A good idea. It is the beginning of everything, and yet so fragile and fleeting. How many ideas do not pass through our practice every day: for mobile applications, technical inventions, businesses with a creative purpose, and once in a while for world peace. But how do you protect that genius inspiration? Let’s go straight to the door: an idea cannot be protected. The law requires you to be able to present a concrete form or ‘externalization’ of your idea. Think of a logo for your company, a concrete and original form of your copyright creation, a prototype or diagrams of your invention, and so on. However, the basis of everything is the simple but legally very fragile idea.

That is why the Benelux Office for Intellectual Property has created the so-called i-DEPOT. With an i-DEPOT you can have your idea recorded, pending the concrete elaboration of your concept, creation or prototype. The i-DEPOT provides you with an official piece of evidence, as it were, provided by a reliable body that guarantees its authenticity. Although the i-DEPOT does not protect your idea, it does offer a powerful means of proof that you have conceived or designed something.


Have you come up with a storyline for a film or book or do you have a certain melody in mind? The concrete elaboration is of course automatically protected by copyright. But what if you have not yet worked out this idea in concrete terms? In order to prevent others from running with your idea, you can have it recorded in an i-DEPOT. In this way, you will obtain an official certificate of proof with which you can prove that you came up with the idea in question.

Trade secrets

Trade secrets and know how are invaluable to a company. That’s why you should enter into a non-disclosure agreement with your employees. If they do reveal the secrets, you can sanction them for this. But what happens to your business secret once it is made public? To prove that you were the first one, you can also have company secrets and know how recorded in an i-DEPOT.

Designs or invention

Are you a designer of a new clothing line? Or do you have a new design for furniture, but are you still not sure whether a registration is useful? Or do you have a genius invention but don’t want to patent it (yet)? Then you can already secure the designs with an i-DEPOT. This way you can prove that you were the first one and you’ll be stronger when others want to be ahead of you with a registration.


The source code, but also the graphical elements and how they are presented (the entire “look & feel”) of a software application are protected by copyright. However, once again the question arises: how to prove that the source code was your creation, other than by publishing it openly and naked somewhere? Here too, the i-DEPOT offers an efficient and inexpensive solution.