Protection of a design

The protection of designs is an important issue, particularly for artistic designers but also in industry. Indeed, plagiarism is the greatest risk: therefore, it is essential to consider the protection and the defence of your rights.

  1. How to protect my design?

Designs belong to the category of aesthetic creations. This can include furniture, packaging, interior design, the shape or aspect of an object or product, etc.

They can benefit from two types of protection: design rights and copyright.

  • Design law:

The aesthetic aspect of a craft creation can be protected by a design right. This right protects the appearance and ornamentation of an object, i.e., the lines, contours, colours, shapes, and textures.

This right arises through registration with the French National Institute of Intellectual Property (INPI). To benefit from this protection, strict conditions must be met: the creation must be new, have a distinctive, visible, and lawful character, and must not be dictated by technology.

After registration, the holder has a 5-year monopoly of exploitation from the date of filing, which can be extended to 25 years. It is an exclusive right which allows the holder to prohibit third parties from manufacturing, selling, or importing products incorporating the design, either in the form of an imitation or by using significant elements, and which allows infringement actions to be brought. To find out more about designs, see our detailed article.

However, many of the designs benefiting from design rights are already protected by copyright law. This is the theory of the unity of art: an object with a particular aesthetic, regardless of its use, benefits from copyright provided that it is original. See our article on the complementarity of these rights.

  • Copyright law:

Indeed, designs are considered to be intellectual works and are protected by copyright law, a branch of intellectual property. This right protects creations of all kinds (literary, musical, graphic, scientific, etc., except for ideas and concepts), regardless of their form, genre, merit, or purpose.

This protection is automatic: it arises from the mere fact of creation by the author. Copyright does not require registration with an intellectual property institution.

This right protects a work provided that it is original, i.e., that it bears the imprint of the author’s personality: his/her sensibility, his/her non-imposed choices, and his/her perception of the subject. The work must also be fixed, i.e., materialized.

This right confers an economic right on the work, opposable to all, which makes it possible to control its communication to the public and to prohibit or authorise the use of the work, in return for remuneration. It allows infringement proceedings to be brought. This exclusive right lasts until 70 years after the death of the author.

It also grants a moral right that allows one to oppose disclosure without consent, to oppose use that would distort the work, or request the mention of the author’s name. This moral right is perpetual.

However, as copyright arises automatically, it can be difficult to prove the date of creation or who the author is. It is therefore advisable to build up proof to be able to attest the date and ownership of the creation, using proof of anteriority, such as the certificate.

  1. How to secure my copyright with the service?

The certificate of anteriority enables you to prove that your creations existed at a certain date, and that you are the author. This type of service is important, as seen previously, for creations that depend on copyright.

It is, in fact, essential to obtain proof of anteriority to be able to prove that you are indeed the author of your creation at a certain date. This makes it easier to claim your copyright, particularly in the event of future copying or challenge by a competitor or in the event of a dispute over confidentiality.

The certificate of anteriority provides indisputable proof of anteriority, through the intervention of a Bailiff (depending on the offer selected), but also through the qualified electronic timestamp, which has evidential value, including internationally.

To apply for a certificate of anteriority, the process can be completed online. Please visit the following address: