18 December 2019

No copyright registration, what now?

Please note! You can't register copyright because this automatically arises if your work is sufficiently creative and original.

We are often contacted with a request for registration of copyright on a particular creation. Unfortunately, in that case, we have to inform that copyright cannot be registered. However, this does not always mean the end of the conversation. Experience shows that in the event of further enquiry, it often appears that what the client wants to protect can still be protected by registration of a different intellectual property right (e.g. as a trademark or as a model).

There are many different types of intellectual property rights but not for all intellectual property rights registration is required. So which intellectual property rights can be registered?

Have you designed a product with a specific name, applied your company name to products and/or do you have a logo for your company? Then there is a chance that you can register this (company) name and/or logo as a trademark. A trademark must have a distinctive character and should therefore not be descriptive for the products/services for which the trade mark is used.

Have you designed a designer chair or a new device for example? Then it is possible that the appearance of that chair or device can be eligible for protection by design rights and can be registered as a design. In order to register a design, the design must be new and must have its own character. In addition, the appearance to be protected by the design right should not be technically determined.

Please note! In some cases, the design rights may also be exercised if that design is not registered. As soon as a model meets the requirements mentioned above, it is eligible for protection by design rights. These rights can be invoked for the first three years after the design has been made available to the public within the EU. These rights arise without registration (i.e. automatically), but are limited: they can only be invoked in the event of counterfeiting.

Patent law
Have you designed a product with a technical function or have you developed a new production process? Then it is possible that your product or 'invention' will be eligible for patent filing. In order to file a patent, the invention must be new, involve an inventive step and are susceptible of industrial application.

In this article you can find a brief description of the ways, in addition to the non-registerable copyright, your creation can be protected from (unlawful) use by others. It is more common that copyright does not provide the only protection for a creation. In many cases, several intellectual property rights can rest on one creation. Another option would be to protect your creation by signing a confidentiality statement with, for example, a party that wishes to invest in your creation or potentially wants to exploit it. However, in practice, the situation is usually not as straightforward as mentioned in this article. Therefore, it would be wise to contact a specialist if you want to explore the protection possibilities for your creation. You should also consider whether you expect your creation to be copied by others and whether it represents a certain value.

Are you familiar with the above? Please contact one of our specialists!