A strategic alternative to the patent
If your protection need evolves, it is possible to convert your utility certificate application into a patent application within 16 months after the filing date of your certificate (12 months if you want international protection).
Remember to inform your Industrial Property Attorney of your prospective in order to complete all the steps in time! You will then have to pay the search fee of 260€ to start the examination of your patent application, which is essential in the case of a conversion into a patent.
If you transform your utility certificate into a patent application, you keep the filing date of the day you filed your utility certificate.
Although the term “Utility Certificate” is less meaningful than “Patent filed” or “Patent granted”, the Utility Certificate is an industrial property right delivered by INPI. It can be used in commercial strategies for example.
On the one hand it gives you 16 months to do your proof of concept, study your market, disclose, or commercialize, before if need be transforming your utility certificate into a patent application and dealing with the “Examination by the french PTO” part;
On the other hand, if you do not identify the need for this transformation, you can keep your utility certificate, paying only annual fees to keep it in force.