Law on designs and models

Advice on design law

LEGRAND LESAGE-CATEL specialist lawyers act in accordance with the legal process set up under French and EU law covering designs and models, be they applied for and registered, or benefit from protection without registration under EU procedures.

Pursuant to Article L. 511-1 of the French Code of Intellectual Property, “Protection may be afforded in respect of a design or model of the appearance of a product or part of a product as characterised in particular by its lines, contours, colours, form, textures or materials; these characteristics may be those of the product itself or its ornamentation.”

The model must, pursuant to Article L. 511-2, “be novel and present a distinctive character.”

EU law covering designs and models takes into consideration their novelty and individual character.

National or EU law determines title to, and the term and limits of protection in regard to certain uses that it is sought to protect. However the scope of protection frequently requires clarification by complex research and analysis that takes into consideration a wealth of case law.

Advisory services

Prior to any legal proceedings, LEGRAND LESAGE-CATEL advises companies and individuals in the following areas.

  • Protection:
    Is the model protectable? What searches are required? What are the consequences of disclosure? Should a model be registered? Or is protection available without registration under droit d’auteur or copyright? Does the law on unfair competition afford projection? What should be registered? In whose name? How and where? What costs, timeframes and avenues of legal recourse?
  • Exploitation:
    Which contracts of exploitation to sign? What provision for guarantees or warranties? What publicity is required? How claim rights of intellectual property at times of sale, assignation, or conveyance of corporate assets, or of company merger-acquisitions?

All these issues and many more require study by specialist lawyers.


LEGRAND LESAGE-CATEL lawyers are extensively involved in litigation under French and EU law governing designs and models.

Legal title, the validity and infringement thereof, as well as the difficulties arising (among others) from breaches of the law and non-payment of licence fees, frequently give rise to negotiation and to numerous legal disputes requiring assistance from specialist lawyers.

Legal proceedings may take the form of actions for voidance raised before French or EU courts.

Infringement actions are a field of predilection for LEGRAND LESAGE-CATEL lawyers, whether acting for plaintiffs or defendants by initiating appropriate procedures (court-ordered confiscation, confirmation of evidence of infringement or prejudice suffered, pecuniary valuations, disputed claims …).

Creative work in the fields of the applied arts, tableware, jewellery, fashion and clothing may draw on the protection afforded by law to designs and models. This is a field of special interest to LEGRAND LESAGE-CATEL lawyers.

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