The French Patent & Trademark Attorney's profession is a liberal profession dating back more than two hundred years. It is currently regulated by law 90-1052 of 26 November 1990 and decree 92-360 of 1 April 1992.

French Patent & Trademark Attorney are guardians of very sensitive information for their clients and comply with strict professional ethic rules:

  • they are responsible vis-à-vis their clients,
  • they observe professional confidentiality,
  • they avoid conflicts of interest.

A disciplinary body ensures that this code of ethics is complied with.

Since 1992, other legislative interventions have specified the status of French Patent & Trademark Attorney :

  • The decree of 25 February 2004 defined the conditions for the creation of liberal profession partnerships for patent agents.
  • The “Profession” law of 11 February 2004 reinforced professional confidentiality for patent agents by creating an article L.422-11 similar to that relating to confidentiality in the profession of lawyer. Likewise the professional incompatibility regime was clarified and strengthened while the requirement for the prohibition of conflict of interest was stated in very clear terms (by amendment of article R.422-54 CPI by the decree of 25 February 2004).

The company reforms of the past few years have had the effect of very strongly harmonising the professional ethics rules for French Patent & Trademark Attorney with those of other legal professions, opening the way to bringing them closer together. The CNCPI is also active in ensuring the emergence at the European level of professional ethics rules of the same level, in the interests of companies and other users of industrial property.