Protection of scientific work

The protection of scientific works is an important issue, particularly for scientists and researchers. Indeed, plagiarism or unauthorised reuse are the greatest risks: therefore, it is essential to think about protecting and defending your rights.

  1. How to protect my scientific work?

Scientific works can benefit from different types of protection depending on their degree of completion.

  • Patent law:

If the content of the work is sufficiently mature, a patent application may be filed.
A patent is a property right that protects a product or process that provides a new technical solution to a given technical problem.

An application must be filed with the French National Institute of Intellectual Property (INPI). Strict conditions must be fulfilled to benefit from this protection: novelty, inventive step, and industrial application.

Once registered, the patent grants a 20-year monopoly of use from the application date. To find out more about this point: patent protection.

However, it should be noted that pure scientific discoveries and theories cannot be patented. In addition, the procedure for obtaining a patent is expensive, time-consuming, and difficult.

  • Confidentiality:

This means keeping confidential and securing any unpatented process, manufacturing formula, scientific work, technical knowledge, documents, or technical elements.

There is no time limit, as long as the secret exists. However, it does not confer any exclusive right to the content of the secret.

In cases where the project will have to be disclosed to third parties, such as service providers or investors, for its implementation, then this disclosure should be legally secured with a non-disclosure agreement.

It is recommended that proof of anteriority of this work be provided in the event of a dispute, as with the service.

  • Copyright law:

Scientific works belong to the category of literary and scientific works. This may include writings, lectures, books, seminars, diagrams, etc.

Indeed, scientific works 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. Thus, the form of the work would be protected, not the scientific results, which still provides good protection against plagiarism.

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. Comment sécuriser mon secret et mes droits d’auteur avec le 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.

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.

In addition, certificates allow you to benefit from the right of prior personal possession. To find out more, we recommend our article on securing inventions with the certificate.

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