An i-DEPOT is a means of proving that you developed a product, concept, service, process or company. This is useful in the event of a dispute as to who was the first to devise a creation.
You can use an i-DEPOT certificate as proof for various purposes and with respect to various intellectual property rights.
You have an idea, for example, for a book, a game or a (marketing) campaign. You cannot protect the idea as such. If you go on to express it in tangible form, it may qualify for copyright. Copyright is free of charge and is automatically yours if your work is original and bears the personal mark of the author. You do not have to register it.
If you are going to go public with your idea, it may be wise to first log it in an i-DEPOT. This gives you official proof of the fact that the concept was yours on a specific date. This may serve as proof if a dispute arises about who the originator is.
i-DEPOT Trade Secret and Know-How
You have developed a manufacturing method or a recipe and no one outside your company is in a position to ascertain how the product or process works. Or you have information which you do not want to fall into the hands of a competitor, for example accounting records or customer databases. You can designate them and protect them as a trade secret.
To be in a position to take legal action, for example in the event of theft, it is important that you keep your trade secrets confidential and actively protect them. You can do so by means of non-disclosure agreements or non-competition clauses and by storing them in a digital safe-deposit box, such as an i-DEPOT.
An i-DEPOT can serve as official proof that the information was in your possession on a specific date.
You have developed a product or design. Most designs, from sketch to final design, fall under copyright. Copyright is free of charge and is automatically yours if your work is original and bears the personal mark of the author. You do not have to register it. Designs with a short lifespan, such as clothing designs, may also qualify as Unregistered Community Designs, a design right which is free of charge and automatically yours. It does not have to be registered and is valid for three years from the date on which you make your design public. You can only take action against deliberate counterfeiting using an unregistered design right.
If you are going to present your design at a trade fair or enter into an agreement with a potential manufacturer, partner or financial backer, it may be wise to first record the design in an i-DEPOT. This gives you official proof of the fact that the design was yours on a specific date. This may serve as proof if there is a dispute about who the designer is.
i-DEPOT Music and Media
Copyright can apply to music, photos and film. Copyright is free of charge and is automatically yours if your work is original and bears the personal mark of the author. You do not have to register it. A separate copyright may apply to both text and music, provided that it is original and tangible. This means that its existence must be logged somewhere.
Films and video productions are often the work of several creators, for instance both the director and the screenwriter. To avoid disagreements, it is wise for creators to make agreements in writing beforehand.
Submitting your lyrics, script or music for inclusion in an i-DEPOT can help resolve possible disagreements regarding authorship.
Trademarks can also play a role in protecting music or media.
You have developed an app or game for a client. The client would like to have the source code of the software in order to be able to adapt it themselves. The work was bespoke after all. Of course, you do not want to just give the source code away, but you do want to be able to guarantee your client that they will be able to use it.
You can store the source code of the software in an i-DEPOT. The i-DEPOT can help guarantee your client continued, uninterrupted use of the software even if you are no longer able to meet your obligations.
Provided that they meet certain conditions, the source code and graphic interface of apps and games qualify for copyright. Unlike the Netherlands, in Belgium specific legislation protects computer programs. This legislation applies alongside copyright. Read more on the FPS Economy website.
A patent protects an invention of a technical product or process. Are you planning to approach future financial or business partners with an idea for an invention? Bear in mind that the invention must be novel to be patentable. If you make your invention public before the filing date of your patent application, your invention will no longer be patentable.
The i-DEPOT can prove that you were the first to invent a technical product or process. This can give you some freedom when negotiating with a potential partner. You can record the number of your i-DEPOT in a non-disclosure agreement. If a potential partner then discloses your invention, you will be in a position to prove that they breached the agreement.
Once you develop your invention to make it tangible, you can take the next step and patent it.