Last week we teamed up with Flanders DC, Voka, VLAIO and Innovatiecentrum Vlaams-Brabant for a session on how to protect your IP and even benefit from fiscal gain. As the event quickly reached full capacity and not everyone was able to attend, here’s a quick summary.
During the first part of the session, Veronique Pede from Cape IP Law focused on protecting your IP.
- Simply relying on copyright law (no registration needed, expires 70 years after death of the author), isn’t enough. It’s highly recommended to protect your IP by registering your brand (valid 10 years, infinitely renewable) and your model (valid 5 years, 5 times renewabThale).
- Patents are the queens of IP rights and cover your idea for 20 years. Unfortunately, software isn’t always accepted by Europe unless it delivers a clear technical contribution or effect.
- The rights are owned by the creator, but transfer to the company automatically when software is created by an employee or a freelancer specifically assigned with the creation.
- IP rights go both ways: make sure you have clearance to the rights before using a third party creation.
- The best way to tackle copyright infringement is to gather as much formal evidence as possible and always try to settle outside of court.
The second part of the session was hosted by Hendrik Putman of Mythra Advocaten, who explained you can use your IP to gain tax benefits.
- Classic IP taxation comes in at 15% opposed to the standard 50%. Keep in mind that there are certain (volatile) limitations. Always consider a fiscal ruling if you’re uncertain.
- Innovation discount no longer requires a registered patent. The system is applicable to “copyrighted innovative software” but due to legal complexity of video games there are no guarantees for game development.
- Innovation discount is highly interesting yet complex for a smaller company. Legal assistance will be paramount.
- Golden rule: make sure your revenue is high enough before implementing innovation discount.
The full presentations of both Veronique Pede and Hendrik Putman can be found on our website. We suggest you use them as guidelines and strongly advise you to contact legal experts if you want more specific assistance on these subjects for your company.
A special thanks goes out to all partners for making this event possible, the speakers for their valued input and all attendees for their undivided attention.