Welcome to Penrose IP-rights and trade secrets
Penrose specialises in Dutch intellectual property (IP) law. Penrose advises on and litigates issues regarding the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights in the Netherlands, such as copyright, trademark and trade name rights and infringements. Hereafter, we discuss some of the Dutch law IP rights that we encounter on a daily basis.
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When am I entitled to copyright?
Copyright is the exclusive right of the creator of a work to determine how, where and when a work is or can be made public or reproduced. ‘Works’ may include books, paintings, music, photographs, films, consumer items as well as software, structures and websites designs.
Copyright arises by operation of law at the time of creation of the work and is not subject to any other formalities such as registration. Nevertheless, it is advisable to properly document authorship and the moment of creation. The transfer of copyrights requires a written instrument, such as a deed or agreement. The same applies to the acquisition of an exclusive right of use (i.e. an exclusive licence).
The copyright notice, ©, can be used to indicate that copyrights are reserved, together with the year of creation and the name of the creator or entitled party.
Software development often involves copyrights. A complicating factor may be if the software is developed within a joint venture or by an IT supplier. More information about this topic is available here.
How do I obtain a trademark right?
A brand is often the name or logo applied to a product or service to make it stand out from other products or services. Next thereto, also colours, shapes and sounds can be registered as trademark. The main requirement for obtaining a trademark right is the requirement of ‘distinctiveness’.
A trademark right can only be acquired by registering the sign in a trademark register. A registered trademark is initially valid for ten years, but can be renewed indefinitely by ten-year periods.
A trademark right offers a relatively high level of protection. The trademark owner may oppose to the use by another party of, for example, an identical or extremely similar sign for the same or similar products or services, where this creates a likelihood of confusion for the public.
What is a trade name?
A trade name is the name a company uses within the course of trade. Contrary to popular belief, a trade name right is not created through registration with the Chamber of Commerce but through use of the name. This includes use on business cards, on the front of the business premises and on a website.
Dutch IP and trade secrets specialists
At Penrose, IP lawyers work with you and answer any questions you may have concerning, for example, the protection and infringement of intellectual property rights. Our IP specialist’s contact details are available here.