Netherlands - Country Commercial Guide
Protecting Intellectual Property

Provides advice on IPR protection, including information on the registration of patents and trademarks.

Last published date: 2020-10-10

Several general principles are important for effective management of intellectual property (IP) rights in the Netherlands. IP may be protected differently in the Netherlands than in the United States. U.S. trademark and patent registrations will not provide IP protection in the Netherlands. There is no “international copyright” that will automatically protect IP throughout the world. Ultimately, protection against unauthorized use of IP in a country depends on the national laws of that country. Most countries, however, do offer copyright protection in foreign works in accordance with international agreements.

Patent and trademark registrations are generally granted on a first-to-file basis. It is vital that companies understand that intellectual property is primarily a private right and that the U.S. government cannot enforce rights for private individuals in the Netherlands. It is the responsibility of the right’s holders to register, protect, and enforce their rights where relevant by retaining their own counsel and advisors. Companies may wish to seek advice from local attorneys or IP consultants who are experts in Dutch law. The U.S. Commercial Service in the Netherlands can provide a list of local lawyers upon request.

In any foreign market companies should consider several general principles for effective management of their intellectual property. For background on these principles please link to the following article on Protecting Intellectual Property and, or contact ITA’s Office of Intellectual Property Rights Director, Stevan Mitchell at

IP Attaché Contact covering the Netherlands:

Susan Wilson

U.S. Mission to the European Union

Boulevard du Régent 27


Brussels, Belgium

+32 2 8115308