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The saisie-contrefaçon, a preferred means of proof of the infringement

The saisie-contrefaçon is a means of proof of the infringement and, more generally, any violation of an intellectual property right. Upon authorisation of a judge, this procedure enables the holder of an intellectual property right claiming to be the victim of a violation of this right, to have the violation recorded by a bailiff authorised both to enter any place where the infringement may be observed and to seize the items of evidence of the infringement.

The saisie-contrefaçon is very efficient and often decisive in the success or failure of the infringement action; it is therefore the most widely used means of proof in infringement cases.

The remarkable effectiveness of this procedure resides in that it is ex parte and restrictive. The authorisation to perform a saisie-contrefaçon is requested of the President of the tribunal de grande instance with jurisdiction over the territory in question, in ex parte proceedings. Ex parte means that proceedings are brought without the other party being heard:

Therefore, the saisie-contrefaçon ordered by the judge will benefit from the element of surprise; until the very last moment, the targeted person is not informed of what is going on and therefore cannot move or dispose of the evidence of its infringing activity. The great practical effectiveness of the saisie-contrefaçon also lies in its restrictive nature, since the judge, by granting an order to perform a saisie-contrefaçon, authorises the requesting party to call upon a bailiff to enter the premises of the targeted person or even of third parties (if evidence is likely to be found there), to perform the saisie-contrefaçon investigations, regardless of whether or not the premises are normally open to the public.