In order to properly file a patent application in France, it is still necessary to respect the place and method of filing. In other words, the question must be answered: where to file and how to file?
Chapter 1. Place of deposit
Section 1.1. INPI
All patent applications must be filed at INPI headquarters (R612-1 CPI) located in Courbevoie (regional delegations are no longer entitled to receive deposits since 1 July 2014).
Section 1.2. Prefectures?
Before March 3, 2007, it was also possible to file patent applications with a prefecture (outside Paris).
Today, this is more possible.
Chapter 2. Deposit Methods
Section 2.1. Physical deposit
It should be noted that the INPI has kept an automatic box open in Paris to receive deposits 24h / 24h 7d / 7d (INPI Examination Guidelines, IA 1.1).
Section 2.2. Postal fold
Furthermore, it is possible to submit any request by postal mail if this sending is done by registered letter with acknowledgment of receipt (R614-1 CPI).
Section 2.3. Fax
It is no longer possible to file French patent applications by fax since 19 November 2018 (Decision 2018-156 of the Director General of the INPI).
Section 2.4. Filing in electronic form
Electronic filings are possible (R612-1 CPI and R614-1 CPI together Decision 2018-156 of the Director General of the INPI) via the E-PROCEDURE service except for requests concerning national defense.
The patent applications must be filed in a particular format (ie DOCX) and respect a formalism of tags and special keywords (good luck to you !!) (articles 7 and 9, Decision 2018-156 of the Director General of the INPI).
If ever an emergency deposit has to be done but the docx is not ready, it is possible to file it in PDF but to correct within 2 months (article 8, Decision 2018-156 of the Director General of the INPI).
Chapter 3. Case of National Defense
In the event of a deposit likely to interest the national defense, it is necessary to make the deposits in paper form on the premises of the INPI directly (article 2, Decision 2018-156 of the Director General of the INPI).
It is mandatory to declare to the DGA any "sensitive" patent application filing, ie:
- war material and category A weapons (prohibited for acquisition and possession) and B (subject to authorization for acquisition and possession) (L2331-1 of the Code of Defense and R311-2 of the Internal Security Code),
- subject to an export authorization (theOrder of May 4, 2017 on the obligation to declare the filing of patent applications for certain goods and materials together L2335-2 of the Code of Defense)
- subject to prior authorization of transfer (Order of June 27, 2012, relating to the list of military equipment and related materials subject to prior export authorization and defense-related products
- material assimilated to war material or dual-use goods within the meaning of Regulation (EC) No 428/2009,
This declaration must be made within 8 days of the filing date (L2332-6 of the Code of Defense).
"Sensitive" inventions may concern non-traditionally military domains such as software (notably software adapted to control war materials, cryptography software, etc.).