Our legal system applies the general principle of freedom to copy and trade. Copying competitors—or being copied—is allowed, as long as it is within certain limits. Law firm Nelissen Grade gives you an overview of the situations where copying is impossible. This can help you to protect your intellectual property and trade secrets better. Read more.
#1 From copyrights to patents to trademark rights
As a company, you need to protect your inventions and creations against copycats. You can do so with the laws concerning intellectual property protection. You can apply for a patent, claim your copyrights or protect distinctive parts of your brand. Thanks to various intellectual copyrights, your inventions remain in your own hands.
#2 Keep your know-how secret
Keeping your trade secrets secret is also crucial to the success of your business. Although these ideas, work processes or formulas are often intangible, you can still protect them. If your company proves that this know-how is not generally known or accessible and has a commercial value, you fall under legal protection.
Good to know | To benefit from this protection mechanism, your company must take measures, such as providing sufficient physical or digital security. You must also include confidentiality clauses in your employment contracts and consultant contracts. If these clauses are violated, your confidentiality is still guaranteed.
“Companies need to know they can protect their trade secrets so they don't simply lose the know-how they have built up over the years to competitors.”– Alexis Hallemans, NG partner
Nelissen Grade will thoroughly examine your situation.
#3 Prevent unfair competition with competition rules
Freedom of trade is a general principle: competing and poaching customers are, therefore, allowed in principle. But this does not mean that unfair practices are tolerated. Thanks to (European) competition law, every company must behave properly and diligently and not commit acts of unfair competition.
#4 Include confidentiality clauses in your contracts
Contractual clauses are a final way to protect your trade secrets or intellectual property. Inserting confidentiality clauses obliges your competitors to abide by these rules. Include these clauses in all contracts with your business partners. From suppliers to customers to competitors.
“Copying is allowed as a matter of principle unless it violates an intellectual property right or unfair competition rules. You can also contractually provide an extra layer of protection.”– Alexis Hallemans, NG partner
Law firm Nelissen Grade will assist your company in protecting your trade secrets.