In the search for novel biodegradable antifouling agents, a series of imides (N-substituted maleimides and succinimides) have been synthesized. A large majority of N-substituted maleimides and succinimides showed an antimicrobial activity toward gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria and fungi of marine origin with minimal inhibition concentrations in the range of 6 to 24 mg/ml. The imides with an alkyl substituent showed higher activities than aromatic analogues, but structure-activity relationships were not clearly established. Some compounds were powerful inhibitors of Mytilus edulis phenoloxidase. This inhibition was noncompetitive as demonstrated with 2 maleimides, a 3-acetoxy succinimide and a succinimide. Thus, this family of products has potential interest as antifouling agents.