Intellectual property rights
Intellectual property rights are designed to protect inventions, trademarks and creative ideas. You can request protection at an early stage by claiming copyright and registering your idea with the Benelux Office of Intellectual Property (BOIP), the tax authority or a notary, or by protecting it through a contract.
Industrial property rights
Once you have implemented your idea, you can protect it under patent law (for inventions); this means no one may copy or use your idea or model without your permission.
Design and model law regulates external protection within the Benelux area. The models or designs covered by it must be new.
Trademark law enables you to protect the brand used for your product, service or company. No one may then use either the colour or design of your logo.
Protection of your business name: if you sign up to the trade register, the Dutch Chamber of Commerce will conduct a search to find out whether or not another company is already using the same name.
Copyright is the exclusive right of a copyright holder to publicise and reproduce a work. In the Netherlands copyright exists as soon as a work is produced. The author does not need to register the work or to declare that copyright is reserved. In some cases copyright is retained by a person who is not the work's actual author, for example:
- the employer, when an employee has produced a work under his or her contract of employment;
- the employer, when a work is produced under the management and supervision of another party;
- a legal person, when this person takes a work abroad.
Copyright ends 70 years after the death of the author of the work. If a work has been published anonymously (or under a pseudonym), or if the copyright is in the hands of a legal person, the term of copyright ends 70 years after the work's initial disclosure.
Intellectual property protection bodies
The Netherlands Patent Office helps you to protect your inventions. As soon as a patent is issued, no one else may take over or apply your idea or design without your consent.
The Benelux Office for Intellectual Property (BOIP) is the official body for the registration of brands, models and designs in the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg.
Protecting intellectual property rights abroad
The World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) is responsible for the protection of intellectual property worldwide.
For protection within the Benelux area, you can submit your trademark, drawing or model to the Benelux Office for Intellectual Property (BOIP).
OHIM is the European Union agency responsible for registering trademarks and designs, valid in all 27 countries of the EU.
Combating counterfeiting and piracy
The fight against counterfeiting and piracy in the Netherlands is regulated, for instance, by intellectual property laws and in the Code of Civil Procedure.
Property rights encourage investment in innovation and research.
You can register your idea at an early stage by submitting an i-DEPOT registration document to the Benelux Office for Intellectual Property (BOIP). You can then prove that an idea was yours on a given day and prevent anyone else from taking it over or applying it.
Information from the Dutch government can be found on the Antwoordvoorbedrijven.nl website, which lists all the various relevant dos and don'ts, e.g. licences and requirements, laws and regulations, taxes and subsidies.
Various subsidies are available for intellectual property protection.