Industrial property rights

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Industrial property is one of the two branches of intellectual property. The purpose of industrial property law is to protect inventions and industrial or commercial creative work. Industrial property has become a key economic and strategic tool for any economic player.

Industrial property: Definition

In France, industrial property rights guarantee their holder a monopoly on exploitation. Patents are for technical inventions, designs for aesthetic creations and trademarks or geographical indications for distinctive signs.

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Patents for technical inventions

Patents protect technical innovations. These rights cover two areas:

  • The inventor by giving exclusive rights on commercial exploitation on an invention, but for a limited period of 20 years.
  • The invention by permitting its disclosure, which will contribute to improving the technique.

To be protected by a patent, however, the invention must meet the following three conditions:

  • Be new: it must not have been made available to the general public before filing.
  • Be capable of industrial application: it should be able to be manufactured or used.
  • Be inventive: the technical step should not be obvious to people within the industry.

Protection of aesthetic creations

Design title for drawings and models protect the appearance of an industrial product and not its functionality. Protection can apply to the whole product or just part of it and could be. For example the design of a piece of furniture. It confers an exclusive right to operate in French territory for a minimum period of 5 years, which may be extended in five-year increments, up to a maximum of 25 years.

Trademark as distinctive signs

In industrial property law, a trademark is a distinctive sign and makes it possible to obtain a monopoly on exploitation in French territory for a period of 10 years, indefinitely renewable. Following are examples what may be registered as a trademark: word, name, slogan, numbers, letters, drawing, logo, or audible signal provided that it can be represented graphically, for example by a musical stave.

A geographical indication is used to determine the origin and quality of products. It can be used by all producers whose products originate from the designated place.

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