Getting your IP in order

When you’re a startup founder, worrying about protecting your intellectual property is not on your immediate to-do list. However, your IP rights are one of your most valuable assets: they can set your business apart from your competitors, offer customers something new and different, and they can even be sold or licensed. IP can also be used as security for loans and can form a crucial part of your marketing and branding. Therefore, it’s important to be informed on the subject, and now – thanks to our friends at Octrooicentrum Nederland (Netherlands Patent Office) and the Benelux Office for Intellectual Property (BOIP) – you can.

Your own IP checklist

1)  Trademarks
Are you using a name and/or logo to distinguish your products or services from others? Registering your company name at the Dutch Chamber of Commerce is not enough; you need to register a trademark, too. To register your trademark for the Benelux, visit the BOIP website. You can find more general information about trademarks on the Netherlands Patent Office's trademarks page

2)  Copyright
Are you involved in creative products or publications? You're in luck: the rights are automatically yours. Learn more about copyright protection.

3)  Patents
Have you invented a new product, process or technology (including software)? Think carefully about choosing the best option to protect your invention, open source, company secret or patent. It’s vital to get your facts straight before deciding which way to go. Read more about applying for a patent.

4)  Design rights
If the design of your product sets it apart from other products on the market, you should think about protecting your design. The BOIP website contains in-depth information about the registration of designs in the Benelux.

5)  Do not re-invent the wheel!
Existing patents are a useful source of knowledge, so make good use of them! You may want to do some research in patent databases. It’s also important to check the legal status of patents from the very start, continuing to check their status throughout the course of your innovation. Keeping up-to-date with technological developments that already exist will make the process much faster and smoother. Get more information on patents and the intellectual-property system

6)  Proof of your idea's date
Register your idea via an i-DEPOT. An i-DEPOT is not an IP right, but it can prove that your idea existed at a certain point in time. Learn more on the BOIP website

Get in touch

If you want to know more about IP rights and your options, please use the following contacts:

The Netherlands Patent Office (technological inventions)
[email protected]
tel: 088-6026660

The Benelux Office for Intellectual Property (trademarks and design rights)
[email protected]
tel: 070-3491242