Benelux: Netherlands

One of the most watched trademark cases in Europe in recent times has been the battle between Christian Louboutin and Dutch company vanHaren; the latter was accused of infringing Louboutin’s trademarks by selling a range of red-soled shoes. The European Court of Justice ruled in favour of Louboutin, noting that the shoemaker was not seeking to protect a combination of a colour and a shape – which the court had indicated could be refused trademark protection – but the application of a colour to a specific part of the shoe. Changes to the Benelux Convention on Intellectual Property have been another focus; where previously appeals from the Benelux Office of Intellectual Property could be lodged at the Court of Appeal of The Hague, these must now be filed with the Benelux Court of Justice – a rule change designed to make decision making more consistent across Benelux.

Firms

  • Brinkhof
  • De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek
  • HOYNG ROKH MONEGIER
  • Bird & Bird LLP
  • DLA Piper Nederland NV
  • Hofhuis Alkema Groen
  • Hoogenraad & Haak, Advertising + IP Advocaten
  • Leeway
  • NautaDutilh
  • AKD 
  • Hogan Lovells International LLP
  • Klos cs
  • Ploum
  • Simmons & Simmons LLP
  • Taylor Wessing
  • Visser Schaap & Kreijger

AKD 

With offices in Amsterdam, Breda, Brussels, Eindhoven, Luxembourg and Rotterdam, AKD is perfectly poised to address Benelux-wide IP issues. Traditionally celebrated for its exceptional litigation talents, the practice also has excellent advisory capabilities. Leading the team is Huib Berendschot who is recognised for his prosecution, litigation and anti-counterfeiting expertise. The experience he gained in-house at Unilever is reflected in his solutions-oriented approach and business-focused mindset. Berendschot’s right-hand man, Roderick Chalmers Hoynck van Papendrecht handles matters with surgical precision. The pair provide “excellent guidance and risk mitigation and are confident negotiators who are good at managing costs”. “Perfect litigator” Peter Claassen receives praise for his ability to assess a complex situation and craft a compelling argument. He provides creative advice and is very proactive.

Bird & Bird LLP

Maintaining one of the largest IP groups in the Netherlands, Bird & Bird is a force to be reckoned with. This full-service outfit offers its world-famous clients cradle-to-grave trademark services and has the resources and expertise to disentangle multifaceted and convoluted cases. Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein call on “responsive and energetic” retail and consumer group chief Manon Rieger-Jansen to sort out their most complicated problems. “Manon provides solid and profound advice in a snap. She is a business partner rather than just an external lawyer and always gives easily understandable answers which show commercial insight.” Another top partner is Armand Killan who leads the charge on cross-border trademark litigation. “A valuable asset to have on your side, he takes an innovative approach to infringement issues and is an expert negotiator. He possesses a deft touch when handling adjacent issues of misleading advertising and unfair competition.” Completing this partner trio is Wouter Pors, an active IP legal lobbyist and editor of the Kluwer Trademark Litigation Smart Charts. Facebook entrusts him to handle prosecution, opposition and infringement briefs.

Brinkhof

“A leading IP litigation firm with an outstanding client base, Brinkhof is in another league.” The ensemble routinely tackles the toughest multi-jurisdictional battles; in late 2017 the group was successful in upholding Decker’s iconic UGG trademark for boots, settling an EU-wide infringement case against Australian Leather. The team also acted on behalf of Nestlé before the European Court of Justice in the precedent-setting Kit Kat case regarding the protection of the classic four-finger shape. Co-pilots Gregor Vos and Kurt Stöpetie have accumulated vast experience and are sought-after IP trailblazers. Vos is “a top-notch litigator when you need a pitbull in the best sense of the word”; although he is a zealous advocate, he never loses sight of being a “great business partner” to his clients. Non-traditional trademark aficionado Stöpetie “is essential for left-field issues, he has the creativity and ability to think outside the box”. The team also welcomed an additional trademark attorney this year, boosting the prosecution practice and reinforcing Brinkhof’s status as a fantastic all-round IP boutique.

De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek

With its bench of 150 litigators, De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek is in pole position to handle must-win cross-disciplinary disputes. The famous Tobias Cohen Jehoram spearheads the Dutch IP group at this dynamic commercial firm. “He is a superb Supreme Court litigator with many years of experience. Having taken the lead in many landmark litigations, he has developed a reputation in the Netherlands for being an intellectual powerhouse. Everyone has Tobias’s book on their desk.” Cohen Jehoram thrives on a challenge and is sought out for the most complex big-ticket disputes. His client roster includes prominent Dutch nationals such as Royal Dutch Shell, along with high-profile foreign corporations. He recently took an appeal to the Supreme Court on behalf of Capri Sun over the validity of its trademark registration for its drink pouch. Respected IP veteran Koen Limperg is the other lynchpin of the practice. Clients turn to him for his “strategic, hands-on guidance” and his exquisite judgement.

DLA Piper Nederland NV

Global outfit DLA Piper provides a wraparound IP service to blue-chip clients, earning distinction for its elite parallel imports practice. Reflecting the firm’s growing reputation, it recently welcomed several major new names to its roster, including Fitbit and Samsung. Famous names such as Moët & Hennessy and Bacardi rely on the versatile Niels Mulder, “a hard-nosed litigator” who tirelessly pursues infringers and fakers. “Niels is approachable, practical and responds quickly. Working with him makes life so much easier.” Close at hand and making his debut in the WTR 1000 this year is Alexander Tsoutsanis, an IP scholar whose work has been cited in 19 Dutch Supreme Court opinions and recently by the UK High Court in a prominent trademark case.

Hofhuis Alkema Groen

“Practical, fast and cost-conscious” IP boutique Hofhuis Alkema Groen is “compact but first class”. Excelling in legally complicated and commercially significant IP disputes, the team is comprised of “young and enthusiastic lawyers who achieve great results”. Providing strong leadership to the group, “high-quality and approachable” lawyers Jesse Hofhuis and Adonna Alkema thrive in the cut and thrust of litigation. “Jesse is always looking for solutions, but he has what it takes to go the distance in court if necessary.” “Adonna is a really strong advocate and a lawyer who offers excellent value for money.” Also highly recommended is Arnout Groen, a copyright and media thought leader who also knows a thing or two about product design and trademarks. These three are advisers you can simply call up and get a strategic steer from, without racking up enormous legal bills.

Hogan Lovells International LLP

Top international firm Hogan Lovells is a repository of trust for top brands in the technology, food and drink and life sciences sectors. Its team in Amsterdam represents many in connection with Benelux trademark clearance, prosecution and strategy work but is best known for its cross-border litigation prowess. The trademark team is managed by Marc Wallheimer, a practitioner with over 30 years of experience who is revered for his innovative and holistic approach to both contentious and non-contentious matters. Wallheimer has a loyal client base of global superstars such as Dell and Starbucks and a noteworthy 26-year long relationship with Nintendo.

Hoogenraad & Haak, Advertising + IP Advocaten

Hoogenraad & Haak is a market leader when it comes to advertising but is also great at anything related to trademarks. The team takes advantage of its lean structure to deliver an attentive service to world-renowned patrons, particularly in the food and luxury goods sectors. Maarten Haak and Moïra Truijens are “quality IP attorneys who are always accessible and possess a practical mentality”. They recently defended Lidl in an infringement case regarding Philips’s design rights in a shaving device. A dealmaker not a deal breaker, Truijens is also a licensing and transactions maestro. Daniël Haije continues to be a leading figure in the comparative advertising arena proactively serving clients such as L’Oréal and Heineken.

HOYNG ROKH MONEGIER

HOYNG ROKH MONEGIER is a top choice for those in need of sophisticated representation in cross-border litigation; the firm has top teams in Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Spain. “Joris van Manen and Laura Fresco in Amsterdam are undoubtedly experts in their field. Always polite, accurate, specific and confident, they pay attention to every detail in all legal matters they handle.” Leading the department, van Manen, “is not only dedicated and creative, but boasts a unique combination of academic depth and street fighting spirit”. Fresco ascends to the silver tier this year after receiving excellent feedback from the market. “Laura is a brilliant and efficient attorney who understands her clients’ needs. She constantly seeks out the best approaches, always with passion and an excellent personal attitude.” Van Manen and Fresco were recently successful in returning the distinguished vodka brands Stolichnaya and Moskovskaya to the Russian Federation. For anti-counterfeiting mandates clients call on enforcement doyen Frank Eijsvogels. The presence of IP celebrity Willem Hoyng is also of immense comfort to clients. “He’s an extraordinary lawyer who can do anything.”

Klos cs

A well-oiled machine, Klos credits its success to a tight-knit squad of passionate and sharp IP specialists. The ensemble overlays its top-class knowledge of trademarks with extensive sector expertise to provide comprehensive services from prosecution to litigation. It is a particular authority on the subject of colour and three-dimensional marks. The team operates under the assured command of founder Sven Klos, who has been referred to as “the best trademark lawyer in the Netherlands”. “He is very tenacious and a fierce litigator who always thinks outside the box and sees things from a fresh perspective. He has put in frequent appearances at the European Court of Justice.” At his side is Josine van den Berg, a savvy strategist who is “creative, smart and a pleasure to work with”.

Leeway

“Leeway is a fast-growing team of likeable, high-quality litigators.” “Remco van Leeuwen, Marga Verwoert and Michiel Odink are focused problem solvers with an entrepreneurial spirit. They understand the fashion business, see the bigger picture and deliver top-notch work.” “Remco is a trusted adviser who is knowledgeable, sharp and effective – a practical lawyer who gives brilliant strategic advice.” “Marga works well under pressure, her calmness is reassuring. She counsels clients expertly by combining a profound understanding of intellectual property with a commercially sound approach. A diligent and adept litigator, she understands how to be both tenacious and flexible.” “Michiel is the lawyer you want on your side when the chips are down. He takes away the burden of a case and provides peace of mind when you need it most.” The group’s specialist areas lie in the retail, consumer goods and technology, media and telecoms sectors.

NautaDutilh

Full-service law firm NautaDutilh never hesitates when faced with interdisciplinary challenges but delves into its rich pool of resources to come up with solutions and results that fit the bill perfectly for internationally renowned clients. As head of the Dutch IP group, Anne Marie Verschuur sets an extremely high standard in terms of quality and has the motivational and mentoring skills to ensure everyone lives up to it. A go-to for industry leaders in the food, apparel, luxury goods and life sciences industries, Verschuur is “a highly intelligent, succinct litigator”. Another intrepid IP infringement litigator is Fleur Folmer, who is also a whizz when it comes to IP commercialisation matters. In Richard van Oerle and Charles Gielen, NautaDutilh has two of the most experienced IP heads in the country. Van Oerle is a former judge at the District Court of the Hague; Gielen is “the pope of trademarks in Benelux”. Their presence as strategic sounding boards is vital to many of the group’s successes.

Ploum

Ploum is a one-stop trademark shop that prioritises giving personal attention to clients and building long-lasting relationships. The world-renowned and popular Willem Leppink is the frontrunner of the IP team and is known for providing farsighted counsel which accounts for commercial interests. “Willem is a constructive legal communicator who is driven to achieve common-sense results – a can-do lawyer who gets the job done, he is the number one for negotiations and the person to hire if you want a complex matter sorted.” A master of many trades, Leppink sports an impressive online and offline anti-counterfeiting practice. The ensemble also beefed up its bustling prosecution practice this year with the hire of an additional senior trademark attorney.

Simmons & Simmons LLP

Simmons & Simmons is an international hub of excellence for all types of trademark work. The team in the Netherlands is performing at a high level, which has not gone unnoticed and many new clients have come on board recently; Shimano is instructing the group on the protection of its EU trademark portfolio and in oppositions and Gold’s Gym has tasked the set with numerous litigations. Nobody works as hard as dynamic head of the trademark practice Paul Tjiam. “He is one of the busiest litigators in the Dutch field – an up-and-coming star who is very bright and highly responsive.” He has been representing Doctors Without Borders on a pro bono basis to protect its widely recognised trademark. He has strong academic fundamentals and is the author of the History of Dutch Trademark Law in the Netherlands; because of his subject-matter expertise, he is regularly called on as a speaker by international IP associations.

Taylor Wessing

A member of the international elite, Taylor Wessing continues to make an excellent name for itself in the Dutch market. Running the show is “responsive and resourceful” Maarten Rijks, “an exceptional litigator who possesses skills beyond his years”. His talents have been on show recently in one of the most influential current trademark litigations in Europe; Rijks has been representing Van Haren Schoenen in legal proceedings relating to the validity of the Benelux red sole trademark owned by Christian Loboutin. As for prosecution, the well-rounded team is prepared to coordinate the most extensive portfolios and currently manages 3,000 live marks worldwide. Not just a litigator, Rijks also oversees extensive worldwide brand development and management matters.

Visser Schaap & Kreijger

Visser Schaap & Kreijger has a lot to offer IP owners, including profound media, copyright, trademarks and designs expertise and superb litigation skills. The firm’s approach established by founding partners and IP devotees Dirk Visser and Jacqueline Schaap is highly commercial; practical guidance is what they offer, not long legal opinions that are hard for non-experts to understand. Visser is hailed as “one of the most intelligent and creative individuals in the industry” as well as a “brilliant debater”. A multi-award-winning copyright lawyer, Schaap has well-rounded trademark and advertising law knowledge. She shares this generously, frequently putting on seminars to help bring in-house counsel, marketers and designers up to speed on key developments in the law.

Other recommended experts

Lars Bakers is a hard but fair fighter at BINGH Advocaten. Acting for Ferrero, he recently handled a large-scale infringement case against coffee shops and bakeries free riding on his client Nutella’s trademarks. Nysingh’s Hemke de Weijs and Tjibbe Fokkens are “practical and hands-on lawyers, they create a close connection with their clients which enables them to consistently choose the right strategy for them”. Hidde Koenraad of Boekx is “a down-to-earth and diligent litigator with a commercial approach”. Koenraad acts for BMW as lead counsel on soft IP matters in the Netherlands. He also acts in Benelux infringement and opposition matters for Augusta National Inc regarding its famous MASTERS brand, working with Diederik Stols. “Leonie Kroon is the kind of lawyer you can call in the middle of the night and get a well-thought out response from.” She is a key player in the fight against fakes, and can be found at boutique Dillinger Law. Kroon’s colleague Carja Mastenbroek “is passionate about what she does and has the right skill set for complex matters”. The pair have been successful in cracking down on counterfeiters on behalf of Philip Morris and Tommy Hilfiger, among many others. “Proactive” trademark guru Evert van Gelderen is a seasoned litigator who specialises in the fashion and toy industry over at Clairfort Advocaten. “Benjamin van Kessel of Nineyards Law proficiently handles complex matters and provides simple and accessible feedback. He is not only an expert in intellectual property but has broad knowledge which he leverages effectively in the transactions he handles.” Another mainstay at the firm is Alexander Odle, a true trademark veteran with over 25 years of experience. “Alexander is instrumental in enforcing his clients’ rights in Benelux. He is always attentive, reliable, straightforward and easy to work with.” Kriek Wille, who heads the IP and media group at Van Doorne, is “an extremely thorough, dedicated lawyer with an eye for detail. She’s a sharp thinker who provides value for money”. Her group is poised to assist clients at every stage of the trademark lifecycle but is exceptionally strong when it comes to licensing and transactions.

Individuals

  • Tobias Cohen Jehoram - De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek
  • Jesse Hofhuis - Hofhuis Alkema Groen
  • 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
  • Laura Fresco - HOYNG ROKH MONEGIER
  • Arnout Groen - Hofhuis Alkema Groen
  • Maarten Haak - Hoogenraad & Haak, Advertising + IP Advocaten
  • Hidde J Koenraad - Boekx
  • 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
  • Hemke de Weijs - Nysingh advocaten-notarissen NV
  • Tjibbe Fokkens - Nysingh advocaten-notarissen NV
  • Fleur C Folmer - NautaDutilh
  • Daniël Haije - Hoogenraad & Haak, Advertising + IP Advocaten
  • Armand Killan - Bird & Bird LLP
  • Michiel Odink - Leeway
  • Alexander RT Odle - Nineyards Law BV
  • Wouter E Pors - Bird & Bird LLP
  • Maarten Rijks - Taylor Wessing
  • Jacqueline A Schaap - Visser Schaap & Kreijger
  • Diederik Stols - Boekx
  • Paul Tjiam - Simmons & Simmons LLP
  • Moïra Truijens - Hoogenraad & Haak, Advertising + IP Advocaten
  • Alexander Tsoutsanis - DLA Piper Nederland NV
  • Josine van den Berg - Klos cs
  • Evert van Gelderen - Clairfort Advocaten 
  • 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