A patent protects a technical innovation, that is, a product or a process that provides a technical solution to a given technical problem. The invention for which a patent may be obtained must also be new, involve an inventive activity and be likely to have industrial application.
Numerous innovations may be the subject of a patent application, as long as they meet patentability criteria and are not expressly excluded from protection by the law.
Some inventions are not patentable but may be subject to other types of protection, such as the registration of designs and models or copyright.
Source : Institut national de la propriété industrielle (site INPI : http://www.inpi.fr)