Check if your idea is already protected by intellectual property rights

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Benelux Office for Intellectual Property
Benelux Office for Intellectual Property

Do you want to protect your idea for a new product, brand, or logo with intellectual property rights? First, check if your idea has already been thought of and protected by someone else. This will help avoid misunderstandings or even legal action.

Trademark rights protect the brand name or logo of your company, product, or service. In the BOIP Trademarks Register, you can look up if a name or logo already exists. If not, you can register the trademark, making you the owner. Using the registered trademark symbol (®) with your brand name or logo shows that it has been trademarked.

Company name or trade name

Have you chosen a company name that is too similar to another company's name? That company may object. Always check if the name already appears in the Business Register before you start. Note that a company name is only legally protected if it is actually used.

Do you want to register your company name? Then you need to register your company in the KVK Business Register. If you are already registered, you can change your company name or add an additional company name.

Product design or model

Design rights protect product design and styling. Think, for example, of a new design for a watch, headphones, clothing, or bag. You can check in the BOIP Designs Register (modellenregister) if the design is really new. You can also search the internet or trade magazines. Is your design new? Then you can register the design. Patents, trademarks, and copyright can also sometimes offer protection.

Technological inventions

With a patent, you protect your invention of a technological product or process. It lets you forbid someone else from copying, selling, or importing your invention. To find out if your technological invention is really new, you can use the Espacenet patent database. This contains all published patents. If the invention is new, you can apply for a patent.

Text, lyrics, photo, illustration, or video

If you have created a text, photo, illustration, or video, you automatically hold a copyright for it. At least, if your work is original and personal. There is no register or database where you can look up if someone else has already created it. This is because no one has to register their work for copyright.

Do you want to be able to prove that you came up with the idea at a certain time? Then you can record the date in an i-DEPOT. This gives you a legal means of proof. This can sometimes be necessary in the event of a conflict. You can also use the copyright symbol (©) to show you own the copyright.

Getting started with your idea

Has your idea not been thought of before and do you want to take it further? Or do you want to temporarily record your idea to continue with it later? Then take a look at the checklist for protecting a product, service, or invention

Questions relating to this article?

Please contact the Benelux Office for Intellectual Property