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06-04-2020 » Entry into force on 1 April, 2020 of new trademarks procedures at the FPTO, and extension of time limits

On 1 April 2020 provisions allowing procedures for invalidation and revocation of trademarks before the FPTO (French Patent and Trademark Office) came into force (see our Flash of December 2019) and are operational despite the official declaration of a public health emergency.

These procedures should make it easier to contest unused or invalid registrations and thereby clean up the National Trademark Register (RNM) and allow economic players to develop their own projects by limiting risks attached to third party trademarks.

These actions strengthen FPTO powers and aim to be simpler, shorter and less costly than equivalent procedures hitherto only brought before the courts.

Thus, they enter into force while at the same time, as a result of the disruptions caused by the health crisis, deadlines have been postponed. Ordinance n° 2020-306 of 25 March 2020 applies to the deadlines set out in the French intellectual property code except those resulting from international conventions. Decision n° 2020-33 of 26 March 2020 of the Director of FPTO, taken following this Ordinance, therefore cancels Decision n° 2020-32 issued by the same Director.

The Ordinance of 25 March relates to time limits and measures which have expired or which expire between 12 March 2020 and the expiry of a period of one month from the date of cessation of the public health emergency. The time limits referred to in the order are thus extended, if they are based on a one-month time period, by an additional month calculated from the date of cessation of the health emergency (which means 2 months from the date of cessation) and, for deadlines based on longer initial time periods, shall be extended by two months from the date of cessation (which means 3 months from the date of cessation).

Today, with the state of emergency declared to end on 24 June, all the periods supposed to end between 12 March and 24 June are postponed to 24 July if the initial time period was one month and to 24 August if the initial time period was two months or more.

The deadlines concerned are as follows: 

  • time limits for opposition or observations by third parties,
  • time limits set during the same opposition proceedings,
  • time limits for replying to notifications,
  • renewal deadlines,
  • and grace periods

On the other hand, the following are not affected: 

  • priority period resulting from an international convention,
  • time limits expired before 12 March,
  • and time limits which end beyond the month following the date of cessation of the public health emergency.

FPTO is operating normally. As all operations can be performed digitally, we therefore invite you to carry out your procedures as soon as possible, without waiting for the postponement period, in order to avoid congestion once the health emergency comes to an end.

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