French government has recently been decided to make relationships between administrations and their users easier. With this in mind, they created a new rule according to which failure of an administration to answer a request within a two-month period should be considered as granting this request.
In France, this rule is known as “Silence vaut accord” or “Silence means agreement”.
But things being what they are and French being French, there are many exceptions to this new rule, especially as far as industrial property is concerned (1).
In many cases, silence of the INPI (French PTO) shall be interpreted as meaning the request or application is rejected.
The most significant examples are the new rules governing trademark and design applications for registration and trademark and design applications for renewal. From now on, such applications must be examined and processed by the INPI within a six-month deadline (unless there are oppositions from third parties or office actions).
And in case the INPI does not issue certificates of registration or certificates of renewal within this six-month period, the applications shall be considered as rejected.
More than ever, industrial property rights applicants and their attorneys must show great attention to these rules and deadlines (2).
(1) See governmental decrees No.2014-1281 of 23 October 2014 and No.2015-511 of 7 May 2015.
(2) See also our article about the increase of French official fees as of 1st July 2015.