Firm Profile > VARET & PRÈS AVOCATS > Paris, France

75 008 PARIS

Industry focus: Luxury goods Tier 1

IT and IP boutique VARET & PRÈS AVOCATS, formerly Passa Varet Avocats, is best known for its expertise in trade marks and copyright. The practice represents several leading brands, which include a luxury resort, a top art brokerage firm and a French maison de couture.  Litigator Xavier Près, who joined the group from De Gaulle Fleurance & Associés, focuses on all aspects of IP and IT law and previously headed the legal department of one of Paris' top art museums. He jointly leads the practice alongside Vincent Varet, who undertakes both advisory and contentious matters related to IP and IT. Jérôme Passa departed the firm in October 2020.

Practice head(s):


The team is always available and proactive. Their legal competence is matched by their reassuring and efficient approach.

Billing is fair and reasonable.

What distinguishes Vincent Varet is his legal competence and the clarity of his strategic solutions. We recommend him without hesitation.

Media and entertainment: Book publishers Tier 1

Boutique IP and media firm VARET & PRÈS AVOCATS, formerly Passa Varet Avocats, offers publishing houses and authors assistance with contract drafting and litigation. The arrival of Xavier Près from De Gaulle Fleurance & Associés  in October 2020 has strengthened the practice's contentious offering, particularly in relation to copyright and related rights, trade marks, industrial designs and models, and patents. Leading the department alongside him, Vincent Varet advises several leading French publishing houses and is well versed in both IP and IT law. Jérôme Passa departed the firm in late 2020.

Practice head(s):

Intellectual property: Copyright Tier 3

VARET & PRÈS AVOCATS opened its doors in October 2020 when practice heads Vincent Varet and Xavier Près joined forces to assist clients with their IP, media and IT law needs. The boutique is especially active in the luxury goods, publishing, culture, sport and IT sectors, where it acts on both contentious and non-contentious matters, including contract-related work and infringement proceedings.

Practice head(s):

Intellectual property: Trade marks and designs Tier 3

The former Passa Varet Avocats split in autumn 2020, with Jérôme Passa exiting to establish Cabinet Passa Avocats, while Vincent Varet has associated with Xavier Près (formerly of De Gaulle Fleurance & Associés), to establish VARET & PRÈS AVOCATS, which opened its doors in November. The boutique focuses on IP, media and IT law, with an IP focus on trade mark, design and copyright matters. The caseload includes advisory work, particularly as regards licencing agreements, as well as litigation, with the firm drawing clients from a broad range of sectors including luxury goods, publishing, culture and -increasingly- the cinema and radio sectors, as well as sports and IT.

Practice head(s):


‘A team that is available, attentive and very responsive. A high level of legal competence which makes the service reassuring and efficient.’

‘Maître Vincent Varet is distinguished by his legal competence and his clarity in the strategies offered to his client for files and brand management at national and international levels. His responsiveness and constant rigour are greatly appreciated for the follow-up of trade mark law cases that we have entrusted to him; and which have been successful for our company. We have worked with him for 12 years and he is one of our most reliable advisers who we recommend without reservation.’

‘Specialists in intellectual property, we use the team more particularly in trade mark law for ad hoc advice or as part of the monitoring and protection of our brands.’

‘Maître Varet is very responsive and available.’

VARET PRÈS, law firm dedicated to immaterial and digital

VARET PRÈS supports the projects which are at the heart of the intangible economy and helps its clients successfully face the changes in our world.

Law is a tool that the firm uses with reactivity and creativity to respond to the diversity and complexity of the risks and challenges of economic activities of its clients.

VARET PRÈS relies on its recognized expertise in intellectual property and digital law and its knowledge of the intangible economy, in order, beyond legal and operational solutions, to take the necessary height to apprehend the other economic and human stakes of clients’ cases.

Lawyers and entrepreneurs, Vincent Varet and Xavier Près know how to think outside the box, so that the clients projects stay within the box.

The two founding partners of VARET PRÈS provide advice and litigation services.

Vincent Varet intervenes more specifically in the sectors of publishing, luxury, music, graphic arts, web, computer science and artificial intelligence.

Xavier Près assists and represents public and private operators in the art, culture, cultural heritage, publishing, audiovisual, cinema, IT, events, sports and tourism sectors.

Lanvin, Interparfums, Musée du Louvre ; Philharmonie des enfants ; Musée Guimet, Etablissement public Notre-Dame de Paris, Editis, la Centrale, Groupe Pasteur Mutualité, Ville de Vichy, etc.

More details :

Department Name Email Telephone
Vincent Varet +33(0)85086840
Xavier Près +33(0)85086840
ADIJ – Association pour le développement de l’informatique juridique
APRAM (Association des Praticiens des Marques et Modèles)

Book publishers

In France, for book publishers as for the rest of society, 2020 was marked by the Covid-19 health crisis. Bookstores, considered non-essential businesses, were closed during the first lockdown in spring 2020 as well as during the second lockdown in November, for a total of almost three months. Thus, there were fears of a strong negative impact on the sector’s economy. Nevertheless, readers flocked to bookstores in June 2020 after the first lockdown, as well as in December after the second one, with the result that, in the end, the decrease in book sales over the year 2020 would only be of minus 2% (GFK estimate for the Syndicat National de l’Edition – “SNE”) to 4.5% (Livres Hebdo figures), with an intermediate estimate of 3.3% (Syndicat de la Librairie française), on a market whose total volume in 2019 was of 2806 million euros. This relatively small decline given the context (by comparison, the book market in Russia has suffered a decline of 20% in 2020) hides strong disparities between the various editorial sectors: while sales of extracurricular books and comics have increased (respectively by more than 4% and more than 6%), those of literature are almost stable (- 0.4%) while those of travel guides, quite logically, have collapsed (between – 40% and – 50%).

These figures do not take into account the sales of digital books, which are estimated to have increased by 30% during the first lockdown, and by 25% during the second one. So that, ultimately, according to the SNE, the overall revenue of the sector could remain stable compared to 2019.

Alongside this rise of digital books, the year was marked by the growth of audio books sales as well (+11% during the first lockdown compared to the figures of January 2020). Following the saying that crises are also opportunities, 2020 could therefore be for the French publishing industry the year of a welcome diversification in the modes of reading, in which the development of digital and audio books would no longer appear as a threat to printed ones, but as their positive complement, suited to new usages. Especially since available studies show that the biggest readers of digital books are also the biggest consumers of printed ones.

In other words, the French publishing industry, which until now has been very cautious towards digital books (whose market share remains much smaller than in the United States, for example), is likely to reinforce its confidence in the commercialization of dematerialised books and to find there a welcome boost to its growth. Thus, publishers who bet on “transmedia” earlier have even experienced growth in 2020, like the publisher of children’s books Auzou (+5%).

Witnessing this evolution in times of pandemic also shows that the law of 26 May 2011 on the price of digital books, despite its complexity, is not an obstacle to the development of this mode of reading: from now on, books “mutate” into various forms to suit the different needs and desires of readers (reading at home, in public transport, in the car, etc.) and also according to the subject matter of the books in question.

On the legislative front, the year 2020 was marked by a decree of 28 August 2020, which puts an end to nearly two years of uncertainty caused by the unilateral decision of the French administration managing social contributions on copyrights (AGESSA), to refuse the remuneration of collection directors in the form of copyright royalties. The decree contradicts that administration and validates this method of remuneration – which was widely used by publishers until AGESSA’s controversial decision – provided that the collections meet the condition of originality, to which copyright protection is subject.

In terms of jurisprudence, the year started and ended with two opposing decisions in a saga concerning the quotations of the lyrics of Jean Ferrat’s songs in books dedicated to this singer, composer and songwriter: while in a decision of 19 November 2019, the Court of appeal of Versailles ruled that in principle these quotations violated J. Ferrat’s moral rights because the lyrics were inseparable from the music, and were therefore illicit, the Court of appeal of Paris, in a decision of 12 January 2021 declared that texts and music belong to different genres and are therefore separable; consequently, songs lyrics can, fortunately, be the subject of quotations in a book dedicated to their author, without the authorisation of the latter or his successors, provided, of course, that the requirements governing the exception of quotation are met.

Looking ahead, 2021 should see the transposition into French law of the European directive dated 17 April 2019 on copyright and related rights in the digital single market, which will have implications for the publishing market as well as for the ones of other cultural goods protected by these rights. Indeed, this transposition will require, among other things, the adaptation of certain exceptions to copyright (the so-called “data mining” exception, the exception in favour of digital education, etc.), the revision of the unavailable works regime, the dissemination of works on online platforms and the strengthening of a common copyright contracts regime, which are likely to affect book publishers. The collective work edited by Professor Nicolas Binctin and Xavier Près provides insights into this transposition: “Directives 2019/790 and 2019/789 on Copyright in the Digital Single Market, Article-by-Article Commentary“, Bruylant, 2021.