A concept is above all an idea. Ideas cannot be legally protected. However, some concepts may have great value. The risk is that a competitor will copy the concept. However, how can a concept be secured? Even if an idea is not protectable, there are ways to secure it.
- Why is it difficult to protect a concept or an idea?
As mentioned above, a concept is an idea and ideas are not protectable under intellectual property law. Only the materialisation of an idea, i.e., the resulting creation, can qualify for legal protection.
Thus, once the concept has been materialised, each of its elements must be analysed and parts that can be protected by intellectual property law must be distinguished: a distinctive sign for trademark law, technical innovation for patent law, a creation for copyright law, a a design or model, a database…
There are many forms of protection available to ensure maximum security for specific elements of a concept Only an intellectual property right will provide an exclusive right.
However, it is difficult at the beginning to succeed in quickly concretising a concept, and some key components of the concept cannot be protected by intellectual property law until the finalization stage.
In the meantime, alternative tools exist such as time-stamped secrets, confidentiality agreements signed with any partner, appropriate contractual clauses in any contract, and above all, action against unfair competition. For more information on securing concepts, see our advanced factsheets on concepts.
Also, before any disclosure, the first step that will support these defensive methods will be dating the concept in a document that is kept secret,detailing the concept to demonstrate the originality of the idea, the investments, its economic potential, and its added value, and then filing the document with an institution that enables the constitution of proof of anteriority,such as the Copyright.eu service. It will no longer consist of a simple idea, but rather a more mature concept.
- How to secure my concept with the Copyright.eu service?
The Copyright.eu certificate of anteriority enables you to prove that your concept existed at a certain date and that you are the author.
This type of service allows you to establish proof of anteriority on a concept, and to anticipate the risk of a competitor taking over the concept after a business relationship (e.g., a former economic partner, supplier, etc.). The certificate of anteriority, which can be communicated along with a non-disclosure agreement, helps to ensure that collaborations in the context of a new concept launch can be approached more confidently.
Indeed, obtaining a Copyright.eu anteriority certificate will prove to be:
- Dissuasive concerning future partners/competitors, alongside contractualisation;
- Advantageous in the event of litigation for breach of confidentiality or the event of unfair competition, as it constitutes an element of proof.
Also, if the concept involves an innovation, the proof of anteriority allows you to benefit from the right of prior personal possession (see the page on inventions and prototypes) or, if it involves an original creation, it can be used to claim copyright. It could also help to build the commercial value of the concept.
The Copyright.eu certificate of anteriority provides indisputable proof of anteriority based on the intervention of a Bailiff, in addition to its qualified electronic timestamping providing legal force, including internationally.
See our articles on concepts:
- Definition of a concept
- Concept, limited protection?
- Protection of a concept by alternative means
- Unfair competition for the protection of a concept
- Examples of well-known cases on concept protection through unfair competition
To apply for a Copyright.eu anteriority certificate, the process can be completed online. Please visit the following address: https://www.copyright.eu/depot-copyright-en-ligne/fonctionnement/