France's new consumer affairs laws


Aurélia Marie

Officially published in March 2014, France’s new consumer affairs law aims to reinforce the rights of consumers by setting up “new tools of economic regulation in order to balance the powers of consumers and professionals”.

Among the law’s new provisions, class action is one of the key measures as it allows consumers, via their representatives (such as consumer associations), to take legal action collectively to assert their rights and obtain damages for all of them in one single proceeding. In the past each consumer had to take action individually to receive damages.

Chapter IV of the March 2014 law concerns geographical indications (GIs) and protection of the names of regional territories. Articles 73 to 75 of this chapter modify several provisions of the Intellectual Property Code (IPC) and create GIs which protect industrial and craft products (new Articles L721-2 to L721-10 IPC).

While EU law provides a harmonised system for the protection of GIs, it concerns agricultural food products only (European Regulations no. 1151/2012, 491/2009 and 110/2008). The French legislature has now set up a system of protection with the creation of GIs for industrial and craft products, very similar to the one in place for food products.

consumer affair law, consumer rights, IPC, TRIPS, copyright