France

French design law was modified by a decree of July 25 2001, which implemented the EU Designs Directive (98/71/EC). Under the doctrine of l’unité de l’art, designs and models are cumulatively protected in France under both copyright (Articles L111-3 and following of the IP Code) and design law (Articles L511.1 and following of the code). Although the conditions for protection under the two regimes are different (‘originality’ for copyright and ‘novelty and individual character’ for design law), the French courts usually considered that a registered design was eligible for protection under both copyright and design law when it was demonstrated that the design was new and benefited from an individual character, thus characterising the author’s personality and enabling copyright protection.

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