[COVID-19] State of Health Emergency in France – Extension of Official Deadlines in Industrial Property Matters

Updated information, as of the date of publication of this article

Because of the state of health emergency implemented in France, the French Government has issued several ordinances to extend the deadlines that are currently in effect.

Thus, Ordinance No. 2020-306 of March 25, 2020 provides that all deadlines between March 12 and one month after the end of the state of health emergency are postponed to one month after the end of this period if the initial period was one month and two months after the end of this period if the initial period was two months or more.

By way of illustration, this means that if the end of the state of emergency is declared on April 28, for example, all deadlines that were supposed to end between March 12 and  May 28 are extended to June 28 if the original deadline was one month, and July 28 if the original deadline was two months or more.

This order applies to all time limits provided for in the Intellectual Property Code, except those resulting from international agreements or European texts such as the claiming of a priority agreement.

In concrete terms, this postponement concerns the deadlines:
  • – To file an opposition against a French trademark application
  • – For the payment of a patent annuity
  • – To renew a French trademark registration or to extend a design and benefit from the corresponding grace period
  • – To lodge an administrative or jurisdictional appeal, in particular against INPI decisions
  • – To make comments as a third party or to respond to an INPI notification
However, it does not concern:
  • – Priority deadlines for international extension,
  • – The payment deadlines for the filing of patents or
  • – The time limits for filing a supplementary protection certificate, which are governed by supranational provisions.

In addition, the European Intellectual Property Office, EUIPO, has decided to extend all its deadlines until May 1, 2020, which de facto postpones them until May 4, 2020, as May 1 is a public holiday.

The services of INPI and EUIPO remain available throughout the health emergency period, since most procedures are now dematerialized, and many agents are teleworking. It is therefore strongly recommended, as far as possible, to respond as soon as possible to the INPI or EUIPO notifications or take all the necessary steps (in particular oppositions) without waiting until the summer deadline, in particular to avoid the risk of congestion and delays in the INPI and EUIPO services at the end of the health emergency period.