Protection of a handcrafted creation

The protection of handcrafted creations is an important issue, especially for artisans. Indeed, plagiarism is the greatest risk: it is, therefore, essential to think about protecting and defending your rights.

1) How to protect my handcrafted creation?

Handcrafted creations belong to the category of aesthetic creations. This may concern, for example, pottery, painting, art, sculpture, fashion, jewellery, or objects whose design is handmade.

  • Preliminary clarification: protection of the name of a creation or collection of creations:

It is possible to protect the name of a creation, collection of creations, the shop/workshop, or the craftsperson, and/or the associated logo as a trademark. A trademark is a sign that distinguishes a company’s products and services dfrom those of competitors.

Trademark law grants a monopoly of exploitation of the trademark for the goods and services designated by the applicant. To be protected as a trademark, the name or logo must be registered with the French National Institute of Intellectual Property (INPI). The trademark must meet the conditions of distinctiveness, availability, and lawfulness. Protection is valid for 10 years and can be renewed indefinitely.

To find out more: trademark law.

  • Designs :

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. 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:

Indeed, works of artisanship 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 anteriority proof, such as the certificate.

2) 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, or to secure a secret in a situation where the creation cannot be disclosed.

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.

For this type of creation, it is possible to submit photos representing the creation from all angles, but also drawings describing the creation in its design.

The anteriority certificate 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.

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