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2014/09 > French Polynesia: One Year Later

In a newsletter dated 1 September 2014, the Directorate General of Economic Affairs (DGAE) of French Polynesia has summarized and clarified the various provisions recently adopted relating to the protection of International and European Industrial Property Rights on this territory.

Indeed, since Law No. 2004-192 of 27 February 2004, effective since 3 March 2004, French Polynesia benefits from a statute of autonomy involving a transfer of powers from the French government in its favour, in many areas, including industrial property.

Polynesian Law No. 2013-14 of 6 May 2013 provides that the industrial property rights granted by the INPI and still in force on that date must, in order to be protected in the territory, be the subject of a declaration of recognition in French Polynesia until August 31, 2023. In addition, it is possible to claim French Polynesia since 1 February 2014 in conjunction with a first filing application with the INPI or with the renewal of a right, provided that a declaration of recognition has been made previously. These are interim steps, pending the establishment of a direct protection from the Polynesian administrative authorities. 

French Polynesia has confirmed that these provisions do not apply to European and International titles. Indeed, some doubt remained for some as to the obligation or not of filing a declaration of recognition in particular for rights attached to European patents and Community trademarks. In fact, Polynesia is bound by International Treaties ratified by France before March 3, 2004.

Thus, the DGAE confirmed that are directly protected in Polynesia without resorting to a procedure of recognition of rights or a request for extension, European patents, International patents (PCT), Community trademarks, International trademarks (Madrid) and International Designs. The Community designs benefit also from local protection but only as of May 6, 2013, without any administrative formality being necessary either. Specific procedures for recognition and extension are thus reserved for registrations or applications for national patents, utility models, trademarks and designs.

This letter refers also to  the authority in French Polynesia of the Directorate General of Customs in the fight against counterfeiting, and its powers of intervention and especially of detaining goods suspected of counterfeiting. Holders of industrial property rights are therefore invited to submit applications for customs seizures based on the rights they own, and to complete the forms newly published in this regard.

It will be recalled that in 2013, customs seized 7.6 million items (Source Review of the Customs 2013). Clothing, personal accessories and shoes are, behind drugs, the most seized items.

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