France: New sovereign patent fund

The French government recently announced that together with the Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations (CDC) it will create a new sovereign patent fund (SPF) called Fonds Souverain de la Propriété Intellectuelle (FSPI).

The FSPI will have €100 million at its disposal. This amount will be available until 2023.

The main objectives of the FSPI are:

  • to give French and European companies access to patent-protected markets in the best possible way, for instance by acquiring rights on blocking patents.
  • to include patents issued for French research in international standards.

A first positive output which is to be expected is the enhanced possibility of technology transfer from public laboratories, especially in high-tech fields.

SPFs are quite a recent creation. A first French SPF, France Brevets, was created in March 2011 with significant results in licensing out initiatives. France Brevets launched its first patent lawsuit in Düsseldorf, Germany, against an American company in a smart home technology dispute. Other lawsuits have been filed against companies operating in Asia in mobile technology based upon NFC patents.

With this new French SPF, defending domestic companies in patent lawsuits becomes more structured. Taking into account the name of the new fund, its ambition appears not to be limited to patents but seems to extend to the whole field of intellectual property.

It surely confirms France's strategy to keep on stimulating its economy through IP, despite the risk that such a policy might be considered as discriminatory.

No doubt the FSPI will be able to rely on a strong and highly skilled community of IP professionals to assist in performing its challenging task.

Authors: Jean-Christophe Rolland and Philippe Kohn - Publisher: Managing IP