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Intellectual property is the collective term for the rights to intellectual creations such as inventions, software, texts, domain rights, music and trademarks. Intellectual property law protects ideas and innovations of developers, authors, inventors and designers.
An idea or concept virtually always precedes the actual development of a product or service. A product or service may be protected by copyright or by the exclusive right to a trademark or patent, for example. It is therefore important for the inventor to register the concept as early as in the idea stage.
A trademark is protected for a period of 10 years. After this the protection can be renewed indefinitely for 10-year periods.
The patent system provides legal protection for inventions and innovations. This enables you to actually make your new, innovative new product your own, after which other people can only earn money from your invention with your consent.
A patent protects your invention for up to 20 years. During that period competitors cannot copy or use the technology for commercial purposes. That makes it possible for you to recoup your development investment. By issuing patents the government makes it worthwhile for companies to continue innovating.
You can protect your product or idea in two ways in EU countries. You can apply for a patent separately for each EU country or apply for a single European Patent.
A domain name is not the trade name under which your company is filed at the Chamber of Commerce. Your trade name is protected by the Trade Names Act: different companies are not permitted to use the same trade name. Unfortunately this does not apply to a company’s domain name.
It may be advisable to manage a comprehensive domain registration portfolio. Our staff can advise you on whether this applies to you.
Trademark Benelux specialises in the registration of intellectual property rights, including domain names. There are also companies that register domain names only. We advise you to contact your own IT specialist or ask our customer services for specific advice.