This article is written by Abhilash Balasaheb Bagul, pursuing a Certificate Course in Intellectual Property Law and Prosecution from LawSikho.


France is one the participants of the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) and is one of the leading countries in case of intellectual property research and development. France is one of the leading countries in the world in case of innovating patents in the field of artificial intelligence and machine learning. It is one of the European countries that is involved drastically in patent filings and licensing them both within the country and at WIPO. 

Intellectual property in France especially patents is administered by the National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI) which also administers the filing of Trademarks, Designs, Geographical Indications and other forms of Intellectual property excluding copyrights. Copyrights in France are administered by the Office of Literary and Artistic Property which falls under the Directorate of Legal Affairs. Also Director of General Administration, Ministry of Culture and Francophone Affairs handle the copyright administration in France. 

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Patent filing procedure is defined by the INPI and mentions various steps that the innovator needs to verify before filing for a patent. It also mentions about the working of the patent office and also the stages that the application for the patent goes through. 

Procedure for filing of a patent in France

Patent filing procedure goes through primarily three stages:

  1. Pre Filing stage
  2. Filing stage
  3. Post Filing stage
  1. Pre Filing Stage: Before filing for the patent, the inventor or the patent applicant needs to verify different stages in order to file for a patent smoothly without any complications. The patent applicant needs to verify whether the patent that he wishes to apply for is new, inventive and has industrial application. The innovation needs to satisfy the patentability criteria mentioned above that has been prescribed by the France patent office i.e. INPI. 
  2. Filing Stage: In order to grant a patent the inventor or applicant of the patent needs to prepare a patent specification initially which includes the written description of the work which explains the working of the invention. Supporting the written description the inventor needs to attach the drawings of the invention that illustrates the invention. Following the drawings then claims regarding the invention are made by the inventor/applicant of the patent. These claims consist of various legal statements that define the technical features of the invention in single sentences. An abstract is also included that summarises the important technical aspects of the invention. 

Filing of all patent applications need to be done at the INPI Headquarters which is located in Courbevoie. We file with the form N011354*06 which is a request for a patent along with the copy of our patent specification. Once an application has been filed at the patent office, they respond by issuing a filing receipt which consists of application number and date of application if the patent office is confident that all the required details are properly filed in the application. Before INPI investigates the application the application can be inspected by national defence if the application has strategic dimension. Administrative and preliminary examination of the application is conducted in order to ensure that the application satisfies all the formal requirements. If it is observed that the information field is not satisfactory and has some missing information then the patent office can ask you for that information. 

3. Post Filing Stage: After the complete information is provided and the patent office does not object to any aspect of the application then it is forwarded to the European Patent Office. It provides for a search report within 6-10 months. This preliminary search report gives the list of patents and all other documents that mentions the “state of the art” to the date of our deposit. Once provided we can then amend our claims within the limit of initial description and present our observations on the quoted documents if the need arises. If the application requests for utility certificate then we need not ask for the search. Novelty of the invention is not evaluated in that case.

In the 3 months which follow the publication of the preliminary search report, anyone can raise objections to the patenting of the invention and the patent office communicates that to us so that we can answer them. Once the issues and objections are resolved then INPI draws its final report which is joined with the granted patent. Then irrespective of the state of the art the patent application is then published in the Bulletin Officiel de la Propriete Industrielle (BOPI), 18 months after the date of application, followed by preliminary search report if it is available. After the changes are made in the claims and correspondence with the INPI, a final search report is drawn and the examination is completed. Payment must be made within 2 months of the request for the payment for granting and printing the patent specification. Once the prescribed fees is paid then INPI publishes the mention of the grant of the patent to the BOPI and sends us a copy of our patent indicating in particular the national number of our filing. 27 months is the average delay in granting patents by INPI. 

Exclusive Rights Granted on Granting of a patent

On the patent grant the owner of the patent enjoys all the exclusive rights related to the patent and has the claims that are mentioned in the patent. He has the right to exploit his registered as he may deem fit. He has the right to pursue infringement cases against anyone who infringes his patent and uses it without prior consent. The owner of the patent can license, assign his patent to anyone if he wishes to do so.

Types of Counterfeits/Infringements

There are different types of counterfeiting that occurs with regards to patents such as:

  • Literal counterfeiting- It is a type of infringement in which all the characteristics of the claim are reproduced. It resembles the analysis for the novelty aspect of the patent claim with regards to the consideration of the object. Exception is that an addition going against the aim of the patent cannot be deemed as a counterfeit. 
  • Counterfeiting by equivalence- In this type a structural feature essential claim is not present and is replaced by new means. An essential characteristic may be found in the preamble of the claim.
  • Counterfeiting by Secondary differences or “variants of execution”- In this type certain characteristics non-essential are not reproduced or reproduced differently. Counterfeit can be by striking a non-essential means and by replacing a non-essential means.
  • Partial Counterfeiting- It is the counterfeit that would be infringement of only part of the claim even if some essential characters are missing.
  • Counterfeiting by Perfection- It means that it contains literal counterfeiting as the addition to the existing claims are made in order to make it perfect or counterfeit by equivalence where the claims are slightly modified.


Patent filing literacy in France is much better compared to that of India and due to this France is advancing towards becoming one of the dominant superpowers in the world. France being one of the most Innovative country amongst the European Countries make it one of the best places to develop and research for new inventions and opportunities which in result empower the country by making the technological owners of the patents and intellectual property and boosting various industrial growth sectors such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, data sciences, etc.

France having a well-defined procedure for patent filing makes it easier for any person who wishes to file for a patent in the country and due to this makes entrepreneurial hub for the French masses and people all over the world to conduct their business in the country smoothly and efficiently. France being one the country in the PCT agreement makes it further easier for other countries to exchange ideas and registrations across borders which flourish trade and commerce between countries that make France one of the Leading Powers in Intellectual Property Rights ownership and a powerhouse. 

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