Latest updates

Small boost in battle against high prices for medicinal products
  • Healthcare & Life Sciences
  • Netherlands
  • 16 January 2019

The Health and Youth Care Inspectorate recently published its report on its investigation into the quality and permissibility of the Amsterdam University Medical Centre's (Amsterdam UMC's) pharmaceutical compounding of its cerebrotendineous xanthomatosis drug, which contains the active substance chenodeoxycholic acid (CDCA). According to the inspectorate, the small-scale preparation of CDCA on prescription by Amsterdam UMC is legally allowed based on an exception under European and Dutch law.

No copyright protection for taste of food
AKD NV
  • Intellectual Property
  • 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.

Employers beware! Right of access to personnel files under GDPR
AKD NV
  • Employment & Benefits
  • 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.

Amsterdam Court of Appeal declares Fortis settlement binding under WCAM
AKD NV
  • Litigation
  • 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
AKD NV
  • Shipping & Transport
  • 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.

Onus on party seeking to limit liability to provide all information at early stage
AKD NV
  • Litigation
  • 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
AKD NV
  • Litigation
  • 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.

adidas knocked out in trademark infringement case: McGregor IP maintains right to use Conor McGregor's name
AKD NV
  • Intellectual Property
  • 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.

Amsterdam District Court dismisses Fairfield Funds' claim against PwC in relation to Madoff Ponzi scheme
AKD NV
  • Litigation
  • 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.

Failure to observe customs rules could have costly implications
  • International Trade
  • Netherlands
  • 12 October 2018

The Dutch customs authorities have wide-ranging inspection powers and, once irregularities have been uncovered, parties with cargo interests may face severe delays and ensuing costs which could have been avoided had they had a better understanding of the relevant rules and regulations. Parties which violate the rules will be subject to legal enforcement proceedings and possible prosecution under criminal law in the event of the Public Prosecutor's Office's involvement.

Is this the end of traditional employment contracts?
AKD NV
  • Employment & Benefits
  • 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.

For-profit hospital care: don't hold your breath
  • Healthcare & Life Sciences
  • Netherlands
  • 10 October 2018

For-profit hospital care is a toxic political subject. Those in favour will achieve no political gain by fighting for it, while those opposed can easily cash in on the sentiment or conviction that healthcare is best provided if financial motives are neutralised. Nonetheless, the current administration is carefully reviving the discussion about for-profit healthcare. However, given the current political landscape, prolonging the regulatory twilight zone seems the most likely outcome.

Heks'nkaas: advocate general's opinion on copyrighting tastes unpalatable for Levola
AKD NV
  • Litigation
  • 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.

Heks'nkaas: advocate general's opinion on copyrighting tastes unpalatable for Levola
AKD NV
  • Intellectual Property
  • 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.

Supreme Court confirms right to limit liability
AKD NV
  • Litigation
  • Netherlands
  • 21 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.

Supreme Court further clarifies scope of 'main proceedings' for pre-judgment attachments in cross-border disputes
AKD NV
  • Litigation
  • Netherlands
  • 14 August 2018

The Dutch courts have jurisdiction to grant permission for pre-judgment attachment on assets that are located in the Netherlands, even if the debtor is foreign and the Dutch courts have no jurisdiction in the main proceedings. A recent Supreme Court decision has provided further guidance on which (foreign) court actions can be considered 'main proceedings' within the meaning of the Code of Civil Procedure and at what time the creditor must be deemed to have instituted these main proceedings.

Supreme Court confirms right to limit liability
AKD NV
  • Shipping & Transport
  • 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.

Can directors be held liable for IP infringements?
AKD NV
  • Litigation
  • Netherlands
  • 07 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.

Can directors be held liable for IP infringements?
AKD NV
  • Intellectual Property
  • 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.

New government measures aim to keep medicines affordable
  • Healthcare & Life Sciences
  • Netherlands
  • 01 August 2018

The minister for medical care recently announced a set of measures to control the rising costs of pharmaceutical drugs, which – without action – are forecast to rise by at least 10% annually. The measures aim to guarantee patient accessibility to medicines and the affordability of care in the long term. The minister estimates that the measures will save the country €467 million per year by 2022.