Trademark ownership is acquired by registration at the National Institute of Intellectual Property (INPI) for French trademarks, at the European Union Intellectual Property Office for European Union trademarks (EUIPO) and at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) for international trademarks, which may designate France or the European Union. The registration lasts for a 10-year period, which is renewable indefinitely.
Registration is granted following proceedings before the relevant office, where registrability of the trademark application is examined on absolute grounds and on relative grounds if an opposition is filed by a third party.
In some cases, trademark ownership can be acquired by use.
A trademark is a sign that serves to distinguish the goods or services of a natural or legal person. The trademark therefore has a function of identifying the origin of a product or a service. Indeed, “this is a sign that allows a manufacturer or to a trader to distinguish his goods or services [...] from those of his competitor”.2
A trademark may be constituted by denominations in all forms (such as words, combinations of words, surnames and geographical names, pseudonyms, letters, numerals, abbreviations), as well as audible signs such as sounds or musical phrases. Figurative signs can also be registered as trademarks, such as devices, labels, seals, reliefs, holograms, logos, synthesized images; shapes, particularly those of a product or its packaging, or those that identify a service; arrangements, combinations or shades of colour. For instance, the Paris Court of First Instance admitted the protection of a trademark consisting of the red sole of Louboutin shoes.3
The ownership of a trademark is conferred for the goods and services designated for the territory for which it is registered.
While civil trademark litigation is under the exclusive jurisdiction of nine specialised courts, criminal trademark litigation cases can be held before general criminal law courts. In both civil and criminal law cases, the jurisdiction will rule on the case and grant any appropriate remedies, which often include damages, injunctions not to use and publications. Also, the defendant may file any trademark invalidity or frivolous proceedings counterclaim in the same proceedings. Interlocutory proceedings may be sought before or during trademark proceedings on the merits.
II LEGAL FRAMEWORK
Most legislation about French trademark law is compiled in Book VII of the Intellectual Property Code (IPC), which includes the law of 4 January 1991 and the subsequent legal changes, notably following EU harmonisation as well as international treaties. For trademarks registered before 1991, the law of 31 January 1964 has to be applied.
EU trademark law is notably found in EU Regulations No. 2015/2424, No. 204/2009 and No. 2868/95 as well as Directive No. 2015/2436.
Also, France takes part in many international agreements related to trademarks, whose provisions may be applied by French courts directly. The main ones are:
- a Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) 1994, binding members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) to fixed minimum standards of protection;
- b the Paris Convention of 1883, which has partially harmonised trademark law and set the right of priority;
- c the Madrid Agreement, concluded in 1891, and its Protocol of 1989, which has established international trademarks, also called the Madrid System;
- d the Nice Agreement of 1957, which institutes an international classification of goods and services; and
- e the Singapore Treaty of 2006, which harmonises administrative trademarks registration procurements.
The National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI) is the French government agency responsible for industrial property, which notably delivers French trademarks and examines oppositions to the registration of the trademarks.4 It is also in charge of ensuring public information about French trademarks notably through its publication on BOPI as well as its internet trademark database.5 The decisions of the INPI can be appealed before specialised civil appeals courts.
The European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) is the agency responsible for intellectual property, which notably delivers European trademarks and examines oppositions to the registration of trademarks. It has an appeal board within its agency and this board’s decisions can be appealed before the European Court of Justice. EUIPO also delivers information about trademarks on its TMview database,6 and offers mediation services regarding intellectual property disputes.7
The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is the agency in charge of the administration of international trademarks, which are for each territorial designation examined by the corresponding territorial agency. WIPO is in charge of a database of international trademarks called ROMARIN.8
Company names are registered at the local commercial court where the company has been incorporated. There is no specific examination proceeding regarding the company name comparable to trademark registration proceedings. Research on company names can be performed on the website owned by commercial courts registries – Infogreffe.9
Moreover, this is an organism that gives access to information supports relating to trademarks. Recently, the importance of its activity related to anti-counterfeiting initiatives increased.
The French Network Information Centre (AFNIC) is the private entity that manages the registration of some domain name extensions, including .fr.10
iii Substantive law
Signs used in the course of business can be protected by French trademark law, specific international rules available to unregistered but well-known trademarks, unfair competition law (trade names, company names and domain names), geographical indications and specific rules that protect public local entities.
Entities may file for French or EU trademarks either through direct application or through the Madrid System, which has set international trademarks. EU and French provisions are very similar since European trademark law has been harmonised extensively. For both EU and French trademarks, absolute and relative conditions are required. Absolute conditions are those relevant to distinctiveness, lack of deceptiveness and graphic representation, while relative conditions are those relevant to third-party rights. Collective and certification trademarks are subject to additional requirements.
Thus, to be registered as a trademark, a sign has to be distinctive and so be able to identify the owner of the intellectual property right. According to the IPC, the following signs are deprived of any distinctive character:
- a signs or denominations which, in common or professional language, are exclusively the necessary, generic or usual designation of the product or service;
- b signs or names that may designate a characteristic of the product or service, including the type, quality, quantity, destination, value, geographical origin, time of production of the good or of the provision of the service; and
- c signs constituted exclusively by the form imposed by the nature or the function of the product, or conferring on the latter its substantial value.
Similar provisions are found in Article 7 of EU Regulation No. 204/2009.
However, a sign that would not be distinctive per se in regard of certain goods and services can become distinctive through the use prior to the application. For instance, the trademark ‘vente-privée.com’, which can be translated as ‘private-sales.com’ or ‘exclusive-outlet.com’, recently acquired distinctiveness through the proof of an intense use. The French Supreme Court stated that a significant part of the general public could identify the products and services as the ones of ‘vente-privée.com’.11
Also, the sign cannot be deceptive. Thus, a sign cannot be adopted as a trademark if ‘it is of such a nature to deceive the public, especially regarding the nature, the quality or the origin of the good or the service’, and if it is contrary to public policy and public morality. For instance, the Paris Appeals Court confirmed INPI’s rejection of the trademark application for Label Vert,12 since it refers to an environmental certification which would therefore be misleading.13
Moreover, under French law, and under EU law until 1 October 2017, the sign must be susceptible of a graphic representation as required by Article L. 711-1 of the French IPC and Article 4 of EU Regulation No. 204/2009. This condition is the reason olfactory or gustatory trademarks cannot be registered. Indeed, the requirement of the graphic representation is not fulfilled by a chemical composition, a description or a sample.14
Finally, the trademark cannot harm third-party rights, notably on their prior trademarks, name or geographical indications.
The validity of simple French collective trademarks is subject to filing regulations for their use.15 For instance, in a case opposing The Ritz Hotel to a collective trademark owner, the Paris Appeals Court has held as valid the collective trademark ‘Palace’ for tourist services other than hotel services, taking into account that regulations of use were filed.16 A collective trademark can only be filed by an entity that is not a manufacturer, importer or seller of the goods of services.
French certification for collective trademarks requires a regulation that sets the characteristics regarding the nature, properties or qualities required on the goods or services. Furthermore, the assignment of such certification trademarks is regulated.
EU collective trademarks are also subject to the requirement of filing a regulation specifying how the trademark can be used. Also, as an exception, EU Collective trademarks may be valid even if the sign can be used to designate the geographical origin of goods or services.
EU certification trademarks are available as from 1 October 2017.
Well-known unregistered trademarks – Paris Convention
Article 6 bis of the Union of Paris Convention offers a national protection to unregistered trademarks that are well known.17 These trademarks have to be ‘known by a large portion of the public’.
General civil liability protection of trade names, company names and domain names
Under the general rules of civil liability, trade names, company names and domain names can be protected and opposed to subsequent users or to trademark applicants.
A company name can be protected as soon as the company is registered with the Trade and Companies Register. The scope of protection is limited to the company’s activity.18
Protection of trade names may be generated through a personal and public use to identify a business. Protection is available even if the trade name has not been filed at the Trade and Companies Register.
French law and practice ensures protection of domain names through the general rules of civil liability.
For a long time, geographical indications have been protected by French law, first nationally and subsequently on an EU level. Initially, geographical indications aimed to protect agricultural products. Manufactured goods are now also eligible for protection.
Name and image of local public entities
Since 2015, local public entities may oppose their rights to their image and name. Such entities may also benefit from watch services from the INPI to facilitate filing oppositions to trademark registrations.
III REGISTRATION OF MARKS
i Inherent registrability
A French trademark application may be filed by one or more legal or natural persons, by a French person, or by a foreigner if he or she is a beneficiary of the CUP, or a national of a WTO Member State, or domiciled in France. Similar requirements are found for EU trademarks. The application can be made by the applicant himself or by a qualified representative (which is mandatory when the trademark is registered on behalf of several persons or when the applicant is neither established nor domiciled in France, not in a Member State of the European Union nor in an EEA country). The applicant has to provide a model of the trademark and must enumerate the goods and services covered by it. The application provides a national number recorded on the receipt or notified to the applicant. This publication allows third parties to make observations during a period of two months following it and, if necessary, to file an opposition.
INPI and EUIPO examine only absolute grounds for refusal, performing an assessment of the sign and the designated goods and services.
INPI does not search for previous potentially conflicting trademarks.
It is possible to modify or withdraw, totally or partially, the application until EUIPO starts to make the technical arrangements for registration. Such requests must be in writing.
Before the European Trademark Office, the procedure is quite similar: the first step is a verification of the formal compliance of the application with the Regulation, then the list of goods and services is sent to the Translation Centre in Luxembourg. If it has been requested, a research report can be drafted about potentially conflicting trademarks; such a request can also cover national marks, in which case it is transmitted to the required national trademark office. All reports are then sent to the applicant before the office considers absolute grounds of refusal. Afterwards, the application is published in the European Bulletin. Oppositions can be filed within three months of publication.
Once an application is filed, the owner receives a six-month priority right to make other applications in Europe or abroad, while keeping the initial application date.
For both French and EU trademarks, registration takes effect from the date of filing of the application for a period of 10 years, which is renewable indefinitely.
The renewal of French trademarks must be made within a period of six months, expiring on the last day of the month in which the period of protection ends. However, the declaration can still be made within a further period of six months from the day following the last day of the month in which the protection expires, but a supplemental fee has to be paid.
EU trademarks may be renewed six months before their expiry date, and also benefit from a six-month grace deadline, subject to payment of a fee (an additional 25 per cent).
The charges for an application at INPI of up to three classes of goods or services are €250 for a paper-based application, or €210 for an internet-based application. There is an additional cost of €42 per class if the applicant chooses to apply for more than three classes. Renewal fees are the same as filing fees.
Charges for an EU regular trademark application designating one class are €1,000 for a paper application and €850 for an electronic application; an additional €50 is charged for a second class and €150 for all subsequent classes. Renewal fees are the same as filing fees.
ii Prior rights
Article L. 711-4 of the French IPC establishes an open list of rights that may constitute a prior right to trademark,19 which are the following: trademarks registered or well-known, company names, trade names, geographical indications, copyrights, industrial designs, personality right of a third party (especially his or family name, pseudonym or his or her image), and the name, image and reputation of a local public entity.
The prior right assessment depends on the right invoked. For prior trademarks, company names and trade names, it will be the likelihood of confusion between the signs at stake; for famous or well-known signs, name, image and reputation of a local public entity, it will be an assessment of the harm to the prior sign. Also, regarding personality rights and domain names, it can be an assessment based on civil liability and therefore more generally on the harm to the prior right.
iii Inter partes proceedings
Third parties may file their opposition within two months of the publication. There is no possible extension of this deadline. Opposition proceedings are available to:
- a the owner of a trademark that has been registered or applied for earlier on;
- b the owner of a well-known trademark;
- c the owner of a trademark that has an earlier priority date;
- d an exclusive licensee;
- e the director of the agency in charge of the indications of origins and geographical indication; and
- f local public entities.
As of May 2016, all oppositions have to be filed online on INPI’s website. The opposition is notified to the applicant. The applicant has at least two months to present counter-observations. If the applicant fails to do so, the Office will make a decision on the matter. In the case of proper compliance by the applicant, the Office shall issue the draft of a decision, which will be communicated to both parties, who will both have the opportunity to present their observations. If the draft is not contested, it will be adopted as a decision. During opposition proceedings, the applicant may request evidence of use of the prior trademark if it has been registered for more than five years. The INPI fee for filing an opposition is €325. The opposition may be filed by the right holder or by appointed counsel.
Opposition proceedings are also available against EU trademark applications and must be filed within three months of the publication of the application. The opposition fee is €320. After the opposition is declared admissible, there is a ‘cooling-off’ period during which the parties are given the opportunity to terminate the proceedings. Afterwards, parties are each given two months to communicate their arguments on the case; there can be several exchanges of briefs. EUIPO will then make a decision about the opposition.
If an EU opposition succeeds, the applicant will have to pay the other party’s costs (roughly €650); if it fails, the opponent will have to bear the costs (roughly €300). In the case of only partial loss, the costs will be shared. There are no such provisions regarding French trademarks.
Trademarks can be challenged by invalidity actions before a court specialised in trademark law that has territorial jurisdiction on the case. If the trademark is not distinctive, if it is deceptive, contrary to public policy and public morals, or if it cannot be represented graphically, any interested party can request its invalidation. However, if the trademark infringes a prior right (trade name, surname, copyright), only the holder of the prior right can initiate an action.
Infringement actions based on prior rights, whether copyright or trademark as well as civil liability actions (i.e., rights on a corporate name), can also be brought against a trademark before a specialised court and lead to its invalidation.
Trademark property claims
Trademark ownership may be claimed by a party who considers that the trademark has been applied for fraudulently.
Judicial first instance proceedings usually last nine to 18 months. The court fees are a few hundred euros.
An appeal against a ruling from INPI rejecting a trademark may be lodged within one month of the ruling before the specialised appeals court that has jurisdiction on the territory where the claimant resides. The deadline is extended by a month if the appellant resides outside Metropolitan France20 and by two months if the appellant resides outside France. These proceedings usually last four to 12 months.
IV CIVIL LITIGATION
Civil actions and applications related to trademarks, including those with issue of unfair competition, shall be brought exclusively before the specialised courts of first instance, which currently are: Bordeaux, Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Nanterre, Nancy, Paris, Rennes, Strasbourg and Fort-de-France.
Litigation based on unfair competition law shall be brought before commercial courts only if both parties are merchants, and before civil courts if one of them is not a merchant.
ii Pre-action conduct
Since 2015, it has been mandatory to prove that an attempt has been made to reach an amicable solution before beginning a proceeding, or to justify due cause for not fulfilling this obligation.
Under French law and practice, several alternative dispute resolution methods are often used. Many cases are settled before any legal action starts and such settlement may prohibit subsequent legal proceedings. Mediation is another kind of alternative dispute resolution. More and more courts nominate mediators during commercial law proceedings. Arbitration proceedings are also regularly used, since Paris has several arbitration courts.
However, through these alternative ways it is not possible to obtain the revocation of a trademark (or the nullity of any intellectual property right for that matter). The decisions rendered are enforceable inter partes only, as opposed to judicial decisions that are enforceable erga omnes. Nonetheless these procedures may ensure confidentiality as well as an outcome that may be applicable around the world.
Should an amicable outcome not be possible, the party that wishes to initiate proceedings needs to gather all evidence to show its rights and how they are harmed. To do so, the plaintiff may seek to initiate seizure proceedings, which are available to a party after a judge issues a court order specifying the date, place and type of seizure (either a mere description or the judge can also allow the seizure of samples, devices involved in the infringing process, or any documentation pertaining to the infringing activity). A bailiff conducts the seizure; he or she can be assisted by experts (in software, a trademark and patent attorney, a locksmith, etc.) who cannot, under any circumstances, dictate any part of the report at risk of seeing the entire procedure cancelled (the courts are extremely strict on that point). Proceedings must be initiated within 20 working days or 31 calendar days of the seizure.
iii Causes of action
Trademark infringement is the most common cause of action. It involves opposing trademark rights to undertakings that use the protected sign for identical or similar goods or services. It is required to establish likelihood of confusion when the signs, goods or services are not identical.
Unfair competition law
Unfair competition regulated by civil liability provisions is often used either as an additional claim or as a subsidiary claim. It can cover many types of conduct, notably disparagement, which means spreading pejorative and malicious information about a person, a company, or a competitor’s products. Unfair competition law also prohibits generating confusion in customers’ minds between companies or their products. This is the behaviour by which an economic agent interferes in the activity of another in order to profit, without spending anything, from its efforts, investments and know-how. Most case law in the digital arena, notably on domain names and the look and feel of web pages, is based on these general civil law rules.
Family or corporate names
Disputes related to conflict between trademarks and family names or surnames are common. They can be based on trademark law to oppose the registration of trademarks that may harm family or corporate names, as well as on civil liability or rights of personality. In practice, many court cases involve contract law. In the famous Bordas case,21 the Supreme Court ruled that inalienability and imprescriptibility of a patronymic name are not obstacles to the conclusion of an agreement related to the use of the patronymic name as a trade name. The Ducasse case gave additional details.22 The Supreme Court ruled that the consent given by a partner, whose name is well known, to the insertion of his surname in the denomination of a company that has an activity in the same area, would not, without his or her agreement and in the absence of renunciation to his or her property rights, allow the company to register this surname as a trademark in order to designate the same goods or services. More recently, the Supreme Court held that an individual agreement to use a name was a contract performed successively. Therefore, even if the agreement did not include any term, that term is not qualified as a perpetual contract. Hence, it constitutes a contract of an undetermined period that each party can terminate at any time, with fair notice.23
iv Conduct of proceedings
Communication of evidence can be requested to the judge before legal proceedings are initiated, notably with seizure proceedings or, once they are pending, presenting a petition to the judge in charge of the case management. It enables the right holder to take the full measure of the extent of the infringement both in terms of network (producers, distributors, and all parties involved in between) and quantity (of goods, benefits made, etc.). The time frame of gathering such evidence varies from half a day to a couple of months. Moreover, the owner of a trademark can request customs seizures, and follow up with civil or criminal law proceedings.
Judicial proceedings start with the filing of a complaint that has been served to the defendant and then filed at court. According to the Paris Bar and Paris Court agreement, for proceedings on the merits, there should be a total of four briefs, including the complaint. An argument or an element of fact not referred to in these writings cannot be taken into account by the court. The defendant is the one who responds last. The case is heard at final oral pleadings, by one to three professional judges, and the ruling is issued a couple of weeks later.
First instance disputes related to trademark proceedings, such as infringement, dilution, invalidity or unfair competition claims, last nine to 12 months.
An appeal can be lodged within the shortest of the following deadlines: one month after the notification of the ruling for French residents (two months for persons located in France but outside Metropolitan France and three months for foreign residents); or two years after the date of the ruling.
Urgent proceedings and interlocutory proceedings may take a couple of days or weeks. They start with a written complaint served to the defendant and then filed at court. Urgent proceedings are by nature oral but parties often file briefs ahead of the oral pleadings to support their final oral argument. The deadline to appeal against interlocutory proceedings is either two years after the ruling or 15 days after notification of the ruling for French residents; one month and 15 days for persons located in France but outside Metropolitan France; and two months and 15 days for foreign residents.
Appellate proceedings take between one and two years.
The losing party can be ordered to pay the other party’s court fees and all other costs.
In any of these proceedings representation by a lawyer is mandatory; however, proceedings before the commercial court (which may have jurisdiction in cases about company names or trade names not involving trademark law) do not require representation by a lawyer.
In civil proceedings, courts may order several remedies for infringement, often granted with the benefit of immediate execution and therefore enforceable even if appellate proceedings are filed. The most usual are financial compensation or a prohibition order. Courts may also grant the confiscation or destruction of counterfeiting goods and their means of production, the publication of the judgment, and more generally, the award of damages based on the negative economic consequences of counterfeiting, including losses incurred and lost profits, moral damage, and the profit made by the counterfeiter. However, the injured party can request a lump sum as damages, which exceeds the amount of the royalties or fees that would have been paid if the infringer had applied for authorisation to use the infringed right. This lump sum is not exclusive of compensation for the moral damage caused to the injured party.24
V OTHER ENFORCEMENT PROCEEDINGS
In practice, most cases are heard before civil courts. However, trademark infringement proceedings may be initiated by the owner, the public prosecutor or the custom authorities since trademark infringement is also a criminal law tort. In particular, the IPC provides that trademark infringement shall be punished by a prison term ranging from three to five years (depending on the type of conduct) and by fines ranging from €300,000 to €500,000. A trademark infringement case is heard before the general criminal law court after an investigation by customs, the police or a judge. These proceedings may be a very helpful deterrent and enable the trademark owner to find infringement networks. However, the case may last a couple of years longer and the allocated damages and legal fees may be considerably lower.
Customs proceedings are also very commonly used. The EU regulation on the matter (Regulation No. 608/2013 of the European Parliament of the Council of 12 June 2013 concerning customs enforcement of intellectual property rights and repealing Council Regulation (EC) No. 1383/2003) and national law (Customs Code) allow – for both French and EU trademarks – detention or seizure of counterfeit goods. The right holder and the exclusive authorised licensees can submit those applications. Custom authorities can also proceed spontaneously.
While the regulation is applied at the external borders of the EU, French legislation is applicable to commerce between Member States. If such counterfeit goods are found by customs authorities, and following the notice, the decision holder has 10 days to inform the customs authorities that he or she is engaged in legal proceedings, otherwise the customs authorities would have to release the goods.
VI RECENT AND PENDING CASES
The Appeals Court of Paris held an important ruling that should be kept in mind in any settlement negotiations. In its ruling, the Court prohibited combining an infringement action with an action in breach of a settlement agreement, due to the prohibition of liabilities aggregation and the pre-eminence of contractual liability.25
On 8 June 2017, the Supreme Court ruled on trademark distinctiveness and notably held that the appeals court should have taken into account whether the word trademark ‘Rent A Car’ had acquired distinctiveness, and that the lower court should have assessed whether there was harm to the company name and trade name ‘Rent A Car’.26
The effect of Brexit on EU trademarks is a major concern for right owners who will probably need to find yet reliable cost-effective ways to secure their rights in both the EU and the UK.
The implementation of the ‘trademark package’ also raises many questions about trademark invalidity jurisdictions in the coming years and how such proceedings will be handled in conjunction with infringement proceedings. Currently the decision is at a political stage.
There is currently abundant case law on the statute of limitation to seek the invalidation of trademark rights.
Finally, on a more international level, companies and practitioners will, in the coming months, be carefully reading the WTO decision on plain packaging in the case Australia – Tobacco Plain Packaging (Ukraine), in which Ukraine challenged Australia to determine whether measures concerning trademarks and packaging requirements may infringe international commercial law.27
1 Catherine Mateu is a partner at Armengaud-Guerlain.
2 Nicolas Binctin, Droit de la Propriété Intellectuelle: Droit d’auteur, brevet, droits voisins, marque, dessins et modèles, 4e edition, LGDJ, 2016, p. 451.
3 Tribunale de Grande Instance de Paris, 3rd Chamber, 16 March 2017, RG 2015/11131.
4 Article L. 712-4 IPC.
5 See: https://www.inpi.fr/fr/base-marques.
7 See: https://euipo.europa.eu/ohimportal/en/mediation.
9 See: https://www.infogreffe.com/.
10 See: https://www.afnic.fr/en/.
11 Cour de cassation, Chambre commerciale (Cass.com.), 6 December 2016, No. 15-19.048.
12 Green Label.
13 Pole 5, Chamber 1, 14 February 12017, Case No. 16/04876.
14 CJCE, 12 December 2002, C-273/00, Sieckmann.
15 Cass.com., 29 June 1999, Bull. 1999 IV, No. 145, p. 120.
16 Pole 5, Chamber 1, 13 January 2015, Case No. 2013/12820.
17 Cass.com., 20 March 2012, Case No. 2011/10514.
18 Cass.com., 24 February 2005, Case No. 2003/14668.
19 Appeals Court of Paris, Pole 5, Chamber 2, 23 November 2012, Case No. 2011/16558.
20 French territory included in Europe, that is to say continental France and Corsica as opposed to other territories, such as the islands of New Caledonia, la Réunion or Martinique.
21 Cass.com., 12 March 1985, Case No. 84-17163.
22 Cass.com., 6 May 2003, Case No. 00-18192.
23 Cass.com., 8 February 2017, Case No. 14-28.232.
24 Article L.716-14 of the IPC.
25 Pole 5, Chamber 1, 28 March 2017, Case No. 2015/07837.
26 Cass.com., 18 June 2017, Case No. 15-22.792.
27 Case DS434: Australia – Certain Measures Concerning Trademarks and Other Plain Packaging Requirements Applicable to Tobacco Products and Packaging. See: https://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/dispu_e/cases_e/ds434_e.htm.