make appear a reference shall be provided together with a proof that this reference corresponds to the trademark;
  • the trademark used shall be the one registered. Use of a mark in a modified form which does not alter its distinctive nature is possible. According to the French case-law, for example, the use of the trademark "Loris Azzaro" does not prevent the revocation of the trademark "Azzaro" (Court of Appeal of Paris, January 26, 2001);
  • evidences shall be presented for each designated good or service. Use evidence of a good does not prevent the revocation of similar goods (for example clothes and shoes);
  • the use has to be done by the owner of the mark; or one has to prove the consent of the owner of the mark;
  • the use has to be done in France (the use in foreign countries is not considered, but affixing of the mark on goods in France exclusively for export is considered as a use in France);
  • the use has to be serious, it is therefore important to accumulate a number of evidences ; and
  • the evidences have to be in French (for advertising, catalogues...) or translated in French (for invoices...).

We suggest you to send us regularly use evidence, so that we shall constitute a file of use evidence of the mark in France. In that manner, we could inform you of the pertinence of the evidence and remind you in case of lack of evidence long before the day when we could need it.