Interior fittings and copyright protection

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Copyright and trademark help businesses to grow

Interior fittings and copyright protection

I have already spoken to you many times about the copyright protection of architects and their architectural works (plans, models, buildings, etc.). I refer you on all these subjects to the following posts:

  • The copyright of architects
  • Architecture and copyright: a practical application
  • Architecture and copyright: another practical application (moral rights)
  • tm registration online and copright


But what about interior design and interior design?

Are interior designers also protected by copyright?

It is on this subject that I invite you to expand today!

In reality, there is no reason to treat architects and interior designers differently.

If the interior designer carries out an original arrangement or decoration (that is to say which is marked (e) of his personal touch; which is his own intellectual creation), this arrangement or this decoration ( the finished product that will be produced and / or installed) is subject to copyright protection.

Just as the architect, who made original work, has copyright in the building he imagined, designed and designed, the interior designer has copyright in the interior design that he imagined, designed and conceived.

Likewise, if the interior designer makes plans, drawings, sketches, sketches, models or any other form of tangible preparatory work, and originality is present, this interior designer enjoys copyright protection on all these elements, and they cannot be freely used without its authorization.

The Berne Convention protects all architectural work understood in the broad sense, as well as plans, sketches and drawings in the broad sense as well, so that there is no objective reason to distinguish between an architect in the strict sense of the term and an architect. interior designer, interior designer or interior designer.

The decorators of cinema, televisual works or theater are moreover well eligible for the protection by the copyright (if they make original work, that is to say own intellectual creation). We do not perceive how the purpose of the decor or interior design (cinema, television, theater vs. private individual's house, offices or others) would discriminate between decorators, and would mean that only cinema decorators , television or theatrical works could benefit from copyright protection.

The analogy with clothing designers can be made. It is not only costumers in the cinematographic, audiovisual or theatrical context who can claim copyright on their clothing creations. Stylists and other designers of clothing intended for sale, even in the context of mass distribution, are eligible for protection (if they have made an original work). It will be recalled that even professional uniforms were considered original (parka and summer police jacket), in a case between the Belgian State and an ousted uniform designer. Clothing for professional or utility purposes is therefore validly susceptible of protection - and not only costumes, disguises or high fashion clothing.


In a judgment of 23 February 2001,  the Brussels Court of Appeal also admitted copyright protection for the interior design of a store-restaurant, on the grounds that the particular decoration of the premises and the he use of spaces reflects the creative work specific to interior design and is marked with his personal imprint.

The court also points out, and interestingly, that even when it comes to furniture and furniture items that the interior designer did not create or design himself, the selection of these and the arrangement of these by this architect constitutes a work susceptible of protection by copyright. Thus, according to the court, the original combination of elements which are not as such and / or which do not emanate from the interior designer can be considered as a work within the meaning of copyright.


So, yes, interior designers, decorators and other interior designers can enjoy and claim copyrights on their creations (the interior design as such, plans, sketches, sketches, the models and all the preparatory work), provided that these creations are original.

The originality can be detected in the particular decoration of the places, the choice of colors, the choice of materials (floor covering, walls and others), in the choice and the combination of furniture and other movable objects, and / or in their creation, in the use of spaces and / or their arrangement, in the play of lights and shadows, and in many other things!

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