Limitation period for patent infringement actions and for invalidity actions


  • Limitation period for patent infringement

Since May 23, 2019, the limitation period is 5 years "from the date on which the holder of a right knew or should have known of the last fact enabling him to exercise it" (L.615-8 IPC).

The starting point of a civil action for infringement, "the last fact" leads to extend the limitation period that no longer starts from the date of completion of the acts but from the one that at which the rights holder had or should have known about them.

No provision relating to transitional law is provided for infringement proceedings. Thus, the application of this provision to facts prior to its entry into force will have be determined by case law.


  • Limitation period for invalidity actions

Before the PACTE Act, the French Intellectual Property Code had no provision concerning the limitation for patent invalidity actions, and the case law relied on Article 2224 of the Civil Code to apply for a period of 5 years “from the day on which the holder of a right knew or should have known the facts enabling him to exercise it".

It is now established that an invalidity action for industrial property rights (patents, trademarks and designs) is imprescriptible (L.615-8-1 IPC). This new provision applies to titles in force, and for which the limitation period has not yet expired but has no effect on decisions having the force of res judicata on the date of entry into force of the law.