Intellectual property rights
Protection of intellectual property rights is based on national and international conventions and covers certain immaterial assets. It is divided into two groups:
- industrial property (patents, trade marks, designs and models, ideas, trade names);
- copyright and neighbouring rights.
For SMEs involved in innovation, the protection of intellectual property is essential, as it protects them against possible imitations, copies or even counterfeiting.
Industrial property rights
There are various ways you can protect your innovations:
- patents, which give the holder exclusive rights to the products for 20 years beginning from the date the request is submitted;
- trade marks, which may take the form of a name, logo, design, etc;
- models and designs ;
- i-DEPOT, which protects an idea, concept, format, convention or a document at a stage prior to its creation;
- a trade name, which is limited to the geographical area where it is known.
All literary, scientific or artistic works (including computer programmes and databases) are protected by copyright provided they are original enough and have a material form (ideas and concepts are excluded). Protection lasts the entire life of the author, and 70 years following the author's death, with rights being transferred to the inheritors and dependants. Third parties wishing to make use of the work must obtain a licence from them.
Intellectual protection bodies
The Intellectual Property Directorate is responsible for putting in place and managing the framework and instruments for protecting intellectual property for businesses and inventors/authors.
Property rights encourage investment in innovation and research.
You can send your patent application to the Intellectual Property Directorate of the Ministry of Economy and External Trade as soon as the invention is recognised as new, involves an inventive step and has industrial application.
Trade marks are registered at the Benelux Office for Intellectual Property (BOIP)
In case of conflict with another trade mark, you may contest the submission (within two months following the publication of the mark) at the BOIP.
Model or design
The model or design must be registered at the BOIP. In case of conflict with another model or design, you can make a claim at the same office, but it will only be recognised as registered. You should begin legal proceedings through the national courts.
i-DEPOT allows you to register innovations at the BOIP before they are created.
You should enter the trade name of the company in the Trade and Companies Register.
The Guichet entreprises business portal provides information on intellectual property.
The Luxembourg portal for intellectual property contains information on intellectual property in general, associated legal documents, publications related to the subject, etc.
The Henri Tudor technology monitoring centre conducts research and monitoring in relation to patents that are technically close to the inventor's product.
The Benelux Association for trade mark and model law clarifies some of the legal aspects of trade marks.