Protection & strategy

‘Intellectual property right’ is an umbrella concept for multiple protection regimes. Below, the various intellectual property rights are explained in a nutshell. You will also find a concise explanation of the potential steps to be taken to counter infringements of intellectual property law.

Intellectual property rights

  • copyright
    • neighbouring rights (performers, broadcasters, record producers and film producers)
    • portrait right
  • databases
  • trademark
  • trade name
  • domain name
  • design right
  • patent right
  • plant breeders’ right
  • computer chips

Stricly speaking, a domain name does not qualify as an intellectual property right, but a right to use a unique word as a web address. Nevertheless the domain name is included in the list of intellecutal property because it often contains trade names and/or trademarks.

In cases of counterfeit and piracy, ‘pseudo’-rights as slavish imitation can often be invoked as a final remedy (unfair competition).

You may be wondering: “What’s the use of intellectual property rights?”

What to do if someone infringes my intellectual property rights or what if my company is accused of infringement? And what about the costs? Can I get it back if I win?

And is it actually worth the trouble and expenses to apply for or enforce an intellectual property right?

What is the use of IP?

You can use intellectual property to protect a product or service or the branding of these. Mostly, this concerns economic rights:

  • protection of goodwill, balance sheet value
  • protection against imitation (intentional or unintentional)
  • protection against free-riding by competitors
  • exploitation:
    • licensing
    • franchising (type of trademark licensing)
    • merchandising
  • tax planning: for example, IP company, transfer and licensing back
  • value of the enterprise, goodwill
  • assignment, with a royalty obligation, for example, or lump-sum buyoff

In some cases, immaterial interests are involved as well such as the right to oppose the mutilation of a copyrighted work or the publication without attribution. Or, for example, the possibility of reasonably opposing the use of your portrait without permission.