Your protection is assured. You have protected the name of your product, service or company, or your logo, by registering your trademark. And you have registered your design, or you have recorded your idea in an i-DEPOT.
Now you have to maintain your trademark and design rights so they remain valid, and you have to monitor your rights to be able to take action against competitors who make unauthorised use of (counterfeit) your trademark or design.
Don’t allow your rights to expire
If you fail to maintain them, your trademark or design rights will no longer be valid. Here is how to prevent your rights from expiring:
- Maintain your trademark or design registration. You have to monitor these rights, use your trademark and keep everything up-to-date.
- Extend (renew) your trademark or design registration and the storage period of your i-DEPOT on time.
- Update your contact details.
Your design registration affords you the exclusive right to use your design. Competitors may not copy your design without your authorisation. You must look out for that yourself, however. In doing so, it is important that you renew your design registration on time and ensure that your contact details are up-to-date. Whether you are using your design or not is of no consequence with respect to maintaining your design registration. Select one of the following options for further information.
It is important to ensure that your details in the Designs Register, in particular your postal and e-mail address, are correct and up to date. The most common form of modification is of course a change of address, but there could also be cases where:
- the name of your company changes
- the correspondence address changes
- you transfer (sell) your design
- you grant (or wish to revoke) a licence
- you pledge your design to the bank (or wish to revoke a pledge)
- another party imposes a seizure on your design registration (or wishes to lift it)
- a representative has been changed or appointed (the representative will report this change or appointment).
You may also want to have your registration deleted from the designs register (cancellation). All of these aspects must be correctly recorded in the Designs Register for you to be able to invoke your rights.
Which modifications are not possible?
- The design itself can never be modified
- It is only possible to modify design registrations, not applications.
Renew design registration
A design registration remains valid for five years from the date on which the application was filed (filing date). The registration can be extended by five-year periods (renewal), up to a maximum of 25 years. This is provided by law. A fee is charged to renew your design registration. View the Fees
How do I renew my registration?
You must renew your design registration on time. We will send you a renewal message six months before the expiry date. Failure to receive a message from us for any reason does not render BOIP in any way liable. Timely renewal of your registration is your own responsibility. For this reason, be sure to inform us of any changes in your postal or e-mail address in good time.
A surcharge applies to renewing after the expiry date.
Keeping details up-to-date
Make sure that your details are up-to-date before you renew your design registration. It is not possible to modify the details during the renewal procedure. To report modifications, see the tab 'Modify design'.
Action against design infringement
What should I do if someone infringes my design right?
There are two conceivable situations:
- You have seen a conflicting, possibly infringing, design in the Benelux Designs Register
- You have discovered on the internet or elsewhere a conflicting design that is not listed in the Designs Register.
In either case, you can present your design registration to a court of law. If the court rules that the design is causing an infringement, it may issue an injunction against the use of the infringing design. As well as the injunction, you can petition the court to order the payment of compensation for damages and surrender of the profits (in the case of wilful infringement) and demand possession of the infringing goods.
In the event of a dispute about who the entitled party is in the first situation, it is also possible for the actual designer to demand possession within five years of the date of the registration being published (action for vindication). For the same reason, the actual designer can demand revocation of the registration and the design right, without any time limit (declaration of revocation). The action for vindication or revocation must be filed at a court of law. The action for vindication must be filed in the BOIP register. However, this amounts to no more than statement of the fact that a legal claim is pending.
If you discover a design infringement, the best course of action is to seek advice from an IP professional. It is advisable to have yourself assisted by an IP professional even if you take any action yourself.