zondag 25 april 2021

Intellectual Property and Genealogy

April 26th is World IP Day (IP standing for Intellectual Property) and so I thought this would be a nice opportunity to see how I could highlight intellectual property rights and at the same time still keep a focus on family history. For those of you who might not be very familiarized with intellectual property rights (IPRs), let me start by explaining briefly what they are...

Intellectual property relates to creations of the mind, like inventions and works of art, all of which can be protected under the law by means of patents, copyright and related rights, but also trademarks, domain names, design rights and many other types of rights such as database rights and integrated circuit layout design protection all belong to the big family of IP rights.

When I called on family members for help to see if they would be willing to share some of their "creations of the mind" that I could share on this blog, I must say I received an overwhelming response and the result is shown hereafter. I have tried to group all pictures by type of IP right. 



Let's immediately dive into the extremely broad field of copyright...  Copyright relates to literary and artistic creations such as books and poems, paintings, photographs, sculptures and songs. When we talk about related rights, we mean rights which are not necessarily granted to the author, but for example to parties involved in bringing the creation to life, such as a singer or musician who creates or recreates an expression of a song written by a composer. Similarly broadcasters and producers also enjoy related rights for their contribution in the value creation process.

If we now take all this and turn to the family archives, we can easily say that there have been and still are quite a lot of artists, creators and performers in the family, let's get through each category!


It seems particularly painting has been for a long time a favorite pastime for many family members! A selection of works is shown below, each time including the name of the artist and the year of creation (or estimate).

©️ Henri Brusten

These three paintings were all made by my grandfather Henri Brusten. The first painting (A) is dated 7 September 1946 and was made by Henri for his sister, Jeannie Brusten. 

Regrettably I don't have a date for the middle (B) and right hand (C) painting. The painting on the right (C) is an interpretation of "The Man with the Golden Helmet" by Rembrandt. I know that grandfather Henri also started working on a reproduction of the Night Watch by Rembrandt, however, I'm not sure he ever finished that one. 

©️ Hilda J. Sterckx

The above collection of ten paintings was made by my late grandmother, Hilda J. Sterckx, wife to Henri Brusten. These paintings can be dated as follows:

    Painting D : "Mountain landscape 1" - May 1988

    Painting E : "Vase with flowers" - Date unknown 

    Painting F : "Clown" - oil on canvas - May 1993 

    Painting G :  "Mountain landscape 2" - oil on canvas - 1991

    Painting H : "Lake with canoe at sunset" - oil on canvas - approximately 1985 

    Painting I : "White flowers" - oil on canvas - Date unknown

    Painting J : "Tree after sunset" - Date unknown

    Painting K : "River" - oil on canvas - 1991

    Painting L : "Landscape with tree" - 1985

    Painting M : "Flowers" - Date unknown

©️ Willem Brusten

The above six works of art were created by Willem Brusten, son of Henri Brusten and Hilda J. Sterckx:

    Pen drawing N : "Bottles" - 1972 or 1973

    Painting O : Reproduction of "Four Studies of a Male Head" by Rubens

    Painting P : "Horse head" - oil paint on canvas - 1974

    Painting Q : "Portrait" - oil paint on panel with only use of white and blue - 1977

    Painting R : "Girl in mirror" - oil paint on canvas, after a picture by David Hamilton - 1978

    Pen Drawing S : "Man looking up" - 1972 or 1973

©️ Greet Brusten

Also Greet Brusten, daughter of Henri Brusten and Hilda J. Sterckx, is an artist and created the above three paintings in acrylic paint in 2020 as a way of expression during the global COVID-19 crisis. The first painting depicts fear and uncertainty, while the second painting shows how artists from across the globe started to perform to inspire people to face the health crisis and keep going. The two performers shown in this painting are Raf and Mich Walschaerts, better known as the artist duo "Kommilfoo" and both grandsons of Hilda Sterckx, the older sister and godmother of grandma Hilda J. Sterckx (and yes, both sisters shared the same first name). The last painting is dedicated to healthcare workers across the globe fighting against the virus. This series of paintings was exhibited in the Sint-Augustinus hospital in Antwerp in 2021.

©️ Mark Burgess

The two above paintings were created by Mark Burgess, son of Doreen Burgess (née Holgate) and grandson of Helena Holgate (née Brusten). The painting on the left (T) was painted in 2020 and depicts the Damme Canal (Damse Vaart), the painting on the right hand side (U) was painted in 2011 in Oman from a photograph taken about 2005 of a scene near Bayeux, France.

©️ René Van Minnebruggen

Next painting in this series is the portrait shown above, which was made by René Van Minnebruggen and depicts his wife, Patricia Brusten. Also their oldest son, Tim Van Minnebruggen, happens to be a gifted artist as can be seen below.

©️ Tim Van Minnebruggen

Painting V : "Eagle Mountain’s" - acrylic paint on canvas - 2019

Painting W : "Bricks and stones" - acrylic paint on canvas - 2021

Finally, I include two sketches that I made myself, the first one showing my grandmother, Hilda J. Sterckx and the second one showing her mother, my great-grandmother Anna Hennebicq.

©️ Ewan Van Minnebruggen


Choreographies, but also also dance performances can be protected by copyrights and that's why I decided to include some pictures of dance performers into this post. The first picture is a dance performance in 1973 by Marc Brusten and his first wife Mariella earning them the championship title in D-class amateur dancing.  

Marc Brusten with his first wife Mariella

Henri Brusten and Hilda J. Sterkcx used to do ballroom dancing - I remember seeing them dance when I was maybe five years old or so. So this picture definitely gives me a flashback!

Hilda J. Sterckx and Henri Brusten

And finally a picture of my parents, Patricia Brusten and René Van Minnebruggen, also taking part in a dance competition. They actually met each other for the first time in dance class...

René Van Minnebruggen and Patricia Brusten


We do have a number of writers and poets in our family and, clearly, any work of authorship is protected by copyright. Any writings I was able to get my hands on, are in Dutch - and since I did not ask the authors for permission to translate these texts and I also do not wish to alter any of the original meaning of the words, I will add them in their original language.

The first text are the lyrics to a song written by Willem Brusten and his sister, Anne-Mie Brusten.

(©️ Willem Brusten and Anne-Marie Brusten) 

Een druppel glinstert in de zon
Op het blad van de boom
In de tuin van mijn oom
Als een parel die niet harder blinken kon
Langzaam rollend van het blad van de boom
In de tuin van mijn oom
Duwt de slak opzij …en gaat ze voorbij
Splits zich …….wanneer hij zich voegt    Bij de andere druppel
Volgend de nerven van het blad , Dat als een spiegel zo glad
Hangt aan de boom
In de tuin van mijn oom waardoooooor de wind spelend een weg baant en de druppel doet zakken
Tot aan het puntje van het spiegelglad blad
Dat dwarrelt naar beneden geschud van de tak
Door de wind en nu eenzaam ligt
In de goot
Zonder druppel
Want die is dood

Verloren tussen de anderen in de goot 

The next four texts are all written by Egwin Van Minnebruggen, another son of Patricia Brusten and René Van Minnebruggen.

©️ Egwin Van Minnebruggen

©️ Egwin Van Minnebruggen

©️  Egwin Van Minnebruggen

While we're on the subject of writers, it should be noted that also Rik Wuyts, son of Leen Brusten and grandson of Albert Brusten, is a writer who lives in Texas and has written a novel entitled "The wrong girl", which was published by AuthorHouse in 2014.


©️  Ewan Van Minnebruggen

As a final example copyright protected works, I include a number of photographs I made myself:

Picture 1 : Sun over Alicante, Spain - April 2018 

Picture 2 : Pink morning sky in Belgium - December 2016

Picture 3 : Sunrise over field in Belgium - March 2018

Picture 4 : Sunrise near Saverne, France - July 2017

Picture 5 : Evening in Liuzhou, China - October 2017

Picture 6 : Afternoon sun, Belgium - February 2016

I really haven't been able to find many trademarks that can be connected to our family history. One example would be "MARGA" which seems to have been a trademark used by the margarine factory of the Van de Venne family, which was the family of great grand uncle Herman Van de Venne, first husband to Marieke Brusten.

In other documents is specifically mentioned that in fact "Fleur dè Bruyère" was a trademark used by the margarine company in the Belgian village of Bree.


When it comes to inventions, I can refer to the patent that was filed in 1996 by the Belgian pharmaceutical company UCB, initially in the United States and subsequently extended to quite a large number of different jurisdictions such as  Australia and many countries in South America such as Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama and Peru.

The invention relates to a pharmaceutical composition for treating rhinitis and the first listed inventor is Herman Van de Venne, grandson of Marieke Brusten and her first husband by the same name. A fragment of the cover page of the U.S. patent is shown below.

Without a doubt I have missed many more creations that have first come into existence in the minds of family members. I hope by this day, next year, I will have gathered a whole new collection of IP protected works that can be tied to our family tree. For now I'd like to end with thanking all of the family members who have contributed to make this a collective family art exhibition. I sincerely hope you will all continue to be inspired and will continue to create works of art. For this generation and the ones yet to come!  

3 opmerkingen:

  1. Concerning the unfinished painting of the "Night Watch" bij Henri Brusten, he did not finish the painting due to an allergy he got, when getting older, for some products he used such as terpentine. He asked me to finish it, which I will as soon as my paint workshop is set up.

  2. Forgot to mention, nice work Ewan ;-)

    1. Thank you very much! And I always wondered what happened to that painting. Wish you all the best of luck with finishing it! Please send me a picture when it’s done :)