Legal notes to trademark registration in France

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Trademark registration in France. France, officially the French Republic, is a transcontinental country spanning Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. France is a member of the Group of Seven leading industrialized countries and an economic power. For roughly two centuries, the French economy has consistently ranked among the ten largest globally. It is currently the world’s ninth-largest by purchasing power parity, the seventh-largest by nominal GDP, and the second largest in the EU by both metrics. Accordingly, many businesses want to enter this market and one of the most important preparations a business needs to take before expanding to this country is to learn the procedure of trademark registration in France.

Forbidden marks in trademark registration in France

The forbidden marks in trademark registration in France are:

  • Marks that are against public order;
  • Marks that violate moral or ethic regulations;
  • Marks that are geographical locations;
  • Marks that are flags of nations or states;
  • Marks that lack distinctiveness;
  • Marks that are common terms.

Registrable marks in France

The registrable marks in France are words or letters, numbers, other typographic symbols, non-standardized characters, stylizations, or layouts, or color, etc.

The registrable marks in France also include marks that consist exclusively of image elements.

Three-dimensional shape mark, position mark, sample mark, audio mark, color mark, movement mark, multimedia mark (with a combination of image and sound), and the hologram mark, etc. are also registrable marks in France.

The principle of trademark registration in France

France follows the “first-to-file” principle. Accordingly, the rights to a trademark in most cases will be granted to the first person who files the application to register that trademark, not the first person to use it.

Businesses should apply to register their trademark in France immediately if they don’t want to see their marks stolen by other parties.

Normally, a trademark registration procedure in France takes about 2 or 3 months to complete. However, the process can last significantly longer if there are errors detected in the application and if there is opposition from a third party.

The trademark is valid for 10 years in France from the registration date. It can be extended for 10 years at a time for an unlimited number of times.

The trademark owner needs to file for renewal 6 months before the expiration date of the trademark. If they miss the deadline, they can file for renewal in a grace period of 6 months after the expiration date with a late payment fee.


France is a member state of the Madrid Protocol. Hence, the extension of international registration of a trademark via the Madrid System is possible for this country.

European Union Trademarks (EUTM) offer protection in France as well as all the other member countries of the European Union.

After successful trademark registration in France, the trademark is protected in the following territories: France, French Guiana, New Caledonia, French Antarctic Territories, Reunion, Martinique, Corsica, Saint-Barthelemy, the French part of Saint-Martin, Wallis and Futuna, Mayotte, Saint-Pierre et Miquelon, Guadeloupe.

It should be noted that the trademark registered in France does not cover French Polynesia anymore.

Use requirement of the trademark in France

After successful trademark registration in France, the trademark owner must use the trademark for the goods or services for which it is registered within 5 years of registration.

If not used on a commercial within that period, the trademark can be declared invalid if requested.

The use must take place in the respective Nice class or service.

You can see a list of France IP firms here.


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