Logo Dutch central governmentLogo Business.gov.nl, government information for entrepreneurs.MenuSearchSearchHomeRunning your businessProducts and servicesProtecting your product, idea or innovation

Protecting your IP rights

This information is provided by:Netherlands Enterprise Agency RVONetherlands Enterprise Agency RVOBenelux Office for Intellectual PropertyBenelux Office for Intellectual PropertyLast updated on Nederlandse versie

You can register and protect your product, service or brand with intellectual property rights. This prevents other parties from copying your products, services or brand name.

What is intellectual property?

Intellectual property or IP is the collective name for rights that protect the realisations of ideas and concepts. Examples of products and services you can protect with IP rights are: music, brand names, trade names, inventions, product designs, techniques, games, software, lyrics, and photographs.

Different types of IP rights

You can protect your product or service using different types of IP rights. Some rights you have to register or deposit. Some rights are awarded automatically. Bear in mind that, when it comes to claiming your IP rights, it is always best to have a written record that states you are the owner of the IP rights of a product or service. This is true even for automatically awarded IP rights.

Rights you have to register

Rights you automatically have and may have to register

Sometimes you do have to or can register for these rights to, for example, enforce your ownership of this IP.

  • Copyright protects writings (for instance lyrics, books), photos, software, films, games and websites.
  • Trade name right protects your trade name.
  • Database right falls under copyright law. It protects against the re-using of data in databases.
  • Semiconductor right protects semiconductors like chips and microprocessors. You need to apply for this right.

Other forms of protection

  • The i-DEPOT gives your idea or design a legal date stamp.
  • You can use a non-disclosure agreement (NDA, confidentiality statement) to lay down in writing the conditions under which information can be shared.
  • The Trade Secret Protection Act (Wet bescherming bedrijfsgeheimen, Wbb) protects your company secrets. For instance, a unique recipe.
  • To protect regional specialities, you can apply for three types of EC geographic indications of source certificates.

How do you protect your product, service or invention?

Do you want to find the best way to protect your product, service or invention? Use the ideeSCAN (in Dutch) to see which rights you need to register, and what you need to take into account. Read the Checklist for protecting your product, service or invention.

EU trademarks after Brexit

Do you have registered or pending EU trademarks, and is your product or service in use in the UK, or do you plan to market your product or service there? Then make sure you have the required protection in the UK. After Brexit, EU trademarks registered or granted in the EU before 1 January 2021 remain protected in the UK. But this does not apply to EU trademarks registered or granted after 1 January 2021.

Existing trademarks

For existing European Trademarks (EUTMs) that were granted by the European Union Intellectual Property Organisation (EUIPO), the UK Intellectual Property Organisation (IPO) will create a comparable UK trademark. You will have to pay IPO and EUIPO separately for renewal of the new UK trademark and the existing EUTM. There will be no changes to UK-registered trademarks as a result of the UK leaving the EU.

Opting out of the comparable UK trademark

If you do not wish to have a UK trademark for your existing EUTM, you may opt out. If you do opt out, you will have no UK IP rights for your product or service. You can only use the opt-out option if you have not used the UK trademark right in the UK yet.

Pending applications

If you have a pending EUTM application, you can register the EU trademark as a UK right within nine months from 1 January 2021, up to and including 30 September 2021. You will keep the earlier filing date of the pending EUTM.

New registrations

If you want to apply for a new trademark and you want this trademark protected in the EU and in the UK, you will need to apply for registration at both IPO and the EUIPO. UK businesses can still apply to the EU Intellectual Property Office for an EUTM.

Read more information about trademarks in the UK and Brexit on the Gov.uk website.

Related articles

To top