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In France the marking of a trademark using, for instance «TM», « », “marque déposée”, or “registered trademark” is only optional.

Since there is no law provision for the same, cross-references are often added to complete these symbols, such as ““X” is a trademark application or a registered trademark of Y”. The lack of the regulation regarding the trademark marking is based on the fact that filing and registration of trademarks are subject to publications in an Official Bulletin. Consequently, third parties are deemed to be aware of the corresponding ownership.

The same applies to the © symbol, the word “Copyright”, or the abbreviation “Copr.” There is no provision or use requirement relating thereto. These are used to mark published or unpublished original works of authorship under the US practice but the French practice adopts all of them indistinctly.

The use without the marking will not affect the validity of a registered or a pending trademark application. In addition, and contrary to the US practice, the lack of indication of any of the above symbols has no incidence on the amount of damages that could be obtained before French Courts.

The display of the said sign is, however, of a particular interest so as to prevent a trademark from becoming common or generic after its registration. This is not the sole preventing action but it is moreefficient when combined with other appropriate measures, such as a deep defence policy and a regular publication or an advertising article indicating the ownership in the mark.

In practice, many French trademark owners associate the use of their trademarks to the sign or to the mention “trademark application”. The main reason is that the use becomes more and more international and, besides, it is important to provide information for customs controls and for third parties as to the registered owner when licenses are granted.


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