Intellectual Property Law
Intellectual property rights contains the protection of intellectual creations. We advise clients about various intellectual property rights, like copyright, trademarks, advertising and knowhow protection.
Trademark law protects ‘distinguishing signs for goods or services’, better known as ‘trademarks’. These signs can be a lot of things: words, numbers, designs, colours and even sounds or perfumes. A trademark enabled consumers to recognise a product or service, and enables companies to distinguish their goods and services from those of competitors. Trademark law thus ensures transparency in the marker. We help clients in protecting their trademark and assist them in case of a trade mark infringement.
Copyright protects the intellectual property of authors who created something original and creative. Creations are quickly considered to be creative pieces, such as books and drawings. But also think of photos, movies, music, multimedia and even software. The threshold for copyright is low, so a creative piece is quickly protected by copyright. However, this also means that an infringement on this copyright is made easily. We assist client in cases of copyright infringement.
A domain name is part of a unique address on the internet, also know as ‘IP-address’. A domain name makes it relatively easy to reach a certain location on the internet, like a website. The rights on a domain name are not explicitly regulated by law. However, the use of a domain name can infringe the rights of a third party. For example trademark infringement, in case the domain name contains the trademark of someone else. That is the moment clients reach out to us and we advise them how to handle the situation. We assist clients with the purchase of domain names and the (compulsory) transfer of domain names in case of an infringement.
The protection of knowhow protects all the knowledge of entrepreneurs and all valuable information you have collected, but is isn’t regulated by law. With the protection of knowhow you prevent competitors or employees from taking off with your idea, concept or knowledge. It is a good alternative for a patent, which is a much longer and more expensive process. Also, not every knowledge or concept is patentable. We help clients to ensure their knowhow is protected well.
The law on designs protects the appearance of two- or three-dimensional objects. A design can be protected if it is new and has individual character. The right to a design gives the holder of that design several options. The most important option is that the holder of a design can prohibit others from using or exploiting the design. To invoke the right to a design, the design must first be registered. We assist clients in cases of design infringement.
Slavish imitation is the unauthorised copying of a product or service from someone else. It is mainly applicable in the case of counterfeit products, such as fake designer bags and watches. The counterfeiting of the products is not necessarily unlawful itself, but the unnecessary cause of confusion about the origin of the products for the consumers is. We assist clients who are confronted with this form of unfair competition.
The rules on advertising consist of a collection of various laws, rules and norms that regulate advertising. The Dutch Civil Code, specific laws like the Commodities Act and the Dutch Advertising Code Committee regulate whether advertisement is admissible. Advertisement must not be unfair – and thus unlawful – towards consumers. In addition, advertisement must not be misleading and may not compare the products of competitors in an unfair manner. Finally, advertisement must not be shocking or offensive. We can assist clients that experience problems with someone else’s advertisement, as well as clients who’s way of advertising is being questioned.
The trade name law protects the names under which a company operates. The trade name is the name which the company presents itself with. Trade names can only consist of letters and numbers. Other characteristics – such as colours or designs – can not be a trade name, but they can for example be a trademark. The purpose of the Trade Name Act is to prevent confusion among consumers, by preventing the use of misleading and confusing tradenames.