Intellectual Property, France updates

Success for Saone-et-Loire
  • France
  • June 26 2017

The Versailles Court of Appeal recently affirmed the Nanterre Court of First Instance's decision in relation to the transfer of three domain names infringing the trademark of a collectivité territoriale (the catch-all term for French communes, departments and regions). The court of appeal reviewed three decisions delivered under SYRELI, an alternative dispute resolution procedure, to resolve domain name disputes under the '.fr' country code extension for France.

Paris Court of Appeal clarifies confusion
  • France
  • May 15 2017

The Paris Court of Appeal recently found that, among other things, use of the domain name '' had resulted in both trademark infringement and unfair competition in relation to the trademark COMPTOIR DES COTONNIERS. According to the court, when a domain name is not identical to a trademark, the likelihood of confusion between the two signs should be assessed. This assessment includes a likelihood of association, which should be evaluated internationally.

Identity theft by domain name
  • France
  • May 01 2017

The Paris Court of First Instance recently ordered the transfer of a domain name consisting of the name of a person whose identity had been misused, most likely fraudulently. The court noted that, under the Post and Electronic Communications Code, the registration or renewal of a domain name may be refused or the domain name may be cancelled if it likely infringes IP or personality rights, unless the domain name holder has a legitimate interest in the domain name and is acting in good faith.

No requirement for domain names to be distinctive in unfair competition claims
  • France
  • March 13 2017

The Court of Cassation recently provided a useful clarification in relation to unfair competition claims based on domain names. The court stressed that a domain name need not be either distinctive or original for an unfair competition claim to be admissible, but that these are relevant simply when assessing likelihood of confusion.

Domain name transferred under UDRP restored in absence of infringement
  • France
  • February 27 2017

The Paris Court of Appeal recently ruled that a domain name that was transferred under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy had to be transferred back to its initial owner due to the absence of trademark infringement. The court stressed that it was insufficient for the allegedly infringing website merely to be accessible in France or the European Union.

Disparagement or FRAND offer?
  • France
  • January 09 2017

The Marseille Commercial Court recently ruled that the sending of letters to the customers of a smartphone creator and seller warning them against possible infringement constituted offers for a fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory licence and was thus not considered unfair competition. The key discussion was not patent infringement, but rather unfair competition due to the sending of letters by a non-exclusive licensee enforcing a standard-essential patent.

Domain name complainant gambles and wins
  • France
  • August 22 2016

A World Intellectual Property Organisation panel recently ordered the transfer of a domain name that misspelled the complainant's trademark and was used to provide online gaming, casino and gambling services. Under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy, the panel held that the respondent was using the fame of the complainant's trademarks to improperly increase traffic to its website for commercial gain.

Court rules that proteins produced through different methods are same product under SPC regulation
  • France
  • August 15 2016

In 2007 the US government filed a supplementary protection certificate (SPC) application in regard to a European patent for proteins used in the Cervarix vaccine, which was rejected on the basis that the proteins were identical to those covered by the SPC corresponding to the Gardasil vaccine. The dismissal was recently upheld on appeal on the basis that the proteins were a single product, regardless of their potentially different forms and manufacturing methods.

Court orders transfer and damages for fraudulent domain name registration
  • France
  • May 16 2016

In a recent decision the Paris Court of First Instance ruled that a domain name had been fraudulently registered, ordering the transfer of the domain name to the claimants and awarding €2,000 in damages. This decision is a useful illustration that, under French law, a court can order the transfer of a domain name registered or used fraudulently, and that a party whose rights have been infringed can seek and obtain a specific damages award.

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