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WOIP-World Organization Intellectual Property

Intellectual property consists of products, work or processes that you have created and which give you a competitive advantage.

There are 3 subcategories:
  • Industrial property:inventions (patents), trademarks, industrial designs, new varieties of plants and geographic indications of origin.
  • Artistic work protected by copyright:original literary and artistic works, music, television broadcasting, software, databases, architectural designs, advertising creations and multimedia.
  • Commercial strategies:trade secrets, know-how, confidentiality agreements, or rapid production.

You can protect your intellectual property by means of the intellectual property rights (IPR) laid down by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WOIP).

The form of protection depends on the type of IP:
  • patents – allow you to stop third parties from making, using or selling your invention for a certain period depending on the type of invention.
  • trademarks – protect the name of your product by preventing other business from selling a product under the same name.
  • copyright – informs others that you (as the author) intend to control the production, distribution, display or performance of your work. Copyright is granted automatically, with no need for formal registration. You can start using the copyright symbol immediately.

If you do business in more than one EU country, a European Union trade mark and a registered Community design give you protection in the 28 Member States of the EU in one single registration. You can register your trade mark or design in any of 23 EU languages with a single application at the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO).

You can apply for a national patent at a patent office in an EU country or for a European patent through the European Patent Office (EPO). However, a European patent needs to be validated by the national patent office in each country where protection is required. Depending on the country’s law, you may have to provide translations or pay fees by a certain date. More information on costs and procedures from IP Offices in 30 European countries available here.

Community Trademarks

The Community trademark instituted with Regulation no. 40/94 of the EC Counsel allows to obtain with a single application a trademark valid in all the territory of the European Union.

International Marks

A trademark is a sign capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one enterprise from those of other enterprises. Trademarks are protected by intellectual property rights.


A patent is a set of exclusive rights granted by a sovereign state or intergovernmental organization to an inventor or assignee for a limited period of time in exchange for detailed public disclosure of an invention.

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