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Certificat d’utilité (CU)

Definition : Certificat d’utilité (CU)

A utility certificate is, like a patent, an industrial property title issued by in France by the Institut National de la Propriété Industrielle (INPI) in order to protect a invention.

A utility certificate can only protect an invention that meets the criteria of novelty, inventive step and industrial application.

Unlike a patent, a utility certificate only grants protection for a maximum of 10 years, compared with 20 years for a patent.

Moreover, the procedure for issuing a utility certificate is much simpler than that for issuing a patent. Indeed, no prior art search report is drawn up by the INPI. However, a prior art search report will be required if an infringement action is to be brought on the basis of the utility certificate.

Lastly, the procedure for granting a utility certificate does not allow third parties to bring opposition proceedings, unlike the procedure introduced by the PACTE Act for patents.