Table of Contents

    Intellectual property covers a vast area. Intellectual property rights are likely to cover names, visual signs, works of fine art, utilitarian creations, fashion creations, technical inventions, plants, websites, etc.

    Before doing anything else, you must determine which intellectual property right is likely to apply to a specific object. Each of these rights has a corresponding set of specific rules: the cases in which you have to request authorisation will be different, and the conditions for obtaining a patent will not be the same as for copyright. The same applies to the duration of protection, the formalities required, etc.

    The aim of this page is to help you determine which rights apply to what: copyright or patent? Trademark rights or design and model rights?

    Please note that these are just examples. Please contact an intellectual rights specialist if you have any doubts about the possible protection of a sign or a particular creation.

    Written literary creations

    • Novels, essays, poems, plays, newspaper articles, blog posts, travel guides, operating instructions, the title of a work, and any other written matter can be protected by copyright.

    Visual and audio-visual sector 

    • Drawings, paintings, sculptures, graphic designs, cartoons, video games, photographs, architectural works, illustrations, animated drawings, videos, films (fiction or documentaries), television series and works of contemporary art can be protected by copyright.
    • Logos and designs can be protected by copyright and/or by a trademark right and/or design and model rights.


    • Classical and popular musical works, operas, songs, the lyrics or texts of musical works, jingles, phone ring tones and music on MP3 and other digital formats, can be protected by copyright and related rights.
    • The performances of musicians and singers can be protected by related rights.


    • Choreography, plays, magic performances and musical performances can be protected by copyright.
    • Performances by dancers, actors, circus artists and other performers can be protected by related rights.


    Information providers (media) 

    Science and education 

    • Scientific publications, essays, statistical tables, syllabuses, educational material, PowerPoint presentations, online classes, etc. can be protected by copyright.

    IT and digital technology 


    • Computer programmes can be protected by copyright, and in certain cases (when the program involves the use of a technical invention) by patent rights.
    • Technical inventions, such as a new material or product, a more efficient machine, or a better production process can be protected by a patent.

    Chemistry and pharmaceuticals

    Biology and plants 

    • New varieties of plants can be protected by breeders' rights.
    • The specific properties of plants, particularly those that result from genetic modification, can be protected by a patent.
    • Bacteria or other genetically modified microorganisms can be protected by a patent.
    • The specific function of (human, animal or plant) genetic sequences can be protected by a patent.
    • Biotechnological inventions can be protected by a patent.

    Commercial signs 

    Last update
    23 February 2024