Trademarks, other distinctive signs and franchise

What is a distinctive sign?


A distinctive sign is any element that allows the consumer to identify a company and/or the products and services marketed by that company. Trademarks, trade names, brands, logo’s, domain names of companies are generally distinctive signs…

trademark protection

Protect your trademark

As soon as it is registered, the trademark is an industrial property title that gives you a monopoly of exploitation for a ten-year exclusive right. The trademark registration can then be renewed indefinitely.

The registration of your trademark gives you an exclusive right to a sign that distinguishes the products or services you offer from those of your competitors, which is a major competitive advantage! As such, your sign is protected for the categories of goods and services covered by your trademark registration and in the territory for which said registration is accepted.

In France, your trademark must be registered with the INPI. From now on, the registration can be done entirely online.

As soon as possible!

Before registering a trademark, you need to be certain that no prior rights have been registered. In simple terms, your trademark must be available and you should be the first person to register it.

To avoid any risk linked to your trademark registration (such as opposition) a prior rights search is necessary to determine that it is available. This includes registering your trademark with different IP offices such as INPI for French trademarksEUIPO for European Union trademarksWIPO for international trademarksIPO for UK trademarksIPI for Swiss trademarks, and BOIP for Benelux.

You must therefore be the first to register this trademark.

The notion of prior rights is understood very generally. Not only must your trademark not repeat a prior trademark, but it must not infringe on other prior rights such as copyrights (such as a song title, film title), trade name, protected name, association, domain name, company name, etc.

💡Whether you have a start-up, a small or medium-sized business, a large global corporation or even if you are a private individual, it is important to register your trademark.

What is a franchise?

A franchise is a commercial relationship between the franchisor and the franchisee. The franchisor undertakes to transmit certain know-how as well as the right to exploit his or her distinctive sign(s) to the franchisee. In return the latter undertakes to fulfil his or her obligation to pay a remuneration to the franchisor. This mechanism allows a company to develop commercial success by creating a network.

A franchise agreement determines the extent of the relationship between the franchisor and the franchisee. It is therefore necessary to define a precise contractual framework in order to secure the investments of each party.


The Dreyfus team assists you during the negotiation but also during the drafting and analysis process of franchise contracts in order to establish an effective strategy to protect your interests. (See Negotiation and Drafting of Contracts – Dreyfus & Associés).

How to secure distinctive signs in franchise agreements?

An essential element of a franchise agreement consists of a trademark licence. Because of this licence, the franchisee is entitled to use the trademark, to sell its products and services, to promote its activity and to be recognized by customers.

Regarding the other distinctive signs that are part of the intangible heritage of a company, it is necessary to value and to secure them in the franchise agreement.

The Dreyfus team offers its expertise not only to the franchisee but also to the franchisor who needs to ensure:

We ensure that the franchise mark is registered for all the products and services for which the trademark will be used

Dreyfus ensures the protection of trademarks and other distinctive signs against third party attacks

  • We register the contracts of trademark licenses with the National Institute of Industrial Property in order to make it enforceable against third parties

We verify whether a trademark is actually exploited in order to prevent the loss of rights for lack of genuine use.