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Non-Patentable Innovations: How to Protect Them

Home > Intellectual Property in France | Published 2015-07-07

Some inventions are not eligible for patents because they do not meet the standards for patentable inventions, which require the invention to be new, inventive, and capable of industrial application. However, these inventions do benefit from the same legal protection under intellectual property laws. Picovschi Lawyers will discuss this below.

What innovations cannot be patented?

The INPI (National Institute of Intellectual Property) lists several inventions which are not eligible for patent-protections, including:

  • Ideas
  • Discoveries, scientific theories, and mathematical methods
  • Aesthetic and ornamental creations, i.e. umbrella fabric patterns (the opening function itself is technical and can be patented)
  • Schemes, rules, and methods, i.e. a language learning method, game rules, an accounting method, a business method…
  • A solitary computer program
  • Plant varieties (there is, however, a certificate that offers protections)
  • Animal breeds
  • Essentially biological processes involving breeding plants or animals
  • Inventions that violate public order or morality
  • Processes for cloning or genetically modifying humans
  • The use of embryos for industrial purposes
  • The human gene sequences themselves.

What types of protections are available?

These inventions, while not patentable, are nevertheless creations that demonstrate originality and that are likely to generate economic activity. Because these inventions undeniably have commercial and economic value, intellectual property law has provisions that offer them protections even though they cannot be patented.

You can apply for copyright protections. The intellectual property code offers copyright protections to any original work of the mind.

From a business perspective, it is also possible to take advantage of protections offered to “distinctive signs.” These include trademarks, commercial names, signs, etc…

Trademark law has a range of means of protecting your innovation. Moreover, using the “distinctive signs” protections also offers you protections against unfair competition.

Another option: registering the design with INPI as something new and with its own character, as laid out in the intellectual property code.

There are, however, some projects that cannot claim protections under the intellectual property code. In these cases, it might still be possible to pursue legal action under unfair competition.

A skilled intellectual property and competition lawyer is a major asset if you want to protect your creations and innovations. Picovschi Lawyers will advise you and defend your best interests should litigation arise.

This article is available online for public information purposes. It is updated regularly, as needed. Due to the constant evolution of the laws and the legal system, we cannot guarantee that the information in this article is still applicable. We invite you to contact us with any legal questions or concerns you have regarding this topic at +33 1 56 79 11 00. In no way can this firm be held liable for articles that contain inaccuracies or are now out of date.

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