Intellectual property covers industrial, literary and artistic property. The purpose of industrial property is to protect and exploit inventions, innovations and creations. Industrial property rights are in principle acquired by the filing of a patent, a design, a model or a brand. Industrial property rights give a monopoly of exploitation (protected by legal action against infringement) and constitute both a defensive and an offensive "weapon" for companies holding such rights. There are several possible ways to protect these industrial property rights.
Literary and artistic property goes with copyright for the protection of literary works, musical, graphic, plastic and fashion creations etc., and software, together with a certain number of "neighbouring rights" concerning performing artists, enterprises in audiovisual communication, for example. Copyright does not protect ideas or concepts. Copyright is acquired without any formalities by the very fact of creation of the work (Article L111-1 of the Code of Intellectual Property).
Source : Institut national de la propriété industrielle (site INPI : http://www.inpi.fr)