France : Ministerial Ordinance to Strengthen Trademark Protection

Editor’s note: below is a non official translation of the report published by the French government.

The French Minister of Economy and Finance has issued an ordinance on trademarks.

This ordinance, taken on the basis of Article 201 of Law No 2019-486 of 22 May 2019 on the growth and transformation of companies, transposes into Domestic Law the Directive (EU) 2015/2436 of the European Parliament and Council of 16 December 2015 approximating the laws of the Member States on trademarks. It will be completed, for its application, by a decree in Council of State (Conseil d’État).

While intangible assets are becoming increasingly important in the economic value of businesses, this ordinance is modernizing and improving the effectiveness of trademark protections.

In order to encourage companies to file the brands they use as a trademark, new types of trademarks that respond to technical and economic changes (sound trademarks and animated trademarks) may be registered.

To enable businesses to better defend their rights, the ordinance expands the opposition procedure and strengthens the fight against counterfeiting by restoring customs controls on goods in transit and by sanctioning acts preparatory to counterfeiting. It establishes an administrative procedure in nullity and forfeiture of trademarks before the national institute of industrial property. In addition to reducing the costs and the processing time of applications expected by the diversion of some of the litigation of nullity and forfeiture of trademarks, the measure will encourage the challenge of invalid and not used trademarks to allow the use of such trademarks by new companies.

The ordinance will enter into force on the date of entry into force of the decree adopted for its application and no later than 15 December 2019. In order to give the economic actors time to appropriate the new provisions relating to the invalidity procedure and in forfeiture of trademarks, the latter will not come into effect until April 1, 2020.

Source: French Government

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