Benelux: Netherlands

The Netherlands continues to see a proliferation of specialist IP boutiques, the best of which are gradually eroding the market share of the country’s old guard of business law practices: the establishment of Leeway is the latest and most significant manifestation of this trend. Another pattern in the Dutch trademark market is the shift – especially among general service firms – towards offering standalone prosecution services. This represents a shakeup of the traditional relationship between law firms and IP agencies, whereby the former concentrated on contentious and transactional mandates and the latter handled brand rights registration.

Firms

1
Brinkhof
De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek
HOYNG ROKH MONEGIER
2
Bird & Bird LLP
Hofhuis Alkema Groen
Hoogenraad & Haak, Advertising + IP Advocaten
Leeway
NautaDutilh
3
Allen & Overy LLP
DLA Piper Nederland NV
Hogan Lovells International LLP
KLOS cs
Ploum
Simmons & Simmons LLP
Taylor Wessing
Visser Schaap & Kreijger
AKD – one of the country’s largest business law firms – is best known for gilt-edged enforcement, although it also shepherds trademark-rich deals to close with assurance, and its recently developed prosecution capabilities add a further string to its bow. A member of the Interlaw Group, the practice is a fine choice for brands in need of seamless cross-border protection; with offices in Amsterdam, Breda, Brussels, Eindhoven, Luxembourg and Rotterdam, it offers comprehensive Benelux coverage too. Captaining the team is the “hands-on” Huib Berendschot, a pre-eminent figure in anti-counterfeiting and parallel imports work; having worked in-house for Unilever, he has a clear grasp of his clients’ priorities. Also at the forefront in the fight against fakes, the “excellent” Peter Classen has “an intricate understanding of soft IP issues”. Roderick Chalmers Hoynck van Papendrecht is an “up and coming trademark expert and a consummate professional”; he is equally proficient in contentious and licensing mandates.
Allen & Overy LLP
General service giant Allen & Overy is making huge strides towards establishing itself among the world’s foremost soft IP practices: Frits Gerritzen’s promotion to partner in the Netherlands mirrors major appointments elsewhere (most notably the acquisition of David Stone in London as the new global head of brands). A reliable ally for weighty transactions, Allen & Overy’s Amsterdam team also manages multijurisdictional disputes with aplomb. The “proactive and helpful” Gerritzen “goes to great lengths for his clients”; he acquits himself well before the courts and has a sterling record of obtaining ex parte injunctions and seizure measures from the Dutch Customs Service; his handling of negotiations is also assured. Gerritzen is a trusted brand advisor to Amazon, and lately assisted ING with its rebranding and licensing efforts. His colleague Jasper Klopper, who makes his first appearance in the WTR 1000 this year, dispatches contentious briefs with alacrity – especially in the online arena, where he has niche expertise. The pair recently acted successfully for Samsung before the Dutch Consumers’ Association; they also counsel Mitsubishi on its conflicts in the Netherlands.
Bird & Bird LLP
Bird & Bird provides a stellar comprehensive trademark service to many blue-chip brands. Taking a panoramic view of international matters, its soft IP practitioners also collaborate closely with other departments, providing illuminating guidance in complex cases where intellectual property overlaps with adjacent business law matters. “Highly skilled in both litigation and prosecution”, head of The Hague’s brand management team Manon Rieger-Jansen is “devoted, bright and insightful”. She has been representing Monster Energy in a slew of oppositions, recently acting for it against Unilever in the Court of Appeal of The Hague. Leading the national IP team, Wouter Pors executes superbly on contentious briefs; an acknowledged thought leader, he is the editor of Kluwer Trademark Litigation Smart Charts and is a prominent IP legal lobbyist. Together, Rieger-Jansen and Pors have been fighting Facebook’s corner in oppositions and domain name spats; they have also been working for Flügel in a cancellation action against Red Bull. Armand Killan is another mainstay, acting in enforcement matters for the likes of Nestlé and Ferrero. He is a member of the firm’s global steering committee and oversees the international IP group.
Brinkhof
Brinkhof ascends to the gold tier this year, following effusive market feedback and a significant expansion of its soft IP practice; having recently established a filing service, the firm remains most celebrated for top-notch litigation in headline-grabbing non-traditional trademark cases. Its recent successes are partly due to Gregor Vos, a former name partner at leading boutique Klos Morel Vos & Reeskamp, who joined Brinkhof in 2016. “Gregor has really put Brinkhof’s trademark practice on the map. Hugely experienced and with a nuanced understanding of his clients’ businesses, he also has a great courtroom presence and finely tuned strategic instincts. You can debate with him intelligently too, and he is always looking to reach a reasonable settlement.” The other staple of the firm’s IP department is Kurt Stöpetie, “a pragmatic problem solver and natural litigator, who fights his clients out of tricky situations. He is smart, clear thinking and a formidable opponent”.
De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek
An elite commercial law firm with a deep bench of 146 litigators, De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek has one of the largest IP departments in the country, with three partners, 15 associates and six support staff. Its specialists are prized for staunch advocacy in groundbreaking trademark cases before the Dutch Supreme Court and the European Court of Justice (ECJ); complicated cross-disciplinary disputes are another forte, as are brand-rich deals. “With expert professionals who see all aspects of a case clearly and always deliver outstanding quality work, De Brauw is a go-to firm for cutting-edge disputes where questions of jurisprudence are at stake.” The fulcrum around which the soft IP practice turns is Tobias Cohen Jehoram, an “undisputed expert whose head is a database of case law and who has written the major textbook on trademarks. If you have a must-win case, you go to him: he operates skilfully and creatively before the highest courts. Tobias is also great in negotiations: he understands his clients’ goals, and can break an impasse through a shift of approach or temperament.” Cohen Jehoram prevailed lately at the Dutch Supreme Court in a 3D trademark and copyright dispute for Stokke; he has also been leading several infringement proceedings for Royal Dutch Shell. Other recent highlights include negotiating two major licensing deals for Royal Philips. Another high-end practitioner at De Brauw is Koen Limperg, “an inventive and experienced lawyer who is valued by multinational clients”. He shines in all forms of dispute resolution: litigation, negotiation, mediation and arbitration; lately he has been kept busy representing TenneT before the General Court in a conflict with the UK National Grid over the trademark NORTHSEAGRID.
DLA Piper Nederland NV
With an enviable network of offices across Europe and beyond, DLA Piper handles weighty international brand protection mandates with poise. The firm’s crack team in the Netherlands is best known for its diligent trademark litigation. Among its sterling professionals is Niels Mulder, the practice head and an architect of many international enforcement campaigns: “first-rate in anti-counterfeiting matters, he knows how to work with customs and police authorities, and is driven to get results for his clients.” Mulder offers clear-sighted prosecution advice as well. Patent heavyweight Paul Reeskamp is another significant player on the soft IP side; the sharp-shooting litigator “is extremely thorough, and leaves nothing to chance. He works really well with associates too”.
Hofhuis Alkema Groen
Dynamic niche firm Hofhuis Alkema Groen continues to make waves in Dutch trademark practice. Boasting incisive knowledge of soft IP and adjacent issues, its supremely focused lawyers are trusted to disentangle the trickiest disputes; the firm represents Christian Louboutin in its famous red sole cases, including before the ECJ. “All three of its name partners are fine litigators, trained to a high level. They are approachable, practical and flexible. They are very determined and don’t leave any loose ends.” Having earned his stripes at De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek, Jesse Hofhuis is “like a pitbull – he gets his facts together and then gets his teeth into the problem, fighting hard to achieve the right result. Though formidable in court, he is also brilliant at reaching out-of-court solutions.” His colleague, the trademark, advertising and media aficionado Adonna Alkema is “outstanding. She knows her subject well and focuses on content, but is also very practical; she doesn’t make problems bigger than they are and will tell you if you don’t have a strong case. Alkema is easy to deal with and a superb adviser.” The other partner in the trio is Arnout Groen, another respected courtroom lawyer who is praised for his deep insight and wise judgement.
Hogan Lovells International LLP
Patrons flock to Hogan Lovells for its cradle-to-grave trademark services. Its versatile Dutch professionals cater for all IP needs and look at each brief in panoramic perspective; bolstered by colleagues around the globe, they have the resources necessary to serve major transnational clients. Leading the brand management team of four lawyers and two paralegals is Marc Wallheimer, a versatile practitioner who shines brightest in transactional matters. He has recently been entrusted with the management of Grolsch’s Benelux portfolio, and has been pursuing infringers of Deutsche Telekom’s T mark and magenta colour mark.
Hoogenraad & Haak, Advertising + IP Advocaten
Praised for its “practical mentality and accessibility to clients”, specialist practice Hoogenraad & Haak finds favourable solutions to the thorniest brand rights spats: it brings a sure touch to settlement negotiations, but is willing to provide robust courtroom representation when required. Having celebrated its10th anniversary last year, the firm – which has grown from four to 10 lawyers – boasts deep expertise in trademark and advertising matters, outperforming its rivals where the two overlap; detailed food and regulatory know-how is another valuable asset. Strategic sage Maarten Haak heads the team and distinguishes himself in challenging litigation briefs: “he has great legal knowledge and is also a fluent communicator.” As a former judge, he can weigh up the probability of success in each case. Haak lately represented Fashion Linq against alleged infringer Primark before the EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and the Court of The Hague. New client Jaguar Landrover also called on him recently to represent it at the Court of Appeal, following an unfavourable judgment before the Benelux Office of Intellectual Property. Making his debut in the WTR 1000 is Daniël Haije, a soft IP and comparative advertising whiz who has made a splash in several high-profile cases. Moïra Truijens, a 12-year veteran who has also enjoyed spells at Klos Morel Vos & Schaap and Brinkhof, also makes her first appearance in the guide. Her recent highlights include steady-handed negotiations in a complicated pan-continental dispute between her client Snow Benelux BV and Snow BV.
HOYNG ROKH MONEGIER
Offering cogent advocacy, clear advice and a truly cosmopolitan outlook, the IP-focused HOYNG ROKH MONEGIER is exceptional in contentious circumstances. One foreign associate comments: “The firm is of the highest quality; it’s like working with your own colleagues. Its lawyers are very commercial and add tremendous value. Very few firms have a truly European perspective on intellectual property, but HOYNG ROKH MONEGIER is one of them.” The ensemble is also lauded by clients for its “thoroughness, easy and efficient cooperation, and unquestionable expertise”. Gold-tiered Joris van Manen leads the department: “a determined, persuasive and aggressive litigator, he has an impressive courtroom presence. He is also very thorough, preparing every millimetre of a file, and is one of the most creative lawyers out there.” Van Manen recently secured a victory in the Court of Appeal against infringers of AkzoNobel’s SIKKENS trademark. Other recent highlights include winning an EU-wide injunction for H&M against products bearing the sign RAW Beat, and advising Supergroup on how to tackle parodies of its Superdry brand. Fellow disputes maven Frank Eijsvogels is especially strong when it comes to anti-counterfeiting briefs. Making her first appearance in the WTR 1000 is up-and-coming professional Laura Fresco, who made partner recently; she is “young and talented – intelligent, tough, well-organised and skilful at making her case”. She is presently representing Philips in a multi-jurisdictional dispute with retailer Aldi over electric shavers. Statesman and founding partner Willem Hoyng has exhaustive IP knowledge and remains a major influence on Dutch trademark law.
KLOS cs
One of the first-rate soft IP shops to emerge from the breakup of renowned specialist firm Klos Morel Vos & Reeskamp, KLOS is a compelling choice for litigation and counselling on tricky trademark and design rights questions. At the forefront when it comes to colour and 3D marks, its flexible, cohesive team is prized by many prestigious brands in the fashion, food, luxury furniture and sports sectors. The team is spearheaded by “fierce litigator” Sven Klos, one of the country’s most celebrated lawyers, who has an impressive track record before the highest national and EU courts; “aggressive and determined, and with the knowledge to back it up, he can fight you out of a corner. He is very persuasive – a great courtroom craftsman.” Klos recently won an injunction against Nike for Ajax Football Club, just hours before its UEFA Europa League final match against Manchester United. The seasoned professional is also preparing for the ECJ’s first-ever case regarding protection for the taste of a food product. He is flanked by Josine van den Berg, a far-sighted adviser and “top-notch advocate”; she is “smart, practical and easy to work with”. Van den Berg recently enjoyed a well-publicised victory for Kesenkaas against Smilde Foods regarding the likelihood of confusion between her client’s WITCHES CHEESE mark and the opponent’s White Women’s Cheese brand – the first Dutch trademark case purely concerned with conceptual similarity.
Leeway
If a flood of praise from peers and clients is anything to go by, newly founded boutique Leeway has quickly established itself as one of Benelux’s elite trademark practices. Stellar in dispute resolution, the firm also offers holistic brand development and protection advice. Its three founding partners share the ability to build longstanding client relationships: “Their level of service is excellent – highly professional and helpful. More than that, they are solutions oriented and see the bigger picture; their business understanding saves time, effort and cost.” Seasoned practitioner Remco van Leeuwen, formerly of Van Doorne, embodies these qualities: “a trusted adviser, he combines thorough legal and industry knowledge with brilliant strategic instincts”, handling a range of agreements for Yamaha and tackling infringers swiftly for Karl Lagerfeld. Formerly of Osborne Clark, his colleague Michiel Odink is another “smart, high-quality lawyer, who is responsive and flexible”; an expert in IP and media law, he expertly guides digital businesses and retailers around trademark pitfalls. Warner Bros seeks Benelux prosecution advice from Odink; AirBnB and Hema are also in his client roster. Adept in brand enforcement and commercialisation, Marga Verwoert completes the formidable team: “practical and clear-thinking, she knows how to find a settlement, but defends her clients’ interests tenaciously. She can boil a complex matter down to its essentials, and argues persuasively in court.” The fashion connoisseur is representing Top Streetwear against G-Star Raw in a Court of The Hague case regarding use of the RAW mark; she also been acting for Scotch & Soda in a Europe-wide spat with H&M, and advising NP Fashion on brand strategy and sponsorship deals.
NautaDutilh
Heavyweight commercial law firm NautaDutilh packs a punch in the Dutch IP arena; especially distinguished in litigation before courts and administrative bodies, it is also prized for its strategic counsel and even-keeled licensing work. Lynchpin Anne Marie Verschuur is “a magnificent lawyer who is incredibly smart and enjoyable to work with”; she is especially sought after by consumer goods brands. Flanking her is the multitalented Fleur Folmer, who was promoted to counsel in 2017. She diligently enforces rights and helps to stitch up complex transactions. Folmer successfully led Lacoste into battle against Pacogi Netherlands, upholding a verdict of confusing similarity between her client’s crocodile device mark and the word mark EAU CROCO on appeal. Richard van Oerle is an important ally for all manner of IP disputes; the litigation whizz is also a World Intellectual Property Organisation domain names panellist. A major recent win for him came when acting for Impliva against Senz in a multi-faceted conflict regarding aerodynamic storm umbrellas. Luminary Charles Gielen is one of the most influential figures in Benelux trademark law; a fountain of knowledge, the “outstanding lawyer” remains a major asset to the team. He lately fought Storopack’s corner in revocation proceedings initiated by Rivafoam, relating to the ‘S’ shape of filling material.
Ploum
The largest independent law firm in Rotterdam, Ploum has all angles covered for brand owners; highly regarded for its enforcement work, especially in anti-counterfeiting, it also files trademarks and shapes portfolio strategies for household names, such as Under Armour and Harley-Davidson. The team is “commercially focused, practical and good to collaborate with”; providing it with assured leadership is Willem Leppink, a “hands-on professional and common-sense counsellor who gets the job done”. A leading figure in the struggle against brand imitators and parallel importers, he works adeptly with customs and police officials: he has handled several hundred counterfeit matters for SanDisk since 2015, and also helps Honda to remove fakes from the market. Comparative advertising and marketing law are also strong suits; indeed, Leppink provides a 360-degree brand management service.
Simmons & Simmons LLP
Part of a global team of 60 IP lawyers, the Dutch IP department at Simmons & Simmons has the wherewithal to excel in the largest multi-jurisdictional instructions. Covering the A-to-Z of brand management needs, it offers a single point of contact for clients and sees each instruction through a commercial lens. Rising star Paul Tjiam – featured in the WTR 1000 for the first time this year – recently notched up a significant win for Samsung in a court case against Digital Revolution and 123 Inkt.
Taylor Wessing
With a dazzling track record in trademark litigation, Taylor Wessing in the Netherlands has recently developed an admirable standalone prosecution practice as well. The local IP team – formerly part of Dutch outfit Deterink – has seen its international instructions proliferate since joining the world-famous firm in 2015; the department now handles 2,500 marks across several jurisdictions, and fights valiantly for client rights in the courts. Leading light Maarten Rijks “has an acute business understanding and is very practical in his approach”. A “potent litigator with great communication skills”, Rijks is also highly valued for his hawkish anti-counterfeiting efforts. He was recently involved in a landmark ECJ case for Van Haren against Christian Louboutin regarding the latter’s red sole trademark; another highlight has been his representation of JPMC Investment Group in invalidity proceedings against the Kind Group before the EUIPO.
Visser Schaap & Kreijger
“Exemplary soft IP firm” Visser Schaap & Kreijger is called on for its intricate specialist knowledge, clear advice and flexible, pragmatic handling of litigation. Trademark, design and copyright sage Dirk Visser is renowned for the depth of his understanding and the rigour of his arguments; the University of Leiden professor is “academically brilliant, very professional and also a great orator in the courtroom”. He recently enjoyed a number of victories in a dispute between his client Fatboy and Massiv Air. Working alongside him in that matter was Jacqueline Schaap, a soft IP and media law devotee and former name partner at the illustrious Klos Morel Vos & Schaap. The “deft litigator and negotiator has vast expertise and an accessible no- nonsense approach. She tailors her advice to the needs of the client and works with great efficiency”. Lately, Schaap handled the well-publicised dispute between Bioworld Merchandising and Bioworld Europe – a case that could have a significant impact on both the relationship between the brands and their distributors, and also on the relative powers of national courts and the EUIPO. She is also defending BinckBank against infringement and false advertising allegations by Euronext.

Individuals

Jesse Hofhuis - Hofhuis Alkema Groen
Tobias Cohen Jehoram - De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek
Sven Klos - KLOS cs
Willem Leppink - Ploum
Kurt Stöpetie - Brinkhof
Joris van Manen - HOYNG ROKH MONEGIER
Gregor Vos - Brinkhof
Adonna Alkema - Hofhuis Alkema Groen
Huib Berendschot - AKD
Arnout Groen - Hofhuis Alkema Groen
Maarten Haak - Hoogenraad & Haak, Advertising + IP Advocaten
Hidde J Koenraad - Boekx Advocaten
Niels Mulder - DLA Piper Nederland NV
Manon Rieger-Jansen - Bird & Bird LLP
Remco van Leeuwen - Leeway
Richard van Oerle - NautaDutilh
Anne Marie Verschuur - NautaDutilh
Dirk JG Visser - Visser Schaap & Kreijger
Lars Bakers - BINGH Advocaten
Roderick Chalmers Hoynck van Papendrecht - AKD
Peter Claassen - AKD
Frank Eijsvogels - HOYNG ROKH MONEGIER
Fleur C Folmer - NautaDutilh
Laura Fresco - HOYNG ROKH MONEGIER
Frits Gerritzen - Allen & Overy LLP
Daniël Haije - Hoogenraad & Haak, Advertising + IP Advocaten
Armand Killan - Bird & Bird LLP
Jasper Klopper - Allen & Overy LLP
Michiel Odink - Leeway
Wouter E Pors - Bird & Bird LLP
Paul Reeskamp - DLA Piper Nederland NV
Maarten Rijks - Taylor Wessing
Jacqueline A Schaap - Visser Schaap & Kreijger
Diederik Stols - Boekx Advocaten
Paul Tjiam - Simmons & Simmons LLP
Moïra Truijens - Hoogenraad & Haak, Advertising + IP Advocaten
Josine van den Berg - KLOS cs
Evert van Gelderen - Clairfort Advocaten BV
Benjamin van Kessel - Nineyards Law BV
Marga Verwoert - Leeway
Marc Wallheimer - Hogan Lovells International LLP
Kriek Wille - Van Doorne

Individuals: anti-counterfeiting

Huib Berendschot - AKD
Frank Eijsvogels - HOYNG ROKH MONEGIER
Armand Killan - Bird & Bird LLP
Leonie Kroon - Dillinger Law
Willem Leppink - Ploum
Carja Mastenbroek - Dillinger Law
Niels Mulder - DLA Piper Nederland NV
Manon Rieger-Jansen - Bird & Bird LLP
Benjamin van Kessel - Nineyards Law BV
Joris van Manen - HOYNG ROKH MONEGIER

Luminaries

Charles Gielen - NautaDutilh
Willem A Hoyng - HOYNG ROKH MONEGIER
Koen Limperg - De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek
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Issue 72