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In accordance with Art. 3 of the Law of 31 December 1964 and Art. L. 711-3 of the Intellectual Property Code, trade mark protection does not extend to a sign that is intrinsically liable to mislead the public on the characteristics of a product or service; the defect of deceptiveness can be overcome neither by time nor by usage. It follows that this defect must be capable of being invoked by third parties at any time, as long as the trade mark holder maintains his registration in effect.
The defect of deception corresponds to an on-going situation which lasts as long as the registration of the trade mark has effects. Consequently, the 30-year limitation period for nullity actions based on the deceptive nature of the trade mark cannot commence as long as the sign at issue remains inscribed on the national trade mark register.
A limitation period cannot commence with effect from the simple filing of the trade mark, which is in no way capable of bringing the existence of the trade mark to the notice of third parties.