Updated on June 24th 2020
Since April 1st 2020, it is possible to oppose a French Patent before the French Patent Office ("Institut National de la Propriété Intellectuelle" or "INPI").
This procedure is a new way to challenge the validity of a French patent, alongside the claim for invalidity.
Opposition may be filed against any French patent which mention of grant has been published in the Official Bulletin of Industrial Property as of 1st April 2020.
On the face of it, this "French-style" opposition procedure seems relatively similar to that of the EPO.
However, its specificities should not be underestimated, and more specifically:
The practical details of this procedure were specified by INPI in the decision No.2020-34 of 1st April 2020. Further details are expected to be provided by the future INPI guidelines on the opposition procedure currently under discussion.
Due to its specific features, the new opposition procedure requires the assistance, as early as the procedure before the INPI, of a counsel having both technical and scientific competence, experience of the opposition procedure before the EPO and experience of patent litigation in France, in order to determine the best possible strategy with regard to other options (invalidity, limitation, infringement, etc.) in terms of time, cost and chances of success, and to best anticipate the procedural rules applicable before the Court of Appeal, in particular inadmissibility .
August Debouzy's patent team, comprising attorneys at law as well as French and European patent attorneys, has this three-fold expertise and is at your disposal to put it to good use in assessing the appropriateness, preparation and management of opposition proceedings in France.
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