Patent & Design Protection
There is no independent Industrial Property legislation in Réunion Island as it is part of France. French trade marks, patents and designs automatically extend to this territory.
Requirements to obtain a patent in France:
An invention must be new, involve an inventive step, be capable of industrial application, and not be excluded from patentable subject matter. (French Intellectual Property Code (IPC), concerning French patents, and European patent convention (EPC), concerning European patents.)
Patents are granted for a period of 20 years (if annual fees are duly paid), from the day the application is filed. Patents cannot be renewed or extended, except for pharmaceutical and phytopharmaceutical patents, the protection of which can be extended for a specific additional period of time. Utility certificates can be obtained for a period of 10 years (this new duration replaces a six-year period, effective by 23 May 2020) but they are rarely used in practice. Patent protection starts as soon as the patent application is published.
The term for filing a patent application in France claiming conventional priority is 12 months from the priority date. Restoration is possible if the applicant has a legitimate reason for missing the above term and files a request for restoration within two months.
PCT – Patent Cooperation Treaty
Patent protection in France may also be obtained via registration of the European patent. European patents are automatically valid on the territory of France. It is not possible to enter the PCT national phase in France, only a European patent may be obtained on the basis of a PCT application.
Smit & Van Wyk provides a full range of IP legal services in all African countries where Intellectual Property protection is available. We can provide information on the filing requirements in each of the African countries and can also offer information on the various regional IP organisations such as ARIPO, OAPI and the Madrid protocol. We work with a network of trusted and knowledgeable agents to develop the best possible solution to each of our clients’ IP needs in Africa.