Next Generation Partners

Firms To Watch: Industry focus: Food

Crowell & Moring‘s cross-practice team works with a number of high-profile brands on trademark infringement proceedings, insolvencies, and other IP and media matters. Patent litigator Jan-Diederik Lindemans and food production specialist Eric Montens are the key names to note.

Industry focus: Food in Belgium

Bird & Bird

Underpinned by the firm’s wider IP expertise, the cross-practice team at Bird & Bird is praised for the breadth of its food sector capabilities, routinely working with a sterling mix of multinational conglomerates, producers, industry associations, and food tech startups. Regulatory analyses, trademark protection, and cross-border disputes are all core competencies for the ‘knowledgeable‘ group. The team is jointly steered by veteran IP head Jean-Christophe Troussel and the firm’s international food and beverage sector group head Nicolas Carbonnelle, who was promoted to partner in May 2022. All named lawyers are based in Brussels.

Practice head(s):

Jean-Christophe Troussel; Nicolas Carbonnelle


Testimonials

‘The team is very knowledgeable on the UK and EU regulations. We are provided with accurate calculations and substantiation based on our product formulation.’

‘Nicolas Carbonnelle is amazing and easy to work with. He translates the legal verbiage to where a normal person, like myself, can understand and relate to the information. He makes it so much easier to navigate through our projects and branding strategy.’

Key clients

Anheuser-Busch InBev


FAM, Stumabo and Hifferman


Royal A-Ware BV


ACE (Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment) and GRACE (Global Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment)


Le Pain Quotidien


SodaStream


IPIFF (International Platform of Insects for Food and Feed)


Evergrain


SodaPressCo


Eckes-Granini


8Greens


Work highlights


  • Successfully defended ABI in a cancellation action launched by Heineken against one of ABI’s trademarks, and a number of successful negotiations for ABI in strategic trademark collision matters.
  • Assisted Royal A-ware, a major Dutch dairy product producer, to obtain merger clearance for its acquisition of the milk powder production assets of FrieslandCampina.
  • Established a relationship with SodaStream related to its Benelux and other EU market operations.

DALDEWOLF

Drawing high praise from a number of clients, DALDEWOLF‘s food and beverage team works with a litany of market-leading corporates and sector organisations in the full gamut of contentious and non-contentious matters, ranging from labelling and advertising queries to proceedings opposite the Food Safety Agency, taken before the Council of State. ‘Sharp, personal and a true food law expert‘, practice head Aude Mahy is roundly lauded for her ‘perfect knowledge of the food sector‘ as well as for her ‘pragmatic approach‘. Other names to note include junior associate Floriane Delbaere, who joined the practice in February 2022. All named lawyers are based in Brussels.

Practice head(s):

Aude Mahy


Other key lawyers:

Floriane Delbaere


Testimonials

‘Aude Mahy has a perfect knowledge of the food sector and always comes with a global pragmatic approach to handle very sensitive cases.’

‘To my mind, the one and only food law expert in Belgium.’

‘Aude Mahy is sharp, personal and a true food law expert. I happily entrust her with my clients.’

‘I always work with Aude Mahy for specific food issues. She is really responsive and gives practical advice that can be translated directly into concrete internal guidance or internal decisions.’

‘Audy Mahy is a real leader in the sector; very hands-on and pragmatic.’

Work highlights


  • Assisting a Honduras-based fruit producer and worldwide leader in the expert of melons, in the post-crisis management of a multi-country outbreak of salmonella having impacted EU countries and the UK during summer 2021 and having led to the set-up of temporary increased controls at the EU border.
  • Assisting an international family-owned business based in Finland with subsidiaries in Belgium, active in the production of plant-based products and snacks, in the management of a food crisis linked to a sudden ban on marketing of one of the company’s ingredients by the Belgian food safety authority.
  • Successfully represented a market leader and international conservation specialist in the seafood industry, in a dispute with the Belgian Food Safety Agency regarding the legality of a cold smoking treatment process in tuna.

DLA Piper

An ever-growing roster of blue-chip brands and producers seek out DLA Piper for the breadth of its expertise across commercial, regulatory, and disputes-related matters. Alexis Fierens, who heads up the Belgian retail and consumer goods practice, is a highly experienced adviser for IP, distribution, competition, and advertising issues within the sector. The highly experienced Bob Martens is recommended for his strategic advice and projects work, while Antwerp-based corporate partner Koen Selleslags specialises in M&A transactions and restructuring proceedings within the sector. Counsel Lieven Annaert is noted for his experience of liability claims and packaging regulation. All named lawyers are based in Brussels unless noted otherwise.

Practice head(s):

Alexis Fierens; Bob Martens


Other key lawyers:

Lieven Annaert


Key clients

SodaStream International Ltd


Lotus Bakeries


Bacardi-Martini


Barry Callebaut


Sodexo


Hard Rock Café


Philip Morris


Colruyt


Work highlights


  • Representing SodaStream in connection with proceedings initiated before the Enterprise Court of Brussels by various bottling companies to challenge SodaStream’s advertising campaigns.
  • Acting for Lotus Bakeries on company law and general commercial and advertising law matters, as well as advising regarding the labelling requirements of the client’s products under the applicable EU legislation and the assessment of possible sanctions in the event of non-compliance.
  • Assisting Bacardi with – among other matters – the creation of a commercial cooperation agreement with Schweppes, for the co-branding of Bacardi and Schweppes tonic products, the review of and advise regarding specific branding and advertising and promotion campaigns, the drafting of – and accompanying advice regarding – the new terms and conditions of sale and new wholesale agreements (both standard and on-trade), conducting various IP disputes, and responding to complaints with the advertising regulator.

Allen & Overy LLP

Working with a number of market-leading conglomerates – including manufacturers, wholesalers, and distributors – Allen & Overy LLP‘s cross-practice team handles a wide range of corporate, regulatory, and contentious matters. Key names to note include Yves Van Pul, a specialist in financing transactions and capital markets work; Gauthier Van Thuyne, whose focus encompasses public law and environmental compliance; IP expert Geert Glas; and corporate partner Dirk Meeus.

Other key lawyers:

Yves Van Pul; Gauthier Van Thuyne; Geert Glas; Dirk Meeus.


Key clients

Brouwerij Haacht


La Lorraine Bakery Group


Vinventions


Work highlights


  • Representing various breweries and other alcoholic beverage companies on a range of trademark and other intellectual property issues.
  • Advised on a US private placement and a loan refinancing, with La Lorraine acting as borrower.
  • Advised Vinventions, a company that makes products for the wine industry, in connection with its role as borrower in a unitranche financing.

ALTIUS

Leveraging the firm’s IP, competition, regulatory, and corporate capabilities, the cross-disciplinary agri-food practice at ALTIUS is a strong choice for a number of restaurant chains, producers, industry organisations, and public bodies. Steered by Phillippe De Jong, a specialist in patents and parallel import, and Olivier Vrins, who is highly experienced in geographical indication matters, the team’s workload includes trademark opposition proceedings, registration issues, and regulatory analyses. Names to note at associate level include IP and regulatory lawyer Bregt Raus.

Practice head(s):

Philippe De Jong; Olivier Vrins


Other key lawyers:

Bregt Raus


Key clients

The Government and Attorney General of Pakistan


CIVC (Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne)


GEEFA


Work highlights


  • Assisting a pig breeding company and the European Forum of Farm Animal Breeders (EFFAB) in the context of objections proceedings under the EU Regulation on Protected Designations of Origin against a request filed by the Italian Consorzio del Prosciutto San Daniele.
  • Representing Pakistan before the European Commission in opposition proceedings against an application by India for registration of ‘Basmati’ as a protected geographical indication in the EU.
  • Representing the authority in charge of the protection of the protected designation of origin ‘Prosecco’ before the European Commission in opposition proceedings against an application by an EU country for the registration of a traditional term for wine in the EU.