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IP MANAGEMENT AT E A R LY S T A G E S :


INTRODUCTION


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Many starting or emerging companies are eager to realize their dreams and to start developing and commercializing their new and innovative product or service sooner rather than later. Managing their intellectual property (“IP”) is often not the first thing on their mind and can moreover be confusing as well as intimidating. However, before disclosing any of your ideas, before launching your new product and even before engaging third parties to assist you with the further development of your product or the building of your first prototype, it is important to assess your IP rights and the value thereof. Why? Because preparation is key to success: failing to plan is planning to fail, as they say. Capital partners and investors might be knocking on your doors soon and the better prepared and protected you are, the more interest potential investors might show. If a young company is unable to demonstrate that it owns all the rights to its IP which is substantial to their business (model), potential investors will be less inclined to invest, in order to avoid the risk of losing exclusivity on an unprotected invention as well as the significant costs involved in litigating the defense in a possible IP infringement claim.

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The value of IP rights and the strategic management and use thereof can significantly enhance a company’s success. Such proprietary market advantage can serve a variety of purposes, such as the exploitation of IP rights by sales, license or co-brand transactions, the increase of your company’s valuation, raising brand awareness and thus product demand, establishing and maintaining a certain market position and reputation, enforcing IP rights against third parties to safeguard exclusivity. However, the exact value of IP rights is difficult to determine and depends on several factors. Moreover, except for copyrights and trade secrets, IP rights must be obtained from the competent IP office, which will assess compliance with the strict requirements. Even the smallest disclosure of your invention could destroy your chances of obtaining patent or design protection. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that also start-up or scale-up companies develop an IP strategy, determining whether the company owns all its IP and whether it is free to operate in this space without risking infringing other company’s IP. This brochure will provide a roadmap to navigate you through the various pitfalls when developing your IP strategy.


STEP 01


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As a start-up it is of utmost importance to optimally protect the technology at the core of your business. Although this is often considered a process of trial and error, this part may be the most essential element in the establishment of a company. In this phase, young entrepreneurs/ inventors will usually invest the most time, effort (with accompanying frustration) and money in their project. Therefore, it is recommended not to go about it too fast, despite the often by nature impatient researcher/entrepreneur with ambition. A start-up, just like an invention, is an organic process in which often new ideas emerge along the way, which can lift the initial idea or concept to a higher level.

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A start-up, just like an invention, is an organic process in which often new ideas emerge along the way, which can lift the initial idea or concept to a higher level.

When considering the protection of your technology, various IP rights (not only patents) are available. Given the broad variety of IP rights available to companies and individuals in Belgium, in the European Union in general and in the world, and the other business and commercial circumstances to be taken into account when developing an IP strategy, it might be difficult and confusing to know where to start. This section will give you a schematic overview of the most important IP rights, their main requirements and the most important considerations that are relevant when developing an IP strategy. In addition to the IP rights listed in the table on the next page, other specific IP rights or protection mechanisms exist in certain sectors, such as the sui generis database right, the plant variety rights and the right to data or market exclusivity for medicinal products.


Rights

Copyright

Trademarks

Pro’s and con’s no registration automatic a long duration free protection large geographical scope no formal document of registration only protects the specific expression no protection for concepts, ideas or trends rather cheap (depending on the geographical territory and the number of classes of the registration) clear scope of protection registered in the trade mark register can be expensive limited to a specific part (e.g. the name or logo) limited to a specific territory must be recognised by the relevant public as a trade mark

Duration 70 years after the decease of the author

10 years and unlimited renewable

protection for the appearance of all sorts of objects and products relatively easy to register (the offices generally do not examine the conditions on the merits) presumption of validity strict conditions no protection for characteristics with a technical purpose limited duration

Max. 25 years

Max. 20 years

Patents

strong protection for technical inventions interesting from a tax perspective requires investment requires disclosure of the invention long way to registration

Trade secrets

could be a very strong monopoly large scope of application forever protectable difficult to keep it secret; once disclosed, it can no longer be protected strict security necessary no protection against reverse engineering

Designs

Unlimited (until it is disclosed)


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Conditions

Examples

Originality A specific expression (and thus no protection for concepts, ideas or trends) No registration required

The appearance or specific expression of all possible objects, such as texts, pictures, drawings, manuals, music, paintings, …

Distinctive character Available (“first to file”) Not contrary to the public interest, good morals or other interests Requires registration with the Benelux or EU intellectual property office

Logos, slogans, colour (combinations), shapes, names, etc.

Novelty Own character Not exclusively determined by technical function Requires registration with the Benelux or EU intellectual property office

The shape of all types of objects (such as furniture, but also household appliances, such as vacuum cleaners, fryer machines, water kettles etc. and even industrial objects)

Novelty Inventive step Requires registration with the Belgian Office for IP or European Patent Office

For a variety of technical inventions, such as novel chemical compounds, a manufacturing method, etc.

Commercially valuable information (very broad) Being able to demonstrate that the secret is safeguarded

The design and development of a certain product, a secret marketing strategy, an unpublished production method, software programs, the recipe of Coca Cola, but also information that has commercial value such as client lists or price lists etc.


To fit the IP strategy in the overall innovation strategy professional guidance is often a must. (Expensive) patent applications are indeed only useful if the chance of utilization is realistic. Knowing which IP rights are available will allow you to determine which IP is best suited and most relevant for your product or service. Additionally, you should take into account that every phase of the production or development may require a different approach from an IP perspective: a dynamic approach is thus necessary. It indeed makes no sense to apply for IP protection, while there is no contractual framework to exploit or valorise it or when there is no budget to enforce it when infringement would have been committed.

Several questions should be asked when developing your IP strategy: What type of products or services are we dealing with? What type of products or services will be commercialised? E.g. it does not make sense to apply for a patent (which takes some time to obtain) for a product that will soon be outdated and replaced by another version. Which budget can be allocated for the registration and enforcement of IP rights? IP rights indeed require an investment, not only to obtain, but also to enforce. It is better to have one IP right that is actually enforced, than several IP rights that are not enforced due to a lack of budget. In which geographical territory will the company be active? In most cases it does not make sense to register your trade mark in Australia if you do not intend to have any activity there. Did third parties (employees, freelancers, investors, or other persons) cooperate in the development of the product or service and can they claim rights thereon? If so, you should make sure that you have obtained all relevant IP rights (see step 3). Only after a thorough assessment of all these factors, you will be able to determine which IP rights are relevant and most suited for your company. This is the first and maybe most important part of your IP strategy. To be clear, such IP strategy should not be a goal in itself. It is a means that should fit within an overall strategy, which is best captured at the beginning of the inno-


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vation process (the so-called innovation strategy). To fit the IP strategy in the overall innovation strategy, professional guidance is often a must. (Expensive) patent applications are indeed only useful if the chance of utilization is realistic. After all, there are also other possibilities for more valorisation. In some industries such as the biotech, patents play a very important role, in other sectors however patents play less or no role at all. The absence of patents therefore is no sign for insufficient knowledge utilization. Conversely, a large number of patents do not necessarily lead to good knowledge utilization. Even in the biomedical and biotech sector, evolution and the thereby used technology will increasingly lead to inventions that generate an analytical and diagnostic result and are embedded in Information and Communication Technologies (“ICT�), for which copyright protection is more suited. The border between patentable inventions and ICT will therefore also fade in these sectors in the future (think of nanotechnology). Professional advice on the best way to protect your technology will in most cases be essential.

profession on its own. Not only is this a technical document, but also a legal document on the basis of which a possible lawsuit will be based. Patent claims should thus be drafted accurately: on the one hand not too limited (so that they are easily circumvented), on the other hand not too general or too much in terms of the intended result (which may affect the resulting validity). The patent claims should also be supported by the description in the patent, as they will be interpreted by the judge in light of this. If this is not the case, there is a risk that a Belgian judge will invalidate the patent. Once again, the motto applies: good preparation is half the work.

For spin-offs of, for example, larger research institutions, such professional IP knowledge is usually internally present (for example through a Technology Transfer department). For independent start-ups however, external support may be necessary. Typically, the biggest mistake one can make is assuming that the inventor himself is best placed to write a patent application. Although the input of the inventor is extremely important, the drafting of a patent application is a

Moreover, the cost for developing a strong patent portfolio can also be reduced by focussing on specific markets. For example, it does not always make sense to request a European patent designating all member states of the European Union. Sometimes a company benefits more from concentrating on important and relevant markets (where, for example, the direct competitors are located), or where it is likely that the most chance of a patent infringement could exist. Based on such consideration, it can then be decided in which member states the patent will be registered. Finally, some countries like Austria have utility models. They are in fact unexamined patents, with which the holder thereof can still make competition difficult if such utility models exist on important sales markets or crucial production sites (e.g. by initiating summary or counterfeit seizure proceedings).


STEP 02


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When defining your IP strategy, certainly as a start-up, you should take into account the legal protection of trade secrets.

other hand, it should be noted that the “typical” IP protection mechanisms (such as a search and seizure procedure, as discussed in step 8 on enforcement of IP rights) do not (yet) apply to trade secrets.

Trade secrets (“confidential information”, “know how”, “business secret”, “proprietary knowledge”)”, are often referred to as the step-child of the IP family. Until recently, no specific rules relating to trade secrets existed. Since 2016, however, European legislation specifically relating to trade secrets entered into force and all member states of the EU should implement it in their national legislation. According to this legislation, a trade secret means all information which meets the following requirements: it is secret in the sense that it is not generally known among or readily accessible to persons within the circles that normally deal with the kind of information in question; it has commercial value because it is secret; and it has been subject to reasonable steps under the circumstances, by the person lawfully in control of the information, to keep it secret. Said differently, whereas other IP rights are protected by law only after publication, trade secrets are only protected when you can prove you have taken all reasonable steps to keep it a secret. Protection as a trade secret can be very powerful and valuable, certainly for a start-up or scale-up as there are no specific costs for obtaining legal protection, unlike patent protection, which requires an important investment. The costs that are required relate to the measures taken in order to safeguard the secrecy. Moreover, trade secret protection potentially has an unlimited duration (i.e. until the secret is disclosed). On the

When defining your IP strategy, trade secrets may thus be an important part of this strategy.

TIPS AND TRICKS RELATING TO TRADE SECRETS Only disclose on a need-to-know basis Educate and create awareness among employees and representatives Create an adequate and enforceable contractual framework (SEE STEP 4) – Employment contracts – Third party agreements – Non-disclosure agreements Be clear (internally and externally) about what is and what is not considered confidential (consider stamping or marking highly confidential documents with “CONFIDENTIAL”) Beware of any communication in public places Scrutinize the premises’ physical security (reception, meeting rooms, public areas etc.) Safeguard your online and electronical security (passwords requirements, protection of certain documents against downloading, smart cards or encryption, etc.) Test and document security measures Create a confidentiality “culture”


STEP 03


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The ultimate goal is, of course, to develop a strong IP protection, which will provide your company an exclusive position on the market by optimally exploiting its invention.

Based on the assessment of the available IP rights, you can decide on the IP strategy that is most suited for your company. The ultimate goal is, of course, to develop a strong IP protection, which will provide your company an exclusive position on the market by optimally exploiting its invention. These exclusive IP rights (in combination with the accumulated know-how) may also raise the interest of potential investors.

your own invention, try to obtain a license from a third party concerning a specific but not determinant aspect of the invention, or yet initiate legal proceedings in order to invalidate the patent of a third party (the ‘clearing the way’ principle). This last option is obviously the most drastic, time-consuming and therefore most expensive option.

However, before deciding on your final IP strategy, you should not only consider your own assets and services, but also the rights of third parties. This assessment, a freedom-to-operate or “FTO” analysis will in any event prevent that time and money is being invested in the development of a product (or process) that will eventually not be commercialized due to a possible risk of infringement of an IP right belonging to a third party. To be clear, an FTO often does not result in a black-andwhite analysis: there are often several possibilities to still avoid a possible infringement: as such, you can amend

The scope of an FTO analysis (and thus the cost price thereof ) should in any event be in line with the expected revenue. It does not make sense to have an extensive FTO analysis if you do not expect to generate lots of revenue or if the invention is only marginally relevant in the overall strategy of your company. Based on the assessment of the relevant IP rights and on the FTO analysis you can define your IP strategy.


STEP 04

When you have conducted an FTO analysis to avoid the infringement of third party rights and determined which IP rights are most relevant or critical to your company, you should ensure that your company will actually own these rights. When trying to enforce their IP rights lots of companies indeed realize that they do not own their assets and therefore cannot enforce their rights‌ A performant contract management will avoid such unpleasant surprises. If you work with other people (employees or freelancers) for the development of certain assets the assignment of IP rights usually requires a specific clause in the relevant agreement. Under some circumstances the assignment of IP rights is assumed by law, but in lots of cases, this is not the case: When an employee has created a design or software in the context of his or her employment agreement, the relevant legislation provides that the rights


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relating to the design or software are automatically assigned to the employer (unless otherwise agreed); On the other hand, when an employee has created a work protected by copyright, even in the context of the employment agreement, the assignment of the relevant copyrights to the employer requires a specific clause in the employment agreement. Without such clause, the copyrights remain with the employee; In most cases involving independent contractors or freelancers, no assignment is assumed. Only if the agreement specifically provides for the assignment of the IP rights, the IP rights will be assigned. Without a specific clause in the contractor agreement, your company will thus not own the relevant IP rights‌

TIPS WHEN DRAFTING AN ASSIGNMENT CLAUSE Make sure that your agreement contains an exhaustive definition of the relevant IP rights Clearly define the product or project in relation to which the IP rights are assigned Avoid any confusion on the nature of the assignment (do not use words as “license� if you intend to obtain full ownership) Clearly define the scope of the assignment (territory, duration) Impose an obligation to sign any document that may be required to establish the assignment afterwards

Moreover, it should be noted that some legislation provides for specific formalities relating to assignment clause to be valid. If these formalities are not met, the clause will be considered invalid

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and no IP rights assigned. Without a valid contractual clause ensuring that all IP rights are assigned to your company, you may end up paying for the development of a product, without owning the relevant rights. To avoid such outcome the company should make sure to have all necessary contractual arrangements in place, ensuring that all IP rights are assigned to the right entity. With regard to IP rights registered with an IP office (such as trademarks, designs or patents), you should moreover make sure that all rights are registered in the name of the right entity. If you have started as (an) individual trader(s), this means that you should ensure that all IP rights are registered in the name of the company once you incorporate your activities (unless you have good reasons not to do so, e.g. for tax purposes, but then you should draft the necessary license agreements). Failing to do so often results in conflicts when (one of ) the founder(s) leave(s) the company and IP rights are still registered in his or her name. The same goes if you acquire assets of rights from third parties: be sure that the relevant registries are updated and reflect the actual owner of the relevant IP right. If you have ensured that all IP rights are owned by and registered in the name of your company, the enforcement thereof (if necessary) will also be more efficient. The first argument invoked by defendants in IP infringement proceedings indeed often relates to ownership of the relevant IP rights (see Step 3 on enforcement of IP rights).


STEP 05

In addition to making sure that all IP rights are owned by the company, it is of utmost importance to safeguard the confidentiality of any valuable business information prior to commercialisation or during the commercialisation. A well-drafted non-disclosure agreement does not only protect your company from losing proprietary information and the accompanying market position or even market exclusivity but can also make or break the validity of certain IP rights (such as patents, designs or trade secrets). Indeed, as discussed in section 1 above, patents can only be obtained if the invention is considered new: this is an absolute requirement and the mere fact that a presentation on your product is publicly available is sufficient to refuse a


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patent. Before entering negotiations with potential investors or business partners, it is therefore of utmost importance to ensure the confidentiality of the discussions if you have not yet applied for patent protection. The same is true for trade secrets, as protection can only be claimed to the extent the trade secret holder is able to demonstrate that it has taken all reasonable steps to protect the secrecy of its know-how (see Step 2). It is generally accepted that having the necessary contractual provisions in place is an essential part of trade secrets protection. Before engaging third parties, hiring new employees, or discussing or pitching your idea or invention with potential investors, it is highly recommended to ask your potential contractor, employee or investor to sign a non-disclosure agreement. It cannot be emphasized enough that all parties to which any type of confidential information is disclosed, should be under a contractual obligation, allowing them to use the company’s confidential information only for the specific purposes described in the agreement, and in any case solely to the benefit of the company. In addition to making sure that all possible recipients of confidential information have signed a NDA, it is furthermore important to keep the signed copies safely stored in an (online) data room to make sure that a company knows who is under which commitments. The core of every NDA is a two-part

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TIPS WHEN DRAFTING AN EFFECTIVE NDA Clearly identify the parties to the agreement Draft a well-written definition of confidential information (and avoid circular reasoning, such as “Secret information” (hereafter “Confidential Information”) shall mean all information which is not publicly disclosed) Make sure that publicly available information falls outside of the agreement Clearly provide how long the cooperation and the confidentiality commitment will last Determine what happens after the termination of the agreement Provide for a clear commitment to destroy or return the confidential information after termination of the cooperation Make sure to have a sufficiently deterrent enforcement clause

(mutual) or unilateral obligation of the receiver of the confidential information to keep the information secret and to only use for the specific purposes described in the agreement. Some NDA’s go even further and include a non-compete commitment. In any case, the recipient will have to commit to take all reasonable steps to safeguard the information and treat it as if it were its own confidential information.


STEP 06

When defining your IP strategy, due account should also be taken of the fact that there are several ways to valorize your IP rights. As IP rights grant you a legal monopoly (relating to a sign, an invention, a work, a design etc.), you can choose whether you want to exploit them yourself or whether you involve third parties, allowing them to enjoy the legal monopoly in return for compensation. Of course, you can combine both options in order to maximize the return on investment. As such you can choose to exploit your IP rights in a certain territory or a certain sector yourself, allowing third parties to use your IP rights in another territory or sector. Allowing third parties to use your IP rights may thus result in a steady source of license fees for your company: when defining your IP strategy, you should therefore bear in mind this possible source of income. Most start-up or scaleup companies do not consider this form of valorization of their IP rights, focusing on the costs of the registration.


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When involving third parties, you should enter into a license agreement, which will define the rights granted to the licensee. When negotiating such license agreement, you should take into account that specific rules relating to the validity of these agreements may apply, depending on the type of IP right that is the object of the license agreement. As such, a license agreement relating to a patent should be in writing to be valid and should be registered with the relevant registries. Moreover, competition rules may be applicable. Before finalizing a license agreement, it is therefore recommended to have it reviewed by an IP professional to ensure that it is valid. In any event, apart from the usual elements when drafting an agreement, following elements should be taken into consideration when negotiating a license agreement:

What about improvements made by the licensee? Are the rights relating to such improvements automatically assigned to the licensor? Does the licensor obtain a free license? What warranties relating to the validity of the IP right are given? Who will enforce the IP rights when third parties are infringing these rights? To what extent is the licensor entitled to audit the books in order to verify the amount of royalties?

Clearly define the IP rights that are object of the license agreement (e.g. patent right with or without related know-how) Clearly define the territory (e.g. the impact of Brexit on EU wide licenses) or sector Is it exclusive, co-exclusive with the licensor, or nonexclusive? You should know that under most IP rights, exclusive licensees have specific rights (e.g. to enforce the IP right under certain conditions). Depending on the circumstances, this may have an important impact on the licensee fee. How is the license fee calculated? A lump sum or royalties based on actual sales? Is the licensee entitled to grant sublicenses? Does the licensor have any veto rights?

This non-exhaustive list shows that various elements should be considered when drafting a license agreement.


STEP 07

In addition to providing a strong IP portfolio that safeguards the exclusive position of the start-up, some IP rights also provide significant tax advantages in Belgium. As of the fiscal year 2008, companies could consider 80% of the gross income to be exempted from corporate income tax, leading to a reduction of the effective tax rate for such an income to a maximum of 6.798% (20% of the normal corporate tax rate of 33.99%). The aim of this patent income deduction – resulting in a decreased tax burden – was to stimulate innovation through research and development and to encourage its protection through patents. This regime only applied to patents, excluding other IP rights. Moreover, companies had to wait for the acknowledgment of the patent before being able to apply the deduction. Consequently, adjustments were needed. On request of the OECD, Belgium has abolished the patent income deduction regulation and has replaced it with the innovation income deduction. A transitional arrangement was foreseen,


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which allows companies to continue applying the old regime, under certain conditions, for five more tax years (until 2021). This means that companies can still apply the patent income deduction until 30 June 2021 for self-developed patents applied for before 1 July 2016 and for improved patents and licenses on patents that were acquired before that date. For patents acquired from third parties, the deduction is limited to the obtained margin.

or arbitral decision, a court settlement or an insurance contract, are considered as innovation income under the tax regulation. Also, the selling price of the product or service that comes from the patent or any other IP right is considered as innovation income, which is new compared to the old regime. It is noted that the tax deduction for the innovation income applies for Belgian companies and Belgian establishments of foreign companies.

The new regime, the innovation income deduction, retroactively applies from 1 July 2016. The new regime is improved and has a broader scope.

Lastly, the deduction of the new regime has increased from 80% under the old system to 85% under the innovation income deduction. The deduction applies as of the patent application (instead of the actual granting of the patent).

First, also other IP rights are now taken into consideration, such as plant variety rights, data or market exclusivity, and copyright-protected software. The right to use the intellectual property is sufficient. A contribution made to the joint development of an intellectual property gives the right to apply for the innovation income deduction. The new deduction can be applied regardless of the country where the product, service or process is protected. A patent or any other IP right may also be granted outside of Belgium or the EU. However, the incomes from branding (like e.g. the name or logo to distinguish a product of a service) do not qualify for the deduction, in view of the mainly marketing objective (instead of actual innovation). Also, utility models are not eligible for the innovation income deduction. Second, received license fees (granted by the company), compensation to a judicial

The innovation deduction can still be combined with the dividend received deduction “ DRD ”, notional interest deduction (remains in force although in limited form), investment deduction (temporarily increased from 8 to 20% for investments done in financial years 20182019), and deduction for previous losses. Apart from these important advantages mostly related to patents, a specific regime is also applicable to copyrights, which are subject to lower income tax rates. These important tax advantages should as well be considered when developing your IP strategy.


STEP 08

Finally, when developing your IP strategy, you should of course also consider your enforcement strategy. Depending on the sector or territory, you should make sure that you have all tools in order to enforce your IP rights. As such, you should ensure that you have the necessary IP rights in the core territories where infringement may originate (e.g. country of manufacturing of your main competitors) or may be marketed. On a Belgian and EU level the legislator has provided for effective rules and procedures that will allow you to enforce your IP rights. As in all aspects of life, a stitch in time saves nine. Therefore, by way of preventive action, we recommend filing a request with the customs asking them to

stop any goods suspected to infringe your IP rights from entering the EU. The EU legislator has indeed put in place a strong legal framework for the enforcement of IP rights at the external border, which may prevent infringing goods from entering the EU. If you are confronted with infringement, several tools are at your disposal to enforce your IP rights. First, you may consider filing a criminal complaint in order to stop the infringement. Under Belgian law, infringement is in most cases indeed a criminal act, which may result in important fines and (eventually) imprisonment. In the context of criminal proceedings, you can obtain compensation in order to repair the damages from the infringement. Such criminal complaint may be considered


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in case of effective counterfeiting by criminals (e.g. copying of well-known trade marks in the cosmetics industry) or if you do not know the source of the infringement. However, if you file a criminal complaint you no longer control the legal action as it is up to the Public Prosecutor to prosecute criminal proceedings. Apart from criminal proceedings, you can of course always initiate civil proceedings in order to enforce your IP rights. The Belgian legislator has recently updated all IP related legislation in order to have an effective legal and procedural framework in place. Apart from ‘normal’ proceedings on the merits (which may take up to one year in first instance) and preliminary injunction proceedings (“kort geding” or “référé”), also accelerated proceedings on the merits are available: in the context of these proceedings (which follow the rules of the preliminary injunction proceedings), you can obtain an injunction order on the merits, ordering the infringer from ceasing all infringing acts. Within a few weeks up to a few months, you can thus obtain a final cease and desist order from a court, including the recall and destruction of all infringing goods. Only if you want to obtain full damages classic proceedings on the merits should be initiated. Moreover, specific injunctions against intermediaries, such as transporters or internet service providers are also available in case the infringing party is not known.

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Finally, some kind of discovery procedure is available in most cases of IP infringement. Under Belgian law you can indeed initiate ex parte proceedings (i.e. without hearing the other party) in order to have an independent expert appointed who will have the authority to search the premises and obtain all information necessary to establish an infringement of IP rights. This court appointed expert then must file a report, which may provide you with all necessary information to initiate infringement proceedings. Within the context of these proceedings (“saisie-contrefaçon” or “beslag inzake namaak”) you cannot only obtain description measures (the appointment of an expert who will draft a report) but also actual seizure measures (the seizure of the infringing goods found during the proceedings). The threshold to obtain these measures is rather low and therefore an excellent tool for IP owners to enforce their IP rights. In view of the above, the enforcement strategy should be a part of your IP strategy.

This brochure has been produced jointly by essenscia, ICC Belgium and Crowell & Moring. All texts, layouts, designs and elements of any kind in this brochure are protected by copyright ©. Extracts from the text of this brochure may be reproduced for non-commercial purposes only, provided that the source is specified. essenscia, ICC Belgium and Crowell & Moring – Brussels Office disclaim any liability for the content of this brochure. It is not intended to be an exhaustive roadmap to protect the reader against potential IPR infringement risks or mitigations. The information provided: – is exclusively of a general nature and not geared towards the specific situation of any individual or legal entity; – is not necessarily complete, accurate or up to date; – does not constitute professional or legal advice; – does not replace expert advice; – does not provide any warranty for secure IP protection.


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IP Management at early stages: A roadmap for innovation  
IP Management at early stages: A roadmap for innovation  
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