myths and realities

French translation - traduire en francais

In France, most keys are easy to reproduce at the locksmith-shop without any proof or identity check. Can be reproduced thus today without any formality, in a few minutes and at a moderate cost, the majority of pins-tumblers keys, levers keys, dimple keys, pump keys like Bramah, tubular, and double-bitted keys.

In order to protect legitim owner of the keys against a reproduction nondesired or fraudulent (close relations, undertaken speaker in residence or domestic employees...) the manufacturers of locks compete of ingeniousness to propose keys presenting a protection against the copy. Thus, you will be able to entrust a key without taking the risk that it is not duplicated without your agreement.

Most of the time, protection of the keys goes from pair with high safety, and only the systems known as of "high security locks" take measures to limit the possibility of illegal copies.

In the majority of the cases the lock is then provided with a "property card" which must be presented at the same time as the key to be able to obtain a double. In France, the locksmith cannot make himself the copy : he places an order near the manufacturer who programs the manufacture of a new key, in general on a numerical control machine which automatically cuts the double on an original blank-key.
Duplicates of most french protected keys can be ordered near french specialists : www.mesclefs.com

 Property card : Vachette - RADIAL NT

In France two techniques make it possible to protect the key against a fraudulent copy :
1. the blank-key is legally patented, which prohibits the manufacture of blank-keys
2. the form of cuttings of the key is so complex that only the manufacturer can manufacture a copy

1. The idea to patent the key in itself was born a long time ago in the United States and then developed in Europe. With this stratagem, the blank-key, this small metal part, is regarded as presenting an originality such as it must profit from a particular protection. The limit of the system is that a patent is always delivered for one limited duration - generally 10 or 20 years in Europe. Blank-keys (uncut key) are then available on the market, special machines of copy are manufactured... and the key is not protected any more from the copy !
Two European manufacturers of locks imagined the first, in complement, a brilliant idea: in order to reinforce and to make perfect the protection of the patent, they integrated into the key a moving or mechanical part interacting with the cylinder. Manufacturer DOM integrated a "floating ball" into its iX key, and French CAVERS designed the very original izis key with a rolling part and a spring. The original blank-key becomes thus an unattackable original creation on the legal level... but which nevertheless will be generally protected only temporarily !
Many other manufacturers since copy the idea and integrated a moving part into their key.

 DOM cylinder and its "ix10" key with a floating ball

2. The other method is to design a key, whose cuttings are so complex to reproduce with a pantograph (machine for duplicating keys) that the copy out of the factory is impossible. This technique is very astute... but is put to the test by the ingeniousness of the manufacturers of machines to reproduce the keys. This method thus makes it possible to prevent the copy of the key... until someone find a technical solution ! It is precisely the case of " 787 FICHET " key and 787.S, which until now was protected. As the patent is expired, the specialized companies Silca and Errebi can now reproduce this key and diffuse blank-keys.
The newest "Fichet F3D" key is protected against duplication.

 The Fichet F3D key

Certain manufacturers of lock cumulate the two techniques: the key is patented and its reproduction is technically impossible.

Main keys protected by patent, and whose patent still active :
- Bricard : Chifral
- Vachette : Radial Si - Radial NT - Radial NT+
- Cavers : Anker - Izis
- Fichet : F3D
- Laperche : Diam XL

- Dom : iX 10
- JPM : Keso 2000 S omega
- Picard : Vak mobil
- Pollux  : Pollux 7000
- FTH : Atlantic M - Pacific

Main "complex cuttings" keys impossible to duplicate in France without special autorisation :
- Fichet : 787.Z
- Abloy : Disklock pro - Protec
- Medeco : BiAxial - m3
- Dom : Diamant

Caution :
- the fact of having a property card does not mean that the key is "copy protected". Many locks are sold, or were sold, with a card and can be reproduced very easily without card nor identity check ;
- the apparent technical complexity of the key or the fact that it is a "high security lock" - including if it has the french official label "A2P approved" - does not prejudge that the key is protected against fraudulent duplication ;

- the mentions "do not duplicate" or "patented key" on certain keys do not provide any protection in France and only the techniques detailed above can protect the key against the fraudulent copies ;
- certain keys protected by a moving part - feeler, ball, mobile... - present a theoretical incopiability, because the moving part can be simulated by arranging a traditional blank-key ;
- finally, in the absolute, no key is definitively impossible to duplicate... just like no lock is definitively unpickable !

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