Trademark law

A trademark often represents the company’s image and is at the centre of its marketing strategy. When properly exploited, it can have a high economic value. It is thus important to secure it.

  1. What is a trademark?

A trademark is a type of creation that can be protected under trademark law, a branch of intellectual property. The French Intellectual Property Code defines a trademark as ” a sign used to distinguish the goods or services of a natural or legal person from those of other natural or legal persons”. (Article L711-1 of the IPC)

It can have various forms: the most classic form being a name designating goods or services, i.e., textual trademarks. (For more details on the types of trademarks, see our advanced legal fact sheet: What is a trademark?)

It distinguishes goods and services from those of competitors and provides the trademark owner with a monopoly of exploitation for the goods and services designated in the application.

Indeed, the acquisition of a trademark is not automatic. A trademark must be registered with the French National Institute of Intellectual Property (INPI) and must meet several criteria: it must be capable of being displayed on the national trademark register, it must be distinctive (not descriptive, generic, or usual), it must not be misleading, it must not be contrary to public policy or morality, and, above all, it must be available (it must not infringe on prior rights).
Once registered, a trademark is valid for 10 years and can be renewed indefinitely.

However, securing a trademark can be a long road. It is advisable to be accompanied in its elaboration and registration so that everything goes smoothly, as the rejection of a trademark application is not reimbursed by the INPI.

  1. What is the difference with the anteriority certificate? does not currently offer trademark registration. However, the anteriority certificate enables you to prove that your creations existed at a certain date and that you are the author, notably through obtaining a qualified electronic timestamp and the intervention of a Bailiff (depending on the offer selected). This type of service is important, for example, for creations that are subject to copyright law, another branch of intellectual property.

This differs from trademark law in that, as long as your creations are original and tangible, they are protected by copyright law simply by their existence, without the need for registration.

While such protection is also applicable to a logo (see our “Logo Protection: Trademark or Copyright?” section), it does not allow you to obtain exclusivity over a name intended to designate products or services. In this second case, trademark registration is essential.

Not sure how to protect your creation? Use our online form to determine which rights apply to your project and obtain the corresponding documentation.

In many cases, it is essential to obtain a proof of anteriority to be able to prove that you are the author of your creation at a certain date, particularly in the event of a theft or future challenge by a competitor. The anteriority certificate provides indisputable proof of anteriority through the intervention of a Bailiff (depending on the offer selected), along with the qualified electronic timestamp which provides probative value, including internationally.

See our articles on trademarks:

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