Netherlands, AKD NV updates

Employment & Benefits

Contributed by AKD NV
Employers beware! Right of access to personnel files under GDPR
  • Netherlands
  • 19 December 2018

For most employers, the threat of high fines has been sufficient to encourage them to try and comply with the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Now, more than six months after the GDPR's introduction, the question has arisen as to whether employers' concerns in this regard were justified. Recent case law and an incremental penalty imposed by the Dutch Data Protection Authority show that employers should be taking the GDPR seriously when it comes to personnel files.

Is this the end of traditional employment contracts?
  • Netherlands
  • 10 October 2018

According to the European Commission, the growth of flexible contracts in the Dutch labour market, as well as the inequality between flexible contracts and employment contracts for indefinite periods, is a problem. As such, one of the commission's recommendations for the Dutch government is to tackle the barriers to entering into traditional contracts or employment contracts for indefinite periods and facilitate the transition from definite contracts to employment contracts for indefinite periods.


Intellectual Property

Contributed by AKD NV
No copyright protection for taste of food
  • Netherlands
  • 24 December 2018

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) recently rendered its decision in the dispute between Dutch parties Levola and Smilde concerning Levola's cream cheese product. The Arnhem-Leeuwarden Court of Appeal had referred a number of prejudicial questions to the ECJ – in particular, whether a taste can be eligible for copyright protection. Among other things, Levola argued that disallowing copyright protection for the taste of foodstuffs would be contrary to Dutch Supreme Court case law.

adidas knocked out in trademark infringement case: McGregor IP maintains right to use Conor McGregor's name
  • Netherlands
  • 26 November 2018

The Hague District Court recently rendered an interim judgment in a matter between Dutch limited liability company McGregor IP BV and adidas. The key question in this case was whether adidas – in using the name of a sports hero on items such as hoodies, shorts and jerseys – had infringed McGregor IP's trademark rights. Notably, the outcome of this matter could have been different had the design and display of the signs at issue been different.

Heks'nkaas: advocate general's opinion on copyrighting tastes unpalatable for Levola
  • Netherlands
  • 24 September 2018

In May 2017 the Arnhem-Leeuwarden Appellate Court referred questions regarding which kinds of object can be classified as copyrightable works to the European Court of Justice (ECJ). The case addresses the interesting question of whether certain tastes can be protected under copyright law (the specific taste for which protection was sought was Levola's popular cheese product Heks'nkaas). Advocate General Wathelet recently advised the ECJ not to allow tastes to be granted copyright protection.

Can directors be held liable for IP infringements?
  • Netherlands
  • 06 August 2018

The Hague District Court recently had to assess whether a natural person could be held accountable for a company's trademark and copyright infringement. Although the court could not establish whether the person was an official director of the infringing company, this did not stand in the way of his liability. In accordance with Supreme Court case law, liability can arise where a party plays a substantial part in the policy of a company that acts unlawfully and behaves as if they are a director of the company.

The considerable value of Max Verstappen's likeness
  • Netherlands
  • 18 June 2018

The Amsterdam District Court recently allowed a substantial damages claim following Dutch grocery delivery start-up Picnic's unlawful use of a lookalike of the famous Formula 1 driver Max Verstappen. This case clarifies that a person's right to control the use of their image cannot be violated easily. Although the parody defence is useful, the chance of success is limited if the parody is made in order to achieve commercial gain.


Litigation

Contributed by AKD NV
Amsterdam Court of Appeal declares Fortis settlement binding under WCAM
  • Netherlands
  • 18 December 2018

The Amsterdam Court of Appeal recently declared the settlement between Fortis (since renamed Ageas) and multiple claimant organisations binding. The €1.3 billion settlement is the largest of its kind to have been entered into in Europe. It emphasises the usefulness of the Act on Collective Settlement of Mass Claims when resolving cross-border disputes before the Dutch courts, irrespective of whether proceedings on the merits on behalf of the whole class can be litigated on in the Netherlands.

Onus on party seeking to limit liability to provide all information at early stage
  • Netherlands
  • 11 December 2018

A recent decision by the Rotterdam Court regarding a major oil spill in the port of Rotterdam emphasises the importance of assessing at an early stage which liability regime applies when a party seeks to limit its exposure to claims in the event of an oil spill at sea. The court held that in procedures concerning limitation of liability, it is the responsibility of the party seeking to rely on limitation to provide all of the information available at an early stage.

adidas knocked out in trademark infringement case: McGregor IP maintains right to use Conor McGregor's name
  • Netherlands
  • 27 November 2018

The Hague District Court recently rendered an interim judgment in a matter between Dutch limited liability company McGregor IP BV and adidas. The key question in this case was whether adidas – in using the name of a sports hero on items such as hoodies, shorts and jerseys – had infringed McGregor IP's trademark rights. Notably, the outcome of this matter could have been different had the design and display of the signs at issue been different.

Amsterdam District Court dismisses Fairfield Funds' claim against PwC in relation to Madoff Ponzi scheme
  • Netherlands
  • 30 October 2018

The Amsterdam District Court recently rendered its judgment in the proceedings between the liquidator of Fairfield Sentry Limited, Fairfield Sigma Limited and Fairfield Lambda Limited (the Fairfield Funds) against Dutch public limited companies PricewaterhouseCoopers Accountants NV and PricewaterhouseCoopers NV and four accountants affiliated therewith. The proceedings centred on the fraud committed by Bernard Madoff that came to light in 2009, of which the funds had been victims.

Heks'nkaas: advocate general's opinion on copyrighting tastes unpalatable for Levola
  • Netherlands
  • 25 September 2018

In May 2017 the Arnhem-Leeuwarden Appellate Court referred questions regarding which kinds of object can be classified as copyrightable works to the European Court of Justice (ECJ). The case addresses the interesting question of whether certain tastes can be protected under copyright law (the specific taste for which protection was sought was Levola's popular cheese product Heks'nkaas). Advocate General Wathelet recently advised the ECJ not to allow tastes to be granted copyright protection.


Shipping & Transport

Contributed by AKD NV
Onus on party seeking to limit liability to provide all information at early stage
  • Netherlands
  • 12 December 2018

A recent decision by the Rotterdam Court regarding a major oil spill in the port of Rotterdam emphasises the importance of assessing at an early stage which liability regime applies when a party seeks to limit its exposure to claims in the event of an oil spill at sea. The court held that in procedures concerning limitation of liability, it is the responsibility of the party seeking to rely on limitation to provide all of the information available at an early stage.

Supreme Court confirms right to limit liability
  • Netherlands
  • 08 August 2018

The Supreme Court has reconfirmed the right to limit liability under Dutch law, even in personal injury cases. It held that limitation as such is not a violation of the human right to protection of property under the First Protocol to the European Convention on Human Rights, and that it is nationally and internationally considered necessary that the liability of the carrier is limited or may be limited in the event of a passenger's death or personal injury.

Netherlands prepares to adopt Rotterdam Rules
  • Netherlands
  • 01 August 2018

With two bills recently submitted to Parliament, the Netherlands is preparing to adopt the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Carriage of Goods Wholly or Partly by Sea (the Rotterdam Rules) into Dutch law. This legislative effort is a clear sign of support in respect of the rules and will be appreciated by those convinced that the rules are the way forward for the carriage of goods in this age of e-commerce.

Dutch court rules that tank storage provider cannot invoke exoneration clause contained in VOTOB conditions
  • Netherlands
  • 16 May 2018

The Rotterdam District Court recently ruled that a tank storage provider could not invoke the exoneration clause of the General Conditions for Tank Storage in the Netherlands (the VOTOB conditions), which are frequently used by Dutch tank terminals and storage companies. The decision is relevant, as it appears to contravene the rather strict approach adopted in Dutch case law in relation to successfully setting aside a VOTOB exoneration clause.

Dutch court underlines arrestors' rights
  • Netherlands
  • 09 May 2018

​The Dutch courts recently confirmed that a party which is arresting a vessel has no obligation to pay berth fees or any other associated costs during the period that the vessel remains under arrest. This decision is notable, as although it is in line with the traditional understanding, it is one of few decisions to have been issued on this matter in the Netherlands. It will also likely be regarded with interest in other jurisdictions, where different rules concerning the obligations of arresting parties apply.


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