Since 1 July 2020 it has been possible to file provisional patent applications in France. The formal requirements for filing a provisional patent application are fairly simple compared with those of the 'classic' French patent application (eg, claims or abstracts cannot be filed). Nonetheless, the filing date of this provisional application can still be claimed as the priority date of a 'classic' patent application.
Since 1 April 2020 it has been possible to file an opposition to invalidate a French patent directly with the National Industrial Property Institute. Previously, such invalidations had to go through a procedure before the Court of Paris, which created a number of disadvantages – for example, the request was examined by judges without scientific knowledge and required representation by an attorney at law. The length of these legal proceedings, although short, was also a hurdle.
One of the most significant measures of the Action Plan for Business Growth and Transformation affecting patent law is about to come into force. Under the new measures, the National Industrial Property Institute will examine and grant French patent applications filed after 22 May 2020 if they meet not only the criterion of novelty, but also the criterion of inventive step.