Application of PACTE law provisions on the statute of limitations for infringement actions: a welcomed clarification
An order from Paris Judicial Court dated May 6, 2021 has clarified how to compute the statute of limitations for infringement actions further to the PACTE Law’s entry into force. The PACTE Law introduces two changes to the statute of limitations for infringement actions: the starting point of the limitation period becomes subjective, since it is necessary to consider the moment when the plaintiff in the action "knew or should have known" the offending fact, in accordance with the general regime of article 2224 of the Civil Code ; but the statute further specifies that it is "the last fact" upon which the action is based which must be considered. These changes became effective on May 24, 2019. The order of May 6, 2021 recalls the jurisprudence of the Court of Cassation according to which the new law cannot have the effect of modifying the starting point of the limitation period which began to run under the old law. Thus, acts of infringement that occurred before May 24, 2019 remain subject to a five-year statute of limitations that runs from the time the act was committed. In other words, the PACTE law will not have any practical effect before May 24, 2024. It is only from this date that the court will be able to fully apply the provisions relating to the starting point of the limitation period set out in article L.615-8 of the French Intellectual Property Code as amended by PACTE Law.