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The legal patent market has seen a lot of movement in France over the past year. Partly this can be attributed to the long-anticipated advent of the Unified Patent Court (UPC), expected to open in June 2023. With France a pivotal venue for the UPC’s central division, especially since the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the scheme, practitioners expect to be very busy once the new court opens. Between France and Germany, a number of firms have announced strategic partnerships in anticipation of the new system: Amar Goussu Staub is partnering with the German-British EIP, and the Santarelli Group will work with Meissner Bolte. Most of the country’s leading litigators expect the national system to remain popular through the UPC’s opening because of France’s unique saisie-contrefaçon mechanism, enabling investigators to seize products during infringement proceedings. On the prosecution front, firms have been kept busy through the spring of 2023 as companies take advantage of the unitary patent’s sunrise period in order to opt out any patents they don’t want to remain in the new system. Meanwhile, some of the country’s leading patent attorney shops have consolidated their position through amalgamation and strategic acquisition. The former Marks & Clerk France has become Atout PI Laplace and will merge with the Vidon Group, while Santarelli has joined with IpSide and Brevalex to become one of the country’s largest prosecution outfits.
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