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What is it ?

La propriété intellectuelle regroupe des droits de différentes natures :

  • literary and artistic property – commonly known as copyright – which protects so-called original creations, regardless of any artistic merit and any legal deposit;
  • industrial property – which includes trademarks, designs, patents and domain names – requiring specific registration with dedicated governmental Offices.Intellectual property gives its owner an exclusive right, allowing him to:
  • conclude contracts for the exploitation of his rights in the form of licenses or assignments;
  • in the event of infringements, to prohibit any recovery or imitation of its right without its consent by means of amicable or contentious actions, in particular for infringement.



Copyright protects art works in the broad sense, by covering in particular graphic, audiovisual, plastic, musical creations, those of applied art, fashion, as well as software.

The copyright includes:

  • imprescriptible moral rights, recognizing in particular the author’s right to paternity and to the integrity of his work;
  • economic rights transferable to heirs, giving the author a monopoly of economic exploitation over the work for a period equal to the author’s lifetime and 70 years after his death.

When these rights expire, the works fall into the public domain and may be used freely, subject to respect for the moral rights of the author.



Legally, a trademark is a sign that allows a company to distinguish its products or services from those of the competition.

It must meet certain criteria, in particular that of distinctiveness and availability.

Brands can take the most varied forms such as a word, a logo, a slogan, numbers, a design, a jingle, a short video …

The mark protects a specific geographical area and, to be effective, must be registered with a dedicated local body – in France, the INPI – and cover specific products and services.

The term of protection is 10 years from the date of filing, renewable indefinitely



A design protects the appearance of an industrial or artisanal product such as its lines, contours, colors, shapes, textures.

To benefit from this protection, the design must meet certain conditions, including that of novelty and its own / individual character, and be the subject of local registration with the authorized bodies.

A registered design is protected for a period of 5 years, renewable every 5 years for a maximum period of 25 years (in France and in the EU at least).

Note that the protection by law of designs can be combined with that of literary and artistic creations.



A patent is a title which protects a technical invention and confers to its holder an exclusive local right to exploit the patented invention for a maximum period of 20 years from its filing.

To be patentable an invention must meet several criteria including novelty, inventive step and industrial applicability.

Like all industrial property rights, the patent must be filed with a dedicated local body.


Domain names

The domain name makes it possible to identify a website, hosting or presenting the activities of a company or an individual.

There are classically 4 types of 1st level domains:

  • national top level domains (ccTLDs) composed of 2 letters identifying an independent country or territory;

  • generic top-level domains (gTLDs) composed of 3 or more letters generally identifying a sector of activity;

  • new generic top-level domains (new gTLDs) composed of generic terms generally identifying a type of activity;

  • new corporate top-level domains reserved for companies or organizations wishing to acquire their own name / brand as an extension (CorpTLD).

Domain names must be registered with an authorized body known as a registrar, for a minimum period of one year, that can be further extended.


Marchais & Associés

4 rue du Général Lanrezac 75017 Paris
Phone: (33) 01 56 59 76 76
Fax: (33) 01 56 59 76 75

E-mail: info@marchais.com

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