Generals & Patents

An idea or a concept cannot be protected as such.

Only the material embodiment of your idea or your concept can be protected.
You must not disclose your concept before examining the possibility of having it protected by one of the following titles of intellectual property:


  • The name of your concept can be protected as a mark. A mark is a distinctive sign enabling you to identify your goods or services resulting from the materialisation of your idea. For further information on marks, consult : Marks
  • Aesthetic creations resulting from your concept can be the subject of the filing of a design. A design can protect the appearance of a product or a visible part of a product, characterized by its lines, contours, colours, shape, texture or materials. For more on designs, consult: Designs
  • If the concept provides a particular technical solution to a technical problem, a device, a system, method, process or software will generally have been created when developing your concept and a patent application can then be envisaged. For more on patents, consult. Patents
  • In addition, original creations, such as information related to the concept, databases or software can be the subject of protection by copyright. For more on copyright, consult : Copyright.

It is also possible to obtain proof of creation by filing a sealed envelope called: Enveloppe Soleau. Caution: this envelope does not impart a property title but only proof of prior possession (proof that you designed or conceptualised the invention at a given date, without obtaining protection against copies). For further information, consult : The Enveloppe Soleau solution.

To avoid having to disclose whilst allowing collaborative assistance throughout the development of the concept:

It is possible to enter into a “confidentiality agreement” or a “preliminary secrecy agreement” with various partners (industrialists, scientists, financiers, sales technicians) who will collaborate in carrying through your project.

With this type of agreement, information can be exchanged with another person who is under an obligation of non-disclosure.

Should the other person make own use of the information transmitted, the agreement would incur his liability for failure to heed his obligations and the dispute can be submitted to the courts.

We are able to provide various services for such agreements or contracts.

You can find standard contracts in specialised legal books on sale in bookshops. The documentation centre at the intellectual property office provides the public with documentary resources containing legal works, specialised periodicals and encyclopaedias. These resources can be freely consulted at the French patent office library in Paris: bibliothèque de l’INPI.

Depending on the type of project you have in mind, one or more of these forms of protection should be envisaged.