New French Intellectual Property Law
By Ordinance No. 2001-670 of July 25, 2001, the French Intellectual Property Law has been modified within its Books V (Designs), VII (Trade Marks) and VIII (Application to French Polynesia, Wallis and Futuna islands, French Austral and Antarctic territories and New Caledonia).Book V : DesignThe transposition of the Community Directive No. 98/71/EC to France has led to a new French law for the protection of designs.
The protection conditions and term are modified as from October 1st, 2001. The new corresponding regulatory part should be soon published.The essential modifications are the following :- a design shall be protected by a design right to the extent that it is new at the filing date or the priority date and no more at the creation date.According to Article L. 511-6, within a grace period of 12 months from the filing date or from the priority date, a disclosure shall not be taken into consideration :a) if the design has been made available to the public by the designer, his successor in title, or a third person as a result of information provided or action taken by the designer, or his successor in title;b) or if the design has been made available to the public as a consequence of an abuse in relation to the designer or his successor in title.- a design shall be protected by a design right to the extent that it has proper character :According to Article L. 511-4, " A design shall be considered to have proper character if the overall impression it produces on the informed observant differs from the overall impression produced on such an observant by any design which has been made available to the public before the date of filing of the application for registration or, if priority is claimed, the date of priority. In assessing proper character, the degree of freedom of the designer in developing the design shall be taken into consideration."The protection of a design is of 5 years from the date of filing. The term of protection may be renewed for one or more periods of five years each, up to a total term of 25 years from the date of filing.The previous law provided a protection of 25 years, once renewable. According to the new law, designs filed before October 1st, 2001 are still protected for a period of 25 years, but without any possible renewal (Article L. 513-1). The designs renewed before October 1st, 2001, are still protected for a second 25-year period.Claiming ownership is now expressely provided by the law (Article L. 511-10).Book VII : Trade Mark- By transposition of Community Directive 89/104/EC to approximate the laws of the Member States relating to trade marks, Article L. 714-1 has been modified.- A new chapter VII "Community Trademark" (Articles L. 717-1 to L. 717-7) has been added to the legislative part of the Intellectual Property Code in order to take into account Regulation 40/94/EC on Community trademark.The corresponding regulatory part is not yet published.Book VIII : Application to French Polynesia, Wallis and Futuna islands, French Austral and Antarctic territories and New CaledoniaOrdinance No. 2001-670 of July 25, 2001 has modified Book VIII of Intellectual Property Code (Article L. 811-4) concerning infringement of a Community trademark right.