Uniquely French as a nominally distinct document type
In terms of administrative phraseology, the “certificat d’addition”, as a nominally distinct type of document, may be unique to the administrative culture of France. Other nations have similarly filed patents, specifically making reference to earlier patents upon which they are building, and the degree to which they are called “additions” will vary, but these additions have no different document type name, and they are numbered in the ordinary manner as they fall within the flow of patents filed with the appropriate national patent office.
Within the French system(s) of patent registration and documentation, a “certificat d’addition”, almost invariably abbreviated as “cert d’addition”, or even “cert d’add”, is a patent registered in a manner specifically and formally treating it as an addition to some parent patent. Original documents show both the earlier number and a new number, which will be invariably and conspicuously lower than the number of the parent patent and conspicuously lower than the numbers given to new patents filed near its point in time. In cases in which we discover a patent solely by way of such catalogues as the Bulletin Officiel de la propriété industrielle & commerciale or the French Catalogue des Brevets d'Invention we may only have access to the initial parent patent number. When a French patent is included within Espacenet, it will be primarily searchable by way of the added number, though the principle number will be prominently on the original document itself. Diagram pages may show either number, rarely or never both.
In the cases of French patents, these “certs d’addition”, will be a key instance of our using the “Supplementary to patent” field. There are other instances, in which a new registration isn't necessarily an addition to an earlier patent, per se, but still makes reference. References are also made to equivalent patents filed earlier in other nations. This usually refers to the internationally significant priority date.
The phrase “cert d’add” will occasionally be found within the patent's “title”, particularly within the antique catalogues.
Again, this distinction in terms of document type seems to be almost purely “nominal”. Legally, and internationally, these documents are equal to patents, with their filing dates used as points of reference, both nationally and internationally. A later certificate of addition, or on occasion another patent altogether, may refer to one of these. A patent filed outside of France may refer to one of these, usually by filing date. Technically, and semantically, within the French system, a “certificat d'addition” differs from a “brevet”. This may be a matter of mere semantics, but it is to be noted when comparing analogous protocols internationally. It affects the manner of our using antique sources, again, with the catalogues and so forth generally only giving the number of the initial “brevet”.
Semi-analogous procedures within other national systems
Belgium also uses the term "brevet", equaling “patent”, as in the case of France, but rather than distinguishing between the "brevet" and any equivalent to the "certificat d'addition", as such and as technically another type of document, the Belgian system has three types of "brevet", one being the "invention", another being the "importation", and another being the "perfectionnement". These "improvements" are invariably associated with preceding "inventions", but each "perfectionnement" will have its new number, a number falling logically relative to the numbers of the other patents filed in the surrounding days, weeks, and so forth, whereas an array of French brevets numbered as 3__,___ will be aligned with an array of additions numbered as 2_,___ or 3_,___. Thusly, these protocols are imperfectly analogous.
Great Britain, for instance, along with Hungary, and Austria, likewise have patents which are noted as additions to earlier patents, though also, like Belgium, they do not treat the later patent as a nominally different type of document. The British phenomenon of the Provisional Specification represents an entirely separate point of view and manner of timing and documentation.
Additions within the system of the United States are only odd in that they may be comparatively rare, for one thing, and in that references from one American patent to another may generally be buried within the text, and in that reference is made to the filing date, and to the serial number (as opposed to the patent number), of the "parent patent" in question.
It may be that all nations we are studying have some means of treating later inventions which are considered as improvements to be associated with specific, and earlier, patents, filed within the same nation. At present, France seems to be unique in semantically treating the successor documents as a separate type of document.
Format on this site
We are working towards a standardized titling of French additions, using the title of the original patent followed by a period and then the number of the addition, viz.
It is hoped that this system will clarify the relationship of patent groups, while avoiding the confusion arising from the second series of numbers used for additions.
An addition should have its own filing year in the page title, not the parent patent's filing year, e.g.: