The Benelux Office for Intellectual Property (BOIP) is the official body for the registration of trademarks, designs and drawings in the Benelux. In addition, BOIP offers the possibility of recording the existence of ideas, concepts, designs, prototypes, etc. in the i-DEPOT.


Information that is valuable or even crucial for your business operations but that you cannot (yet) protect through intellectual property rights or for which the benefits of IP protection do not outweigh the costs, can best be protected by keeping it as secret as possible.


Copyright protects "works of literature and art". This not only concerns artistic works such as literature, film, music or visual arts. More common things such as texts and photos on a website or the design of objects, but also software and databases, can be protected through copyright.


A database is a systematically or methodically ordered collection of data in which the components form independent elements and can be consulted independently of each other.


A design is the three-dimensional appearance of a product. This appearance can be determined by different characteristics, such as the outline, the lines, the texture, the colours, etc.

Domain name

A domain name is the unique designation of a website. A domain name is not an IP right in itself, but it is connected with it because you can infringe IP rights of others, such as trademarks or trade names, by registering a domain name.


A design is the three-dimensional appearance of a product. This appearance can be determined by different characteristics, such as the outline, the lines, the texture, the colours, etc.


The European Patent Office (EPO) is part of the European Patent Organisation which was established in 1977 as an intergovernmental European organisation. The EPO's main activity is granting European patents, after having thoroughly examined them. The EPO is also responsible for examining oppositions filed against granted European patents.


The European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) is the European Union agency responsible for registering EU trademarks and Community designs.

Fixed date

A fixed date may serve as evidence for (1) confidential information for which you do not have IP protection, (2) non-registered IP rights such as copyright and unregistered designs and (3) previous use of technical information.

Flanders Innovation & Entrepreneurship (VLAIO)

Flanders Innovation & Entrepreneurship (VLAIO) is an organisation of the Flemish government for all entrepreneurs in Flanders. The agency stimulates and supports innovation and entrepreneurship and contributes to a favourable business climate. This is done in collaboration with numerous partners. The agency focuses on stimulating growth and innovation, promoting entrepreneurship, supporting clusters and improving environmental factors. By being a one-stop shop, Flanders Innovation & Entrepreneurship builds a bridge towards stronger entrepreneurship.

i-D Space

You can make an i-DEPOT public on i-D Space. There are several reasons for doing this. For example, to find partners for the development or marketing of your concept, format, software or innovative product or to let the outside world know that you are the originator of a creation. You can also use a disclosure on i-D Space to prevent someone else from applying for a patent or design right.


The i-DEPOT serves as legal proof that will help you to demonstrate that an idea already existed at a given point in time. The i-DEPOT is a product of the Benelux Office for Intellectual Property.


IP is the abbreviation of intellectual property and includes all "intellectual creations" made by people. It has to be something that someone has thought about, something for which an intellectual performance was necessary.


IPR stands for IP rights, or intellectual property rights. These are the rights you can acquire on intellectual property, whether or not by means of a registration. This concerns copyright, trademark right, design right, patent right, database right, plant variety right and semi-conductor topography right.


Organisation Mondiale de la Propriété Intellectuelle (OMPI) is the French name for the World Intellectual Property Organisation (see: WIPO).


The Belgian Office for Intellectual Property (OPRI) is a public service of the federal government and is part of the Federal Public Service Economy. The OPRI's general mission is to protect intellectual property in Belgium. The OPRI issues Belgian patents, supplementary protection certificates and plant variety right certificates, and it oversees monitoring of their continuance.


A patent is a temporary exclusive right to an invention with which you can prohibit third parties from using this invention. An invention is a technical solution for a technical problem. This can be a product, a process (method), an application or a combination of these.


PCT is the abbreviation for Patent Cooperation Treaty. This is an international patent application procedure at WIPO (see: WIPO) that makes it possible to apply for patent protection in more than 140 countries worldwide with a single filing.

Plant variety right

Plant variety right protects new plant varieties. It is important that the right is granted for a particular plant variety and not for a species.

Semi-conductor topography right

A semi-conductor topography right protects the design of a computer chip. This is determined by the three-dimensional pattern that is obtained by the interconnection of different layers that are stacked on top of each other.

Trade name

The trade name is the name under which a company trades and is therefore known by. The trade name may be the same, but also differ from the official company name under which the company is registered in the Crossroads Bank of Enterprises.


A trademark is a sign that a company uses to differentiate its products or services from those of its competitors. This can be a word mark (consisting of numbers and/or letters), a figurative mark (logo) or a combination. Sounds, colours or the shape of a product or its packaging can also be trademarks.

Unitary patent

The unitary patent, or the European patent with unitary effect, will provide uniform protection on the territory of the participating EU member states. When the unitary patent comes into force, it will be possible to apply for it at the EPO (see: EPO).


The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is an agency of the United Nations charged with the development of global systems to promote the protection of intellectual property. International applications for patents (PCT procedure), trademarks (Madrid system) and designs (the Hague system) can be submitted via WIPO.