The governmental agency in charge of handling intellectual property rights in France is the National Industrial Property Institute (INPI), located in Paris. France is a member of both the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) and the Paris Convention. The term of a French patent is 20 years from the filing date.
Filing Patents in France
Patent attorneys filing for an application in France are not obligated to obtain a power of attorney.
A patent application must contain the name and address of the applicant and the inventor, as well as the citizenship of the inventor and the place of incorporation of the applicant. The necessary elements of an application include: a title, a summary of the invention, a specification, a set of claims, and any necessary drawings. In addition, any portion of the specifications not in French must be accompanied by a French translation.
A claim of foreign priority in France must contain the country where the application was first filed, the date of filing and the filing number. In addition, an official copy of the priority document must be submitted, together with an assignment of the priority rights, in case that the priority document names another individual.
Recent IP Legal Trends in France
According to French patent lawyers, timid economic growth in France in the last couple of years has affected the filing numbers for patents and trademarks alike. The increase in application filings for both trademarks and design patents has been in low single digits, lagging behind two of the European high volume filers, Germany and Switzerland.