How to protect a creation?
First, let’s keep in mind that intellectual property is divided into two main legal roots which are
2) Industrial property rights
Both of these rights can be used to protect a creation.
For example designs and software can be protected under copyright and industrial property law.
Second, it is important to underline the difference in protection that these two rights provide.
Concerning creations covered by industrial property rights, in principle, it is protected at the deposit time with an authorized body such as European Patent Office (EPO). The types of creation concerned by Industrial property law are brands, patents and designs. There is some exception where blockchain anchoring can be useful in order to protect an invention after its creation thanks the right of prior use or a community designs after its publication. The latter principle is recalled in Section 4 articles 19 of European Regulation No. 6/2002 of the Council of 12 December 2001 on Community designs.
Conversely, copyright law protect works at the time of their creation, even without registration. Their protection is ensured internationally by the Berne Convention with a total of 177 contracting countries, in Europe by Directive 2006/116 / EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of December 12, 2006 relating to the term of protection of the right to 'author and certain related rights.
The author fully enjoys on his work an exclusive property right by the mere fact of its creation.
However, it is often hard to prove its belonging to a work. That this author create this work at this date. (Before a counterfeiter for instance). Thus, it is important to timestamp its creation.
Take the example of a designer who, in 2018, developed a new watch model which begin to be marketed at the end of January 2020. This designer noticed that a copy of his watch has also been marketed since 2019. If he can’t prove that he is the original creator (which means having created it before his competitor) he won’t be able to obtain protection.
It is therefore essential that the author gives a certain date to its creation in order to prove its precedence and to be able to exercise its right.