Registering a trademark in France is very similar to registering a trademark in any other European country, as the systems are nearly similar.
Most people believe that a trademark is protected once it is used in commerce, as this applies in a Common Law System. However, a Civil Law system requires that in order to use a trademark, it must be registered. As such, it is advisable to register a trademark in all countries where the sign will be used to avoid future difficulties.
There are specific steps one needs to follow in order to register a trademark in France, as follows: the first step is to conduct a search within the already registered trademarks. Once the research was completed, the registration application represents the second step. The respective application must contain information on the applicant, the trademark, the products or services to which it applies and if the case, the claim of a foreign application priority.
Once the application is submitted, it is published in the BOPI, meaning French Official Bulleting of Industrial properties no later than 6 weeks after the application was made. Our French lawyers can help you register a trademark in France. Contact our law firm in France to receive legal advice on registering a trademark.
The examination is a very important step in the registration process, as this is the moment when the French office may ask to specify the designated products or to include a class that contains designated products. At this step, the French office may refuse the registration on the basis that the sign has a lack of distinctively. If irregularities occur, the applicant has the right to change the application within one month or to contest the observation.
The owner of a prior trademark may file an opposition against the trademark application within two months. The applicant is notified with this opposition and can reply by formulation of observations, as the procedure implies that all parties must be heard. In case the opposed trademark was filed longer than 5 years, the applicant may use his first answer in order to establish if the opponent is liable to revocation of his rights.
If no evidence is presented, then the opposition is rejected and the French Office makes a draft decision. If no contestation is made, then the draft becomes an official decision.
Once the trademark has been registered, the applicant is notified and the trademark is published in the BOPI. The trademark is registered for a period of 10 years and it is renewable after a 10 years period.
Trademark protection in France gives also rights in the "Overseas Departments" (Guadeloupe, Martinique, Reunion and French Guyana), in the "Overseas Territories" (French Polynesia, Wallis and Futuna, the French Austral Islands and the French Antarctic territories), in the "Territorial Collectivities" (St. Pierre and Miquelon, Mayotte) and in New Caledonia and dependencies, without other requirements needed.