Reed Smith Client Alerts

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, industrial property offices have taken measures to extend time limits, however, the starting point and the effects of these measures differ. Due to these disparities, increased vigilance is required.

Authors: Marianne Schaffner Louise Millot

data graph
  1. At national level

Initially, the General Director of the French IP office (hereinafter, INPI) had, by decision1 of 19 March 2020, extended by four months all the deadlines unexpired on 16 March 2020 and set by INPI.2

However, following the publication of the Ordinance No 2020-306 of 25 March 2020 (hereinafter, the “Ordinance”) adopted by the Government on the extension of procedural time limits,3 in order to ensure consistency, the INPI’s decision has been lifted. Therefore, all time limits shall be subject to the same legal provision on extension of time limits.

The Ordinance provides that all deadlines expiring within the period of 12 March 2020 until one month after the end of the health emergency state shall be extended (Article 1): the time limits for any act, appeal, legal action, formality, registration, declaration, notification or publication stipulated by law or regulation, which should have expired within this period, are thus suspended. The deadlines will start running again, one month after the end the health emergency state. 

However, an additional period shall be granted from the end of the one-month period after the end of the public health emergency state. This additional period shall be of up to a maximum of two additional months from the period initially stipulated by the law or regulation. In practical terms, this means deadlines shall be extended by a maximum of 3 months from the end of the health emergency state.

Furthermore, new provisions on trademarks and patents entered into force on 1st April 2020. It is from now on possible to introduce before the INPI: trademark invalidity and revocation actions and patent opposition procedure.