FAQ

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

This section contains answers to the questions most frequently raised by our clients. It is vital that you gain a good understanding of our business and the services that we deliver. Please contact us if you should require any further information. We are happy to help!

Unlike Industrial Property Attorneys, Modèle Déposé is not authorized to provide legal advice. Modèle Déposé employs archivists who specialise in design searches (the physical appearance of a product) and does not undertake existence of prior trademark (company/product names) or patent searches (a product’s technical features) as Industrial Property Attorneys do. Not only does Modèle Déposé undertake prior art searches in industrial property databases such as INPI, but the firm also checks books, magazines and catalogues, and travels to museums. Some industrial property law firms call on Modèle Déposé to undertake multi-publication searches. On the other hand, where necessary, Modèle Déposé refers its clients to its partner law firms.

Not all designs (physical appearance) are registered, which makes sense given the very high number of products designed every year. Designs that have not been registered are covered by copyright which remains in force until 70 years after the designer’s death. As a result, when we undertake precautionary searches, we do not limit ourselves to viewing designs registered with INPI (France), EUIPO (Europe) and WIPO (international); we also identify similar designs which have featured in a magazine, catalogue or online.

Given the continuous rise in the number of designs created every year, our searches, which mainly focus on publications, cannot be deemed exhaustive. However, we do everything possible to provide our clients with as much factual information as possible to enable them to come to the right decision. For precautionary searches, our aim is to minimize the company’s exposure to the risk of legal proceedings on the grounds of infringement or unfair competition.

Prices vary between €300 exclusive of tax and €3,000 exclusive of tax for a prior art search for a single design, depending on the period to be researched: an assessment of the current market situation may cost €300 exclusive of tax as part of a preventive search subscription. A comprehensive prior art search, i.e. covering all dates, is invoiced at around €3,000 exclusive of tax. Prices may also vary based on the number of designs to be researched, if the dates in question are far apart, if the client wants an assessment of the current market situation or a search for older designs. Please contact us for a quote. We will send you a price plus a rundown of our search strategy.

As our aim is to offer client satisfaction, we do everything we can to provide them with as much information as possible within the deadlines imposed by legal proceedings or their internal processes. For a preventive search request, which takes the form of a review of the current market situation, we pledge to submit our report within five working days. If we are tasked with a prior art search for a model as part of legal proceedings, this means that we need to check old publications and travel to museums. In this case, we are able to submit our report within 5 to 15 working days and sometimes sooner.

Our archivists sort and classify new products by product type and date. They include some in an electronic database, with each entry having a written description, a designer and a documentary source linked to it. Our archivists have made an inventory of all of our archives (books, magazines and sales catalogues) and for each publication have filled in information about the types of products featured, so as to be able to swiftly identify the publications that we need to focus on when conducting our searches. We are also going digital and this will enable us to make text searches directly in publications using a design tagging system.

The company was founded in 2009 which was when we first subscribed to magazines and collected our first catalogues. However, we regularly purchase older publications, and even much older ones, such as Elle magazines from the 1930s-1950s, and Sears and Manufrance catalogues from the 1950s to 1980s. We buy them from second-hand stores or private individuals, thus enabling us to travel back in time.

When processing information, we focus on the items that our clients most frequently request, namely bags, shoes, jewellery, watches, toys, high tech gadgets, motifs, furniture, lighting, interior design accessories, tableware and small domestic appliances. However, we are able to undertake searches for not so common items such as fencing, buildings and artworks, as we hold a large number of publications which may prove useful. Furthermore, we undertake bespoke research in external resource centres, such as the Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine (Museum of Architecture and Heritage) and the Maison Européenne de la Photographie (European Centre for Photography).

We are archivists specialising in design searches (physical appearance). We are not engineers or Industrial Property Attorneys, so we do not undertake trademark (trade name) or patent (technical aspects) searches.

We work for law firms, industrial property attorneys, and also directly for companies in a wide range of industries, such as fashion, jewellery, interior design, toys, and in all sectors of the economy, from luxury goods to mass retail. We prefer not to publicize the names of our clients because the briefs they give us are strictly confidential. We feel that it is vital to respect and preserve their anonymity as many of them are very well-known. Our client base is mainly French, but we also work for foreign companies (US, UK, Italy, Belgium and China).

Modèle Déposé pledges to keep confidential the designs and information entrusted to us within the scope of our business. However, when searching, our archivists may have to divulge a picture of the design in question to a third party, for example an archivist in an external resource centre, or an expert, in order to obtain the information needed to move forward the search. Resource centre managers may also want to see the product or drawing in question before we visit them. If Modèle Déposé has to reveal a picture, we undertake to never reveal the opposing party’s design and to not divulge any other information that is not strictly necessary, such as the names of the parties, in order to respect the confidential nature of the work that we are entrusted to do.