On the same day, the Paris Court of Appeal handed down 24 identical judgments1
on the same point of law concerning the transitional provisions for applying the translation regime under the London Agreement to European patents in respect of which the mention of grant was published before 1 May 2008 but which were subsequently amended in opposition proceedings.
A number of European patents granted before 1 May 2008 had been amended following EPO opposition proceedings ending after that date, and their proprietors had provided INPI (French Patent Office) with a translation into French of the amended European patent effective in France.
INPI refused these translations on the grounds that since 1 May 2008 – the date on which, by the law of 29 October 2007, the London Agreement entered into force – France had dispensed with translation requirements for European patents.
The patent proprietors however argued that amended texts of European patents granted before the new law's entry into force were still subject to old Article L614-7 of the French Intellectual Property Code (CPI), and the translation requirements still applied.
The Appeal Court judge found against them: Article L614-7, first paragraph, CPI as amended by the law of 29 October 2007 was to be interpreted as dispensing immediately with all translation requirements, also for European patents in respect of which the mention of grant had been published before the Agreement's entry into force. The new rules concerned a procedural formality, not the substance of the patent right, and as such were applicable immediately.
One judgment will be published in the EPO's three languages in a forthcoming issue of the Official Journal.