Intellectual Property Rights

Working in Europe | Intellectual Property Rights, Research Landscape | Luxembourg

LUXEMBOURG: an IP-conscious country


Luxembourg has been proactive in developing its IP standards, and is party to all the major IP treaties and conventions. 

Luxembourg signed the European Patent Convention in October 1977, which established the European Patent Office (EPO).

The country is well aware of the importance of IP and thus offers a responsive and supportive environment to stimulate intellectual property management. Therefore, the authorities have created a safe environment for IP by implementing EU directives as well as international agreements and treaties.


© SIP, tous droits réservés


According to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the term ‘intellectual property’ refers to “creations of the mind: inventions, literary and artistic work, and symbols, names, images or designs used in commerce”.


Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) are a complex legal issue and laws regulating them can vary from country to country. Policies and practices should define sharing of ownership of the IPR generated between the researchers and the employers or any other third party (including commercial or industrial organisation). In the case of third parties, the ownership should be provided for under specific collaboration agreements or other types of agreement.

Intellectual property is divided into two categories:

1. Industrial property that mainly includes patents, trademarks, industrial designs, and geographic indications.

A patent is an exclusive right granted for an invention (product or process) that provides a new way of doing something, or that offers a new technical solution to a problem. Patents are generally valid in individual countries for specified periods (generally 20 years). They are granted by a national patent office (in Luxembourg the Intellectual property office, Ministry of the Economy) or a regional one (like the European Patent Office (EPO) or the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)). Patents confer the right to prevent third parties from making, using or selling the invention without their owners’ consent on the territories where they are protected.

A trademark is a distinctive sign that identifies goods or services produced or provided by an individual or a company. For Luxembourg, the Benelux Office for Intellectual Property (BOIP) gives the exclusive right to use the trademark within the 3 Benelux countries for a period of 10 years. A European trade mark offering protection throughout the EU can also be granted by the European Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO).

An industrial design refers to the ornamental or aesthetic aspects of an article. A design may consist of three-dimensional features or two-dimensional features, such as patterns, lines or color. The competent authorities to register an industrial design in Luxembourg are the BOIP, granting protection for the 3 Benelux countries, and the EUIPO, granting protection throughout the European Union with its Community Design.

A geographical indication is a sign used on goods that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation due to that place of origin.

2. Literary and artistic property, which includes copyright (literary works such as novels, poems and plays, films, musical works, artistic works such as drawings, paintings, photographs and sculptures, and architectural designs, software, etc.), as well as rights related to copyright. Software and databases benefit from copyright protection.


One of the key elements in the Luxembourg Government’s policy of adding value and support in the field of IP has been the creation of the Intellectual Property Institute Luxembourg (IPIL). Officially approved in August 2014, the IPIL gathers, within one place, both national and international expertise in identification, securisation, protection, exploitation and legal aspects of IP rights.

IPIL is actively involved in European networks and projects, e.g. as part of the consortium of the European IPR Helpdesk. This official IP service initiative of the European Commission provides free-of-charge, first-line advice and information on Intellectual Property (IP) and Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs). The service is targeted at researchers and European small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) participating in EU-funded collaborative research projects. In addition, it addresses SMEs involved in international technology transfer processes.

Legal texts

Most legal texts can be found at the Intellectual property office at the Ministry of the Economy:


Main institutions managing IPRs


• Intellectual property office, Ministry of the Economy:

• Intellectual Property Institute Luxembourg (IPIL):

• Benelux Office for Intellectual Property (BOIP):


• European Patent Office (EPO):

• Free patent information:

(free access to more than 90 million patent documents worldwide from 1836 to today)

• European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO):

• European IPR Helpdesk:

(official IP service initiative of the European Commission providing free-of-charge, first-line advice and information)


• World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO):