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Internet and IT Law

Netherlands Commercial Court now also open to IP cases

Three years ago, the Netherlands Commercial Court (NCC) officially opened. The court deals with international civil and commercial cases, including trade disputes and corporate matters. Although it has always been possible to have intellectual property cases adjudicated by the NCC, the court did not have any judges specialising in intellectual property. This has now changed: earlier this week, six judges with considerable experience in the intellectual property field were appointed by the NCC, including two highly esteemed professors as deputy judges. The other judges are staff members of various Dutch courts, including one judge usually affiliated to the district court of The Hague, which is the most important court for intellectual property cases in the Netherlands.

Eligible intellectual property cases

The NCC has jurisdiction over almost all cases concerning intellectual property law, including copyright, Benelux trademarks and design rights, trade names and trade secrets. Notable exceptions to the list of cases that the NCC can deal with are matters concerning the validity or infringement of patents, plant variety rights and European Union trademark and design rights, as the district court of The Hague has exclusive jurisdiction over these matters.

Limitations to the NCC’s jurisdiction

Other matters regarding these rights, such as breach of a patent licence agreement, fall outside the scope of the exclusive jurisdiction, and may therefore be brought before the NCC. The NCC could also handle summary proceedings on the infringement of EU trademarks and design rights, but this is not very likely. As in any NCC case, both parties must agree that the proceedings are held before the NCC, and getting the other party’s consent will usually not be the top priority if you are confronted with a trademark infringement.

Litigation at the NCC

For any other intellectual property case , the NCC may prove a very good alternative for the regular Dutch court or a foreign court: proceedings are speedy, entirely in English, handled by specialised judges and very flexible. We are happy to advise on the possibilities for bringing your intellectual property case – or any other commercial matter, of course – to the NCC. From our office, the court is right across the street, so we know the way!

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