1. Definitions, scope and generalities
1.1. The purpose of these general terms and conditions of services (hereinafter the “General Terms and Conditions of Services”) is to determine the terms and conditions under which
– the Industrial Property Attorney’ Firm, Plasseraud IP, a civil company registered in the Paris Trade and Companies Register under number 784 404 246, with a share capital of 800,900€, whose registered office is located at 66 rue de la Chaussée d’Antin, 75440 Paris Cedex 09, France, and its subsidiaries or legally related companies in France and abroad authorized by Plasseraud IP to operate under the Plasseraud IP brand or trade name including the Industrial Property Attorney’ Firm, SAS Ernest Gutmann–Yves Plasseraud (hereinafter “E.G.Y.P.”) registered in the Paris Trade and Companies Register under number 332 417 500, (hereinafter the “Plasseraud IP Group”) (the “Service Provider”, individually or collectively referred to as the “Service Provider”) provide their clients (hereinafter the “Client”) with advice, assistance and representation with a view to obtaining, maintaining, exploiting, defending or evaluating industrial property rights, ancillary rights and rights relating to all related matters, these services including legal advice and the drafting of private deeds (hereinafter the “Services”). These General Terms and Conditions of Services are analogous to general terms and conditions of sale and are to be considered both as general terms and conditions of advice, or general terms and conditions for the provision of services.
1.2. These General Terms and Conditions of Services apply to the services provided by each entity of the Plasseraud IP Group in the name and on behalf of the Client. These General Terms and Conditions of Services are kept available to our Clients and are available on the www.plass.com website.
1.3. These General Terms and Conditions of Services apply, without restriction or reservation, to any mandate given to the Plasseraud IP group for the provision of Services and in particular to any order or purchase from the entities of the Plasseraud IP group, of personalised legal or administrative acts and/or the provision of legal advice, regardless of the method used, and in particular by post or e-mail, by telephone and/or via an intermediary internet platform.
1.4. These General Terms and Conditions of Services define the mutual and/or reciprocal obligations of the companies in the Plasseraud IP Group and the Client.
1.5. These General Terms and Conditions of Services are expressly accepted by the Client, who declares and acknowledges having read them in full insofar as the quote or invoice refers to them and insofar as they can be consulted online on the Plasseraud IP Group’s website www.plass.com, by entrusting Services to one of the companies in the Plasseraud IP Group, when at least one of the following events occurs:
- acceptance of the conditions of intervention proposed by the Plasseraud IP group; or
- signing the mandate for the Plasseraud IP Group or one of its companies; or
- the transmission of written instructions to entrust Services to the Plasseraud IP Group or one of its companies; or
- payment of any requests for financial advances issued by the Plasseraud IP Group or one of its companies.
1.6. The Client waives the right to invoke its own general terms and conditions of purchase, and in particular all its conflicting provisions, which shall be unenforceable against the Service Provider, even if the Service Provider is aware of them.
1.7. No particular condition may, without prior written acceptance by the Service Provider, take precedence over these General Terms and Conditions of Services. Any exception or derogation to these General Terms and Conditions of Services requested by the Client therefore requires the prior written agreement of the Service Provider.
1.8. The Plasseraud IP Group reserves the right to proceed at any time and without prior notice to any modification of the present terms and conditions made necessary, for example to comply with the legal, regulatory or ethical provisions relating to the organisation of the practice of the profession of French Industrial Property Attorneys and/or European Representatives before the EUIPO and/or the EPO.
1.9. The possible nullity or lapse of one of the clauses of these General Terms and Conditions of Services does not affect the validity of the other clauses.
1.10. The fact that the Service Provider does not avail itself of these General Terms and Conditions of Services at a given time shall not be interpreted as a waiver of its right to do so at a later date.
2. Ethical framework and practice
2.1. The Plasseraud IP Group usually carries out various types of assignments and services, such as legal or technical-legal consultations, steps to prepare, obtain, maintain, defend, assert, contribute to defending or enforcing industrial property titles or intellectual property rights, auditing and valuation operations of securities or portfolios of securities, or formalities for registering and regularizing industrial property titles with national, regional or international intellectual property offices.
Plasseraud IP and its French subsidiaries or legally related companies, in their capacity as French Industrial Property Attorneys, are required to strictly comply with the legal and regulatory provisions of Articles L422-1 to L423-2 and R422-1 to R423-2 of the French Intellectual Property Code and the provisions of the Internal Regulations of the Compagnie Nationale des Conseils en Propriété Industrielle.
2.2. The foreign branches of the Plasseraud IP Group are obliged to comply with French rules of professional ethics as well as those that may be applicable to them under local legislation. In the event of rules of Public Order applying in one or other of the countries concerned, the latter would then necessarily prevail.
2.3. The Professional Representatives before the European Patent Office of the Plasseraud IP Group are members of the Institute of Professional Representatives before the European Patent Office (EPI) and are subject to the EPI Code of Professional Conduct.
2.4. As a result of these various provisions, the employees, partners or consultants, members or otherwise connected to one or other of the Plasseraud IP Group’s entities respect, in all circumstances, the strictest professional secrecy and, therefore, the confidentiality of the information that their clients is led to entrust to them, whatever the mode of communication.
2.5. With regard to the protection of personal data, the Client is informed that the Plasseraud IP Group processes personal data (surname, first name, postal address and e-mail address) in order to enable management, invoicing and monitoring of Clients’ files and prospecting by electronic means. This data is necessary for the proper management of files and Clients and is intended for the Plasseraud IP Group’s authorised departments. The Plasseraud IP Group is committed to complying with the provisions of the French Data Protection Act and the European Data Protection Regulation, within the limits of the obligations required by certain trademark and patent offices, in particular with regard to information concerning the inventors named in patent applications or applicants who are natural persons. Under the conditions defined by the French Data Protection Act and the European Data Protection Regulation, individuals have the right to access, rectify, query, limit, transfer and delete data concerning them. Data subjects also have the right to object at any time, on grounds relating to their specific situation, to the processing of personal data on which the legitimate interest of the Plasseraud IP Group is based, as well as the right to object to commercial prospecting. They also have the right to define general and specific directives defining the manner in which they intend the above-mentioned rights to be exercised after their death. To avail of these rights, the persons concerned may at any time contact the Plasseraud IP Group’s Data Protection Officer by e-mail at the following address: firstname.lastname@example.org or by post at the following address: 66 rue de la Chaussée d’Antin, 75440 Paris Cedex 09, France, accompanied by a copy of a signed identity document.
2.6. Before accepting to provide any service whatsoever for a new Client or a new business, the Plasseraud IP Group checks that there is no conflict of interest regarding the business entrusted or the service to be performed, in application of the provisions of the CNCPI’s Internal Regulations (Rules 12.1 and 12.2). Depending on the case, the Plasseraud IP Group may be led either to decline a new case or a new client or to withdraw from a case in progress, or to act as an amiable compositeur, if this option is possible in agreement with both parties.
3. Mandate and representation before offices
3.1. The Plasseraud IP Group provides certain services under a representation mandate given by clients to intellectual property offices. This mandate may be tacit or express. Its scope depends on the specific case and any mandate relating to the filing of an application for an industrial property right also extends to the payment of the relevant fees and the official examination procedure up to the granting or registration of the title. The power of attorney, whether tacit or express, shall cease on the grant of the title, unless there is a specific agreement as to its continuation, in particular for the payment of maintenance fees (annuities).
3.2. The Plasseraud IP group usually represents its clients before the INPI, EPO, WIPO, EUIPO and certain national offices and generally uses foreign agents for the effective representation of clients’ proceedings before local foreign offices. In the latter case, the Plasseraud IP Group carefully selects the agents to whom it entrusts assignments.
The Plasseraud IP Group cannot be held liable in the event of the failure of its foreign agents.
3.3. Before certain offices, the Client must sign a power of attorney on behalf of the Plasseraud IP Group, or one of its companies and/or on behalf of a foreign agent representing the Client before a foreign office. For INPI, EPO, WIPO and EUIPO a signed power of attorney is generally not required.
4. Obligations of the Client
4.1. The Client undertakes to communicate precisely to the Plasseraud IP group the identification of the Client entity and all its components, in particular: principal, rights holder, invoiced entity, these components being combined or distinct depending on the case. Preferably, it will communicate before any mandate, its Kbis extract, the copy of its articles of association or any document likely to prove its identity, and if necessary its intra-community VAT number.
4.2. In cases where co-ownership of rights or/and co-payment is provided for, and unless otherwise stipulated in a co-ownership agreement or regulations to be provided to the Service Provider, the identified Client is then considered to be the sole interlocutor of the Plasseraud IP Group. Any invoicing to be addressed to a third party who is not the Client must have been expressly agreed in advance by this third party.
4.3. The Client undertakes to make available to the Plasseraud IP Group all documents and information necessary for the performance of its missions and the expected services. The documents and information provided by the Client must be complete, accurate and truthful.
4.4. The necessary information and instructions must be provided to the Plasseraud IP Group before the expiry of the prescribed period within a reasonable time period taking into account the working time required to perform the service. All instructions from the Client must be given in writing or confirmed in writing as soon as possible, by e-mail(s) or letter(s). Failing this, the Plasseraud IP Group cannot be held liable for any non-performance or late performance. A default method of instruction agreed in advance with the Client may be provided for.
4.5. The Client undertakes to inform the Plasseraud IP Group immediately of any change concerning its organisation, contact details, capital links or any collective proceedings or threat of collective proceedings that it may incur.
4.6. Quotations, legal advice, audit reports and, in general, all working documents drawn up and delivered or sent by the Service Provider to the Client, for the purposes of the Mission, are covered by professional secrecy and the intellectual property rights attached thereto belong to the Plasseraud IP Group. The Client therefore refrains, except with the express prior authorisation of the Plasseraud IP group, from any re-use and/or transmission to third parties of the documents prepared and communicated by the Plasseraud IP group in the performance of its Mission or the provision of any service whatsoever.
5. Financial conditions
5.1. Rates and quotes
5.1.1. There may be a fee agreement between the Plasseraud IP Group or one of its companies and its Client. Failing this, the Plasseraud IP group makes available to all its Clients a price list showing the usual fees and fixed prices for its main services and, where applicable, the conditions for annual re-evaluation.
5.1.2. Services that are not subject to a fixed fee schedule are billable on a time-spent by members of the Plasseraud IP Group according to the level of qualification required by the nature and complexity of the work to be carried out.
5.1.3. The travel expenses of the members of the Plasseraud IP Group, necessary for the performance of the Services, are not included in the fees referred to in points 5.1.1 and 5.1.2 and will be reimbursed to Plasseraud IP on presentation of the invoices.
5.1.4. The official fees are set by the Offices and may change at their sole initiative, sometimes with immediate applicability. They are reflected in the invoices at their exact amount on the day of invoicing.
5.1.5. Estimates prepared by the Plasseraud IP Group for the Client are calculated on the basis of information known at the date of their establishment and cannot, unless expressly agreed and mentioned by the Plasseraud IP Group, be considered as firm invoicing agreements. They are therefore provided exclusive of tax as an estimate, as they may vary according to the work to be done both by the Plasseraud IP group and by its foreign correspondents, the fluctuation of currencies, and the rates applicable on the date on which the Plasseraud IP group undertakes its mission. In addition, they do not generally include various costs such as legalization, translations, obtaining and providing additional documents that may be required by the Administrations. Nor do these estimates prejudge any subsequent difficulties that may be encountered in the execution of the mission. They are valid for a limited period of time.
5.2. Advance payments, invoicing
5.2.1. The Plasseraud IP Group may, if necessary, request the advance payment of part of the planned or estimated fees for the service to be provided as well as the advance payment of official taxes. A request for an advance payment including tax is then sent by the Plasseraud IP Group to the Client. The start of the performance of the service is then subject to the prior receipt of the advance payment requested, regardless of the consequences for the Client, in particular if this involves exceeding a deadline.
5.2.2. The Plasseraud IP Group issues an invoice as soon as possible after the service has been provided. When, due to its nature, the service is provided over a significant time period , intermediate invoices may be issued. The Plasseraud IP Group’s invoices will immediately reflect, without the need for prior approval by the Client, any upward or downward variations in official taxes, even if they are stated differently in the prior quotation.
5.2.3. For procedures requiring the intervention of an authorized agent before a foreign intellectual property office, the Plasseraud IP Group re-invoices the disbursements of this foreign agent with the addition of administrative, accounting and banking processing fees.
5.2.4. VAT will be applied to the amount of the invoices, excluding taxes, at the legal rate in force. Certain exceptions may apply in the case of cross-border invoicing and/or simple payment of taxes.
5.3. Terms of payment
Payment shall be made in full on receipt. Subject to prior agreement, payments may be made on the basis of a periodic summary statement of invoices issued. Any dispute concerning the amount of the invoice is only admissible if it is formulated within fifteen (15) days following receipt of the invoice by the Client. No dispute justifies the Client’s right to suspend payments or to make deductions or compensation. Penalties for late payment may be applied in accordance with the legal provisions of general or local law. Provision is made for a collection indemnity which may be claimed from the Client in the event of late payment. The sums due to the Plasseraud IP Group for Services performed up to the date of termination of the contractual relationship between the Plasseraud IP Group and the Client will remain definitively due.
6. Performance of services
The Client acknowledges that an industrial property right is acquired through specific national, international or foreign procedures, sometimes lasting several years, and that maintaining and/or defending this right involves costs.
7.1. Obligation of means. The Plasseraud IP Group undertakes to implement all means necessary for the correct execution of the Services. The Plasseraud IP Group therefore has an obligation of means for the execution of the missions entrusted to it by its Clients.
7.2. Liability and insurance. The Plasseraud IP Group has taken out a professional civil liability insurance policy that covers all Services and undertakes to provide a certificate upon request by the Client. Any event known to the Client that is likely to have consequences in terms of civil liability must be brought to the attention of the Plasseraud IP group without delay by the Client, to enable the latter to take any appropriate measures. In any event, the amount of any compensation payable by the Service Provider may not exceed the cost of the invoice including all taxes paid by the Client.
The Plasseraud IP Group accepts no liability in relation to services provided by third parties, particularly when the third party is expressly chosen by the Client.
Under no circumstances can the Plasseraud IP Group be held liable for compensation for direct or indirect and immaterial damage suffered by the Client, in particular loss of turnover, contracts, customers, opportunities, reputation or profits.
The Plasseraud IP Group cannot be held liable in the event of delay or suspension of the execution of the Mission attributable to the Client, or in the event of force majeure.
The Plasseraud IP Group keeps Client files exclusively in electronic format in compliance with the legal time limit.
The Plasseraud IP Group, unless expressly agreed otherwise with the Client, does not keep any original documents or official documents, which are addressed to the Client, who is solely responsible for keeping them.
9. Applicable law and jurisdiction
9.1. The present General Terms of Services are governed by French law and are subject to the rules of the profession of Conseil en propriété industrielle governed by the French Intellectual Property Code. Any contentious issues shall be presented and dealt with as the case may be before the Disciplinary Commission of the CNCPI or before the Paris Court of Justice, notwithstanding the plurality of defendants or appeal in warranty.
9.2. In the presence of a Client having the status of a consumer Client within the meaning of the introductory article of the French Consumer Code (the “Consumer Client”), a mediation procedure may apply under the conditions set out in Articles L.611-1 et seq. of the French Consumer Code. Thus, in the event of a disagreement between the Firm and the Consumer Client over the conduct of a case and in the absence of an amicable solution, it is specified that the Consumer Client has the right to have recourse, free of charge, to a consumer mediator with a view to the amicable resolution of the dispute between said Consumer Client and a professional.
Updated: 2nd October 2020