Vandermonde-subspace frequency division multi-plexing (VFDM) is an overlay spectrum sharing technique for cognitive radio. VFDM makes use of a precoder based on a Vandermonde structure to transmit information over a secondary system, while keeping an orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (OFDM)-based primary system interference-free. To do so, VFDM exploits frequency selectivity and the use of cyclic prefixes by the primary system. Herein, a global view of VFDM is presented, including also practical aspects such as linear receivers and the impact of channel estimation. We show that VFDM provides a spectral efficiency increase of up to 1 bps/Hz over cognitive radio systems based on unused band detection. We also present some key design parameters for its future implementation and a feasible channel estimation protocol. Finally we show that, even when some of the theoretical assumptions are relaxed, VFDM provides non-negligible rates while protecting the primary system.