Intellectual property is a relatively specialised field. Numerous practical and legal aspects have an impact on the success of the protection of your creation. Furthermore, you must accomplish certain administrative formalities in Belgium or in other countries to obtain certain intellectual property rights. And it is not so easy to protect yourself against accusations of counterfeiting from a third party.
In many cases, you will need a specialist to deal with these matters. Some are specialists in copyrights, trademarks, patents or one of the other intellectual property rights.
It is not always easy to know who to contact at first. A certain number of government authorities, such as the Belgian Office for Intellectual Property, are available to provide free information on your options, but you are the one who must make the final decision. This will depend on the type of advice you are looking for. To bring certain procedures before a court, you must contact an attorney, whereas to file a European patent request, it is better to contact an accredited patent agent.
All of these persons – trademark or patent agents or attorneys specialised in these fields – can give you useful advice, help you file and monitor patent requests or help you defend your intellectual property rights.
You will find a list of specialised lawyers from the Bar Association.
When dealing with patents, you will often need the services of an official accredited patent agent.
While not compulsory, you may receive assistance from a trademark or design agent for trademark and design requests. These titles are not officially recognised; you can find a list of names in the Yellow Pages (for example). Similarly, lawyers can provide services related to trademark and design protection.
You can find a list of names of firms and agents who are members of the Benelux Association of Trademarks and Design Law at www.bmm.be. Agents who are officially recognised by the European Patent Office (EPO) may be found on the OHIM website.