Benelux: Netherlands

A striking new development to have emerged in the Netherlands of late is a notable decline in the number of trademark-related suits being filed since the introduction of refund measures which require the losing party to refund its opponent’s legal costs in full. Given the relatively low fees charged by the country’s lawyers, the Netherlands was previously an attractive forum for litigation; however, the new rules have raised the stakes for those taking disputes to court. As a result, arbitration and early settlement have become increasingly appealing alternatives. The market continues to be dominated by local and specialist firms, but there have been several realignments following the momentous split of gold-tier boutique Klos Morel Vos & Reeskamp.

Firms

1
De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek NV
HOYNG ROKH MONEGIER
2
Bird & Bird LLP
Brinkhof
Hofhuis Alkema Groen
NautaDutilh
3
DLA Piper Nederland NV
Hogan Lovells International LLP
Hoogenraad & Haak, Advertising + IP Advocaten
KLOS cs Attorneys at Law
Ploum Lodder Princen
Simmons & Simmons LLP
Taylor Wessing
Van Doorne NV
Visser Schaap & Kreijger
The IP department at commercial law firm AKD offers a cradle-to-grave trademark service. A plethora of offices across the Netherlands means the firm is intimately familiar with the nuances of local courts and procedures, while membership of the global Interlaw network of top legal firms gives it enviable international reach. Huib Berendschot’s advice is informed by a deeply commercial understanding of brand ownership, born of his experiences as in-house counsel for Unilever. The stand-out trademark professional at AKD, Berendschot is an expert on counterfeiting and grey-market goods; he sits on the relevant committee of the International Trademark Association.
Bird & Bird LLP
The “proactive, cost-efficient and knowledgeable” Bird & Bird “can go beyond the usual level of service”, providing an “outstanding service” across the trademark spectrum. Plugged in to a seamless global network of 27 offices, the Dutch contingent works “with excellent speed when dealing with matters across a wide range of jurisdictions”. This is illustrated by its deft management of the sweeping KraftHeinz trademark portfolio around the world. Other clients include major food and beverage brands such as Nestlé, for which it conducts pan-European enforcement work for key brands such as Felix, Kit Kat and Dolce Gusto. Leading the IP group, the seasoned Wouter Pors is a crack litigator whose abilities inspire the greatest confidence in clients. Manon Rieger-Jansen has a keen grasp of brand strategy and useful ancillary expertise in advertising and unfair competition law. A prominent figure in European anti-counterfeiting, Armand Killan heads the firm’s international IP group and sits on its global IP steering committee.
Brinkhof
Brinkhof’s stellar IP division stands out for its superlative brand enforcement at the national and EU levels. A “top-name trademark professional” of many years’ standing, Gregor Vos recently joined following the dissolution of gold-tier firm Klos Morel Vos & Reeskamp. “Quick thinking, knowledgeable and a great debater”, Vos is also lauded for his capacity to build relationships and to resolve disputes. He recently represented Nestlé in a high-profile case against Cadbury regarding his client’s Kit Kat shape mark and other European brand rights. He was also advocate for adidas in an “textbook” defence of its three-stripes design which ended in success at the Supreme Court. Vos is also an authority on advertising law. He is joined by Kurt Stöpetie, a “tenacious and strategically adept litigator whose arguments have a sharp, persuasive edge”.
De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek NV
When it comes to high-stakes trademark litigation, De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek is an outstanding choice. The firm is universally respected by peers and has a sterling track record of wins for prestigious clients before both the Supreme Court and the European Court of Justice (ECJ). It recently worked on disputes involving colour combination marks for Royal Shell and a 3D trademark for Stokke, and has also dispatched complex licensing and transactional mandates for Royal Philips. The veteran of many landmark Dutch cases, Tobias Cohen Jehoram has the most “superb reputation of any trademark lawyer in the Netherlands, and for good reason. He has great academic ability and combines this with a practical approach, which makes him indispensable”. Koen Limperg is an elder statesman of Dutch IP law who excels at strategy, transactions and enforcement. “Excellent with the facts, he will bring in all manner of materials to show the judge what is really the crux of the matter. He goes deep with the details of each case.”
DLA Piper Nederland NV
Tapping into the firm’s well-integrated international network, the Dutch office of DLA Piper handles the pan-European stewardship of brand rights for many top-flight multinationals in fields as diverse as retail, fashion and toys. It recently coordinated over 1,000 cases across the continent to defend the interests of client Babyliss. It also offers a distinctive package for shaping IP rights into a tax-friendly structure. Marshalling the team in Amsterdam, Niels Mulder is a robust enforcer who has notched up an impressive string of victories at the ECJ. Paul Reeskamp has just joined the firm following years at the now-defunct soft IP law giant Klos Morel Vos & Reeskamp. He is a “superb litigator whose work is characterised by thoroughness and intelligent solutions”.
Hofhuis Alkema Groen
Hofhuis Alkema Groen is one of the soft IP boutiques that are currently making a splash in the Netherlands. “Hands-on, energetic and flexible”, the compact new firm boasts a young team of “extremely talented and well-trained lawyers with experience and knowledge beyond their years”. It has already become a favourite of major brand owners in the cinema, food and beverage and fashion sectors. Having earned his stripes at De Brauw, Jesse Hofhuis is a classic specialist in trademark disputes. “Really well versed in his subject, Jesse has an excellent theoretical and practical grounding, and has an eye for what is important and what is not.” Marketing and trademark maven Adonna Alkema can perform “a broad spectrum of work to the highest possible standard. Extremely service minded and diligent, she always keeps her promises”. Another former De Brauw man, Arnout Groen has made a name for himself as an exceptionally creative lawyer with sound strategic instincts and a deep knowledge of new media.
Hogan Lovells International LLP
With a substantial IP law team in Amsterdam and an established presence in all corners of the world, Hogan Lovells has the resources to execute even the most demanding trademark instructions with aplomb. The firm lately acquired the portfolio for the chocolate, food, pet and symbio-science branches of Mars, undertaking the full range of prosecution, opposition and infringement work as part of this brief. Marc Wallheimer has three decades of soft IP practice under his belt; his leadership has won the continued loyalty of a host of long-term clients and underpins the pristine one-stop shop offering provided by the Dutch office.
Hoogenraad & Haak, Advertising + IP Advocaten
Hoogenraad & Haak stands out from the crowd by deploying trademark and advertising expertise to secure 360-degree brand protection for clients. “Getting better and better all the time”, the bijou new niche firm gives an “efficient, thorough, pragmatic and personal service” to domestic and international enterprises. An IP litigation and arbitration sage who has appeared before the ECJ, name partner Maarten Haak is “a solid and knowledgeable lawyer who is straightforward and reliable in his approach”. He keeps his trademark understanding sharp by serving on the editorial team of the Benelux Trademark and Design Bulletin and the Industrial Property Review.
HOYNG ROKH MONEGIER
“An IP powerhouse with many of the finest lawyers in the field”, boutique Hoyng Rokh Monegier is “one of the top trademark litigation firms in Europe, with a wealth of experience and talent, and a string of successes in the Dutch Supreme Court”. Its approach is characterised by “business acumen, a personal touch and a determination to fight for the rights of its clients”. The firm’s 100 IP practitioners – operating from offices in Amsterdam, Brussels, Dusseldorf, Madrid, Mannheim, Paris and (as of last year) Munich – make it ideally placed to handle high-stakes cases with broad dimensions. A “true litigator with enormous experience and a great record of success”, Joris van Manen is “intellectually sharp and does everything he can to win”. In a recent case before The Hague Court of Appeal, he obtained an EU-wide injunction in protection of G-Star’s RAW brand; another notable case for Supergroup touched on the issue of brand parodies. “Seasoned professional” Marlou van de Braak is also top-notch in disputes; her commitment, thoroughness and academic pedigree are commended by peers. One of the grand old practitioners of IP law, Willem Hoyng is “a brilliant lawyer who has been extremely influential”. Frank Eijsvogels’s mastery of English, Dutch, French and German makes his practice truly international; he is well known for his anti-counterfeiting prowess.
KLOS cs Attorneys at Law
KLOS is one of the exciting new boutiques which have moved quickly into the space vacated by Klos Morel Vos & Reeskamp. With a comprehensive trademark offering, the firm is second to none when complex design issues – whether relating to shapes or colour combinations – affect brand protection. This know-how is reflected in KLOS’s client profile, which includes high-end furniture designers, distinctive food and beverage producers and iconic fashion brands. Also instructed by top sports teams, the firm recently won an influential Dutch Supreme Court decision which recognised Ajax Amsterdam’s kit design as a valid trademark. “The very best trademark lawyer in the country”, according to one peer, Sven Klos is among the most experienced litigators before the European and Dutch courts; he “has excellent courtroom skills and wins cases that others would lose”. Rising star Josine van den Berg is praised for her perceptive strategic advice and assured handling of contentious matters.
NautaDutilh
Commercial law firm NautaDutilh excels at trademark litigation and is “at the very top of the market for strategic and advisory services”. A presence in all three Benelux countries and a high profile at the EU Intellectual Property Office make it a compelling option for brand owners with interests across the continent. Anne Marie Verschuur leads the IP group by example, with her distinguished client handling and striking string of courtroom wins; anti-counterfeiting is another forte. Luxury goods and fashion doyenne Fleur Folmer has earned the admiration of fellow professionals; she chalked up a notable victory for Lacoste recently at The Hague Court of Appeal. Richard van Oerle is another A-list litigator who has appeared before the EU courts; he is currently representing Impliva in proceedings involving a complex mix of trademark, design, copyright, unfair competition and patent law. “A towering influence for many years on the Dutch IP scene”, luminary Charles Gielen helped to build NautaDutilh’s illustrious client base and continues to serve the firm as a font of trademark wisdom.
Ploum Lodder Princen
Rotterdam-based Ploum Lodder Princen is a safe pair of hands for A-to-Z brand protection. Its joined-up offering – in particular, its expanding non-contentious capabilities – has captured the attentions of a glittering clientele; in a recent coup, it acquired stewardship of Harley-Davidson’s Benelux portfolio from a rival agency. It also undertakes prosecution work for SanDisk across Benelux and the European Union. The firm also garners plaudits for its deep expertise and experience of anti-counterfeiting and parallel import briefs; Harley-Davidson and Honda are just some of the companies which benefit from its insight in this area. “Hands-on, responsive and solutions orientated”, team captain Willem Leppink is “an excellent adviser and litigator who also has extensive experience of customs enforcement actions”. A sophisticated grasp of marketing and advertising is a further weapon in his arsenal; Leppink is the co-founder of the Dutch Advertising Law Association.
Simmons & Simmons LLP
The full-bore trademark service on offer at Simmons & Simmons LLP is bolstered by support from the firm’s outposts across the world, including in the Far East, where it has an unusually strong presence. The firm’s grounding in wider commercial law enables the team to view issues within a broader context and provide pragmatic, clued-up guidance which chimes with the interests of heavyweight brand owners. It regularly assists L’Oréal with the enforcement of its brand rights and is representing Rolls Royce in a number of court cases and World Intellectual Property Organisation disputes. At the helm of the trademark practice is Hidde Koenraad, a “down-to-earth litigator with a solid understanding of the (case) law at national and EU levels. He provides clear, fast, to-the-point advice based on his unique knowledge of clients’ industries and profound understanding of trademark law”. “Hidde is always available and willing to help,” enthuse clients. He boasts niche expertise in design rights and has authored a chapter on this subject in a prominent IP law textbook.
Taylor Wessing
The Dutch IP team at Taylor Wessing has grown exponentially to become one of the most substantial in the Netherlands since the firm’s merger with Deterink in 2015; home to both attorneys at law and trademark agents, it now manages more than 2,000 active marks worldwide, as well as giving assured performances in contentious matters. Soft IP maven Maarten Rijks heads the trademark and copyright team and has a penchant for cases involving luxury, sports and entertainment brands. He has a fine instinct for the best use of border measures – a subject on which he has written for the Oxford University Press. “We are very satisfied with the way Maarten and his team work for all our entities worldwide,” reports one satisfied patron. “He is a trusted adviser and makes sure each case is treated with the utmost care. I appreciate his practical approach, his business understanding of my company and his ability to refer us to law firms in other jurisdictions”.
Van Doorne NV
An elite independent Dutch firm with a fine tradition, Van Doorne has an eminent IP group which is tried and trusted for “its excellent level of service” on everything from trademark management to transactions, oppositions and enforcement. It “understands its clients’ businesses, sees the bigger picture, saves its customers time and energy and delivers top-notch work”. The continuity of its client relationships bears testimony to this: Yamaha and Dell are just some of the big names to have sought its counsel for many years. Specific market sub-divisions – retail, media and finance – ensure that counsel is always underpinned by complementary corporate and regulatory know-how. A “fine IP lawyer and professional person with a broad skillset”, consumer goods and retail group head Remco van Leeuwen impresses for his “negotiating skills, in-depth knowledge, clear overview of priorities and strategy and ability to explain the different considerations. He takes on the work and doesn’t depend too heavily on in-house counsel”.
Visser Schaap & Kreijger
A young firm with experienced lawyers, Visser Schaap & Kreijger has made waves as a high-grade soft IP litigation boutique since it opened its doors in 2015. Its small, cohesive team of experts prides itself on its proactivity and the close personal attention paid to clients of all stripes. The firm seems to be moving into the fast lane, having recently acted on behalf of Porsche, in addition to other first-rate brands. A university professor as well as a practising lawyer, Dirk Visser is a walking encyclopaedia of case law and a jurisprudence sage. “Inspirational, quick minded and intelligent”, he combines sublime academic aptitude with a finely tuned practical understanding of the law. Formerly a partner at Klos Morel Vos & Schaap, Jacqueline Schaap is a compelling litigator who has notched up more than 28 years of courtroom experience; she excels on cases where media and trademark issues are intertwined.

Individuals

Tobias Cohen Jehoram - De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek NV
Sven Klos - KLOS cs Attorneys at Law
Willem Leppink - Ploum Lodder Princen
Joris van Manen - HOYNG ROKH MONEGIER
Gregor Vos - Brinkhof
Adonna Alkema - Hofhuis Alkema Groen
Arnout Groen - Hofhuis Alkema Groen
Maarten Haak - Hoogenraad & Haak, Advertising + IP Advocaten
Jesse Hofhuis - Hofhuis Alkema Groen
Hidde J Koenraad - Simmons & Simmons LLP
Niels Mulder - DLA Piper Nederland NV
Kurt Stöpetie - Brinkhof
Marlou van de Braak - HOYNG ROKH MONEGIER
Remco MR van Leeuwen - Van Doorne NV
Richard van Oerle - NautaDutilh
Anne Marie Verschuur - NautaDutilh
Dirk JG Visser - Visser Schaap & Kreijger
Lars Bakers - BINGH Advocaten
Frank Eijsvogels - HOYNG ROKH MONEGIER
Fleur C Folmer - NautaDutilh
Frits Gerritzen - Allen & Overy LLP
Armand Killan - Bird & Bird LLP
Michiel Odink - Leeway BV
Wouter E Pors - Bird & Bird LLP
Paul Reeskamp - DLA Piper Nederland NV
Manon Rieger-Jansen - Bird & Bird LLP
Maarten Rijks - Taylor Wessing
Jacqueline A Schaap - Visser Schaap & Kreijger
Josine van den Berg - KLOS cs Attorneys at Law
Benjamin E M Van Kessel - Nineyards Law BV
Gino Van Roeyen - Banning NV
Marc Wallheimer - Hogan Lovells International LLP

Individuals: anti-counterfeiting

Frank Eijsvogels - HOYNG ROKH MONEGIER
Armand Killan - Bird & Bird LLP
Willem Leppink - Ploum Lodder Princen
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 NV
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Issue 69