Monday, November 27 2023   \  Published by IP Kat .

Limitation period for copyright infringement actions in France

Limitation period for copyright infringement actions in France

This Kat always eagerly awaits decisions from the French Cour de Cassation, so he was delighted to find out about an important recent decision on copyright (Cour de cassation, 1st Civil Chamber, 15 November 2023, n° 22-23.266). The judgment focuses on a procedural aspect, namely the limitation period for an action for copyright infringement.


In 1985, Frédéric Jaeger, artist, sculptor, and painter, was commissioned by Yves Bienaimé, founder of the Museum of the Living Horse at the Grandes Ecuries of Chantilly, the creation of a sculpture titled "La Fontaine aux chevaux". The work depicts three horses in a circular half-shell, one of which is arched. The artist noticed that several reproductions of his work or parts of it had been made without his permission. One of the disputed copies was exhibited in the gardens of the company Le potager des Princes, founded by Mr Bienaimé and located in Chantilly.

On 17 December 2008, the Paris Court of Appeal recognised the infringing nature of the reproduction on display. In a letter dated 5 May 2020, Mr Jaeger tried unsuccessfully to reach an amicable settlement with Mr Bienaimé. On 5 March 2021, Mr Jaeger sought a temporary injunction against the founder and his company for copyright infringement.

In an order dated 9 November 2021, the judge of the Lille court ruled that possession of the disputed statue constituted a manifestly unlawful infringement of the artist’s copyright. The same court rejected the argument that Mr Jaeger’s action was time-barred. The defendants appealed.

In a decision dated 22 September 2022, the Court of Appeal declared that the artist's action was time-barred. Mr Jaeger then appealed to the French Cour de cassation. Read more

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