March 11th, 2020
Opposition proceedings will soon be available at the INPI (French patent office) to any third party who wish to oppose to the grant of a French patent. The grounds for opposition will be the lack of novelty or inventive step, insufficiency of description, and extension of the patent beyond the content of the application as filed. On the basis of these grounds, the opponent may obtain the complete cancellation of the patent, or a reduction of its scope. On the contrary, the opposition may also be rejected if the INPI considers that the opponent's arguments are not convincing. This procedure will be available for any French patent granted from April 1, 2020, within nine months of the grant date.
The introduction of opposition proceedings will reduce the risk of being sued for infringement on the basis of invalid patents. Everyone will be able to undertake the monitoring of patents grants of their competitors, and to react with an opposition when they consider that a patent does not deserve to be granted. If the opponent obtains, for example, a reduction in the scope of the patent, it is possible that his products will no longer be covered by the patent granted after opposition.