How to file a patent?

In France, it is necessary to file a patent in order to benefit from an intellectual property right on a technical invention. Why take such a step? What are the steps to know? We take stock.

What is a patent?

A patent is a protection that applies to technical inventions. This official title deed grants the applicant a monopoly on the exploitation of his invention on French territory for a period not exceeding 20 years. A patent can be assigned, transmitted or sold.

To be patentable, the invention must meet several characteristics:

  • Provide a technical solution to a technical problem;
  • Has an innovative nature (no one has had this idea yet);
  • Involve an inventive step (a competitor cannot easily come up with the same invention);
  • Be able to be industrialized.

For example, an idea that has not been realized is not patentable. Or else, certain categories of patents have specific criteriasuch as pharmaceuticals or computer software.

Why file a patent?

In an increasingly competitive environment, the patent application makes it possiblehas a monopoly working on his invention. As explained above, the proprietors are the only ones who can use their invention for 20 years. The application of a patent also provides the opportunity to seal the date of creation of one’s invention, thus constituting proof of anteriority in the event of a dispute. Finally, it is an economic and strategic asset. In fact, it is particularly profitable to be the only company that can manufacture and market a product.

On the other hand, all patent holders are subject to a operational duty. They are also obliged to publicly disseminate information about their inventions with the aim of enriching the fund of technical knowledge at an international level and encouraging creativity and innovation.

The stages of the patent application

The filing of the patent application

Filing a patent involves following various steps, starting with the patent application. This is done byINPI (National Institute of Industrial Property) after checking the availability of his invention and the patentability criteria. A folder must be mounted. Since November 2018, almost all patent applications must be filed online on the dedicated site.

File review

Once the patent application is made, the file is officially registered and the applicant receives a registration number. The INPI then examines the file and then sends a research report, which assesses the patentability of the invention. Upon receipt of this file, the applicant has 3 months, extendable once, to provide a response. This step is important because it requires a combination of skills (technical knowledge related to the invention and good editorial level).

Patent publication and grant

At the end of the technical and administrative examination, the patent application is published in BOPI (Official Bulletin of Industrial Property) and the public has a period of 3 months to make any comments. After this time, and if all signals are green, the INPI transmits a final research report. When the final publication of his patent in BOPI, the owner receives the final copy of his patent. Note that you have to pay various fees during the process (patent application, search report, issuance and printing of the patent, annual fee, etc.).

And to file an international patent?

To file a patent internationally, the formalities are different. You must either apply directly to WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization) or to a national or regional patent office responsible for forwarding the application.

(Photo credit: iStock)

Article written by


This text is published under the responsibility of the author. Its content does not in any way engage the editors of Les Echos Solutions.

Leave a Comment