Born in Jette in 1984, Admitted, 2007, Brussels.
University of Brussels (Lic. Jur., 2007); University of Brussels (Master in Intellectual Property Law, 2009).
Dutch, French, English.
In a high-profile trademark infringement case involving Moët Hennessey Champagne Services and a Belgian painter, the courts were asked to strike a balance between the right to property, including intellectual property, and artistic freedom of expression. The decision is expected to set an important precedent on how to strike a fair balance between freedom of speech and the protection of trademarks when these two concepts conflict.
In a recent judgment, the Brussels Court of Appeal ordered two parallel traders to pay provisional compensation of €3 million to the Mitsubishi Corporation for illegally importing hundreds of Mitsubishi forklift trucks which had been on the Asian market into the European Economic Area via parallel trade routes. The court held that the parallel traders had failed to provide conclusive evidence that Mitsubishi, the proprietor of the Benelux and EU trademarks, had consented to the parallel trade.
The Antwerp Commercial Court recently ruled that when assessing the similarity of trademarks and signs in an infringement claim, account may be taken of the trademark only as registered. Trademark owners are advised to file their trademarks in black and white, but also in the signature colour or colour combinations under which the trademark is recognised to obtain the broadest possible protection.
The Brussels Court of Appeal recently dealt with an interesting trademark infringement case pertaining to the abstract colour mark blue owned by Belgian beer brewer Alken-Maes. Maes had sought injunctive relief for alleged infringement of its colour mark, which it claimed to be well known, by InBev Belgium, which is part of the world's largest brewing conglomerate.
The Commercial Court of Brussels has upheld a complaint by Belgian brewer Alken-Maes against the packaging chosen by rival brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev for its Jupiler Blue beer, finding that AB InBev had infringed Alken-Maes's abstract colour trademark. AB InBev was given one month to withdraw every can and bottle of Jupiler Blue from the Belgian market.
Colours are an attention-grabbing way to send a signal, and Belgian case law demonstrates that once a colour mark has been registered, it is a powerful tool. Infringements are often easily demonstrated on the grounds that a colour mark which has acquired distinctiveness through use tends to be regarded as having acquired a reputation.