Industry focus: IT and telecoms in Belgium
Allen & Overy LLP
The 'practical, flexible and solution-driven' TMT sector group at Allen & Overy LLP leverages a multidisciplinary team, which assists an impressive client roster including Intel, Google and Nikon on the full range of commercial, corporate and contentious matters. It is particular praised for its expertise in digital transformation projects in the medical and health, automotive and financial services sectors. Practice head Filip Van Elsen is a key name to note for commercial IT advice relating to emerging technologies including outsourcing issues, cloud computing work, big data projects, data protection mandates and cybersecurity matters. Other names to note include Geert Glas and Peter Van Dyck; Glas focuses on IP, IT and e-commerce litigation, while Van Dyck is an expert in data protection issues.
‘A very strong team with excellent experience within the industry. Very prompt and hands on in their negotiations on behalf of the client with a clear focus and arguments to back their demands.‘
‘Filip Van Elsen and Cedric Lindenmann work very well together as a team – easily accessible, prompt in their responses, well-researched opinions and excellent drafting skills.‘
Klook Travel Technology LTD
- Represented ArcelorMittal in a dispute with its IT software supplier Intris relating to a failed IT project, which was settled through mediation.
- Advising Saudi Aramco on its strategic collaboration with Google for the construction of a new Google data centre in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
- Advised Klook Travel Technology on a potential cybersecurity incident, which resulted in the personal data and credit card information of a significant number of customers being potentially compromised.
Bird & Bird's TMT practice advises on the full spectrum of contentious and non-contentious issues including licensing work, outsourcings and joint venture agreements, IP protection, regulatory issues and public procurement mandates across the IT and telecoms sectors. Benoit Van Asbroeck, who combines data protection, commercial contract and public procurement expertise, and EU and competition specialist Hein Hobbelen jointly lead the practice.
UAB Bitė Lietuva
T-Mobile / Tele 2
- Assisting with a European Commission research project, which will provide recommendations on the prerequisites of effective big data implementation in the transport sector.
- Representing UAB Bitė Lietuva in a state aid complaint and EU law infringement claim against the Lithuania state relating to the funding of broadband networks.
- Acted for T-Mobile Netherlands as an interested third party in the renotification of the Liberty Global (UPC)/Ziggo transaction at the European Commission.
The IP and technology team at DLA Piper assists with contentious and non-contentious matters for its IT and telecoms sector clients, with expertise across IT public procurement and outsourcing deals, data protection advice, telecoms projects and regulatory matters. The group attracts praise for its 'good combination of in-depth knowledge of the business context and the best practices in IT law' and counts Tesla, Steria Benelux and Vodafone as new clients. Kristof De Vulder, who handles technology contracts, transactions and IT disputes, heads up the team, with other focus on non-contentious IT and data protection matters. Patrick Van Eecke left for Cooley LLP in September 2020.
‘They are strong for both contract drafting and more tactical and strategic scenario thinking in IT focussed topics as well in more general (IT) company positioning.‘
‘Kristiof De Vulder is a trusted advisor and knows what in-house counsel need to succeed.‘
‘Patrick Van Eecke is an absolute expert in his field.‘
‘Bob Martens is a smooth litigator.‘
‘Kristof De Vulder is seen as a reliable partner in IT outsourcing.‘
‘DLA Piper ensures a continuity both in the overall client relationship and in specific assignments. This allows for a very fast start-up of new assignments and a thorough understanding of client needs. This is particularly true for Kristof De Vulder as Partner and Raf Schoefs as associate.‘
‘DLA Brussels offers magic circle legal services at local rates. They ensure a high level of partner involvement.‘
SNCB/NMBS (Belgian railways)
- Advising SNCB/NMBS (The Belgian Railways) on its digital transformation project, which includes a tender process to select a single partner to outsource all of its IT applications, IT infrastructure (including cloud computing) and cybersecurity activities.
- Representing Accenture in IT litigation involving several parties relating to a project in the energy sector.
- Assisted SD Worx with the preparation and negotiation of agreements relating to the development of a business-critical payroll engine.
Clients praise Stibbe's IT team as 'head and shoulders above many other firms'' with 'impressive know-how and experience in the IT law sector, including big tender projects'. Its multidisciplinary team advises clients across corporate and commercial transactions, public law work, regulatory issues and IP matters and acts in IT litigation. The 'extremely knowledgeable' Erik Valgaeren leads the practice and assists with a variety of contentious and non-contentious IT, internet, data protection, media and e-communication issues.
‘I’ve worked with many law firms specialising in IT but Stibbe always rises above the others in terms of knowledge about IT – even cutting-edge topics – operational excellence, and concrete experience with legal aspects of IT.‘
‘The team is always eager to learn, dives deep into topics and as such has knowledge about IT that goes further than skin deep.‘
‘The IT and telecoms practice group at Stibbe is a leader in the industry and handles the most high-profile files in these sectors.‘
‘The Stibbe team have a great depth of expertise in international commercial law. My company retained the practice to advise of complex commercial agreements between multiple European companies. In our view, the quality and responsiveness of the service provided is marked improvement over other specialists that we have worked with.‘
‘Erik is extremely knowledgeable in his field, thinks both deep and wide, and as such tackles problems for his clients in a very thorough and professional way. ‘
‘Erik Valgaeren and Carolien Michielsen are highlighted for their accuracy in work performance and availability on long term projects; high quality of performance and work delivered.‘
‘Erik Valgaeren is known internationally as a leader in this area. His expertise in both IT and telecom is one of the deepest and he is very easy to work with.‘
‘Carol Evrard, senior associate in this team, is highly knowledgeable and handles complex files. She is a pleasure to work with.’
‘Erik Valgaeren and Sarah De Wulf as key contacts have been invaluable in providing advice, often with extremely tight deadlines.‘
Brussels Airport Company
Mercedes-Benz Financial Services Belux
Belgian Federal Police
- Representing AB Inbev in a dispute with CapGemini on pricing and implementation issues in a data centre services outsourcing agreement.
- Advising Microsoft on regulatory issues and acting for the client in litigation against the Belgian Institute for Postal Services and Telecommunications.
- Assisting the federal police with the purchase and implementation of a new integrated IT solution.
The 'very client-centric' ICT team at ALTIUS provides 'hands-on and practical advice, availability and in-depth regulatory knowledge'. The practice acts for an impressive client roster, which spans market-leading companies, start-ups and spin-offs, in high-profile litigation; the group also handles commercial transactions and corporate and regulatory matters. Department co-head Gerrit Vandendriessche is 'a market-leading specialist in IT and privacy' and advises on commercial matters and ICT litigation; corporate expert Jérôme Vermeylen also leads the group.
‘They know their subject very well and can explain it as well. They are also able to make a bridge to IT people.‘
‘Gerrit Vandendriessche is not only generally known as a market-leading specialist in IT and privacy, he is also very practical and responsive in his dealings with clients and peers.‘
- Advised Egeria on the sale of QNH Software Solutions to leading Belgian IT consultancy company Cegeka.
- Assisted the German subsidiary of OPT Machine Vision with its acquisition of Vector International (C-Cam).
- Advised Everis on several corporate matters including the reorganisation of its Belgian structure.
CMS' IT and telecoms practice attracts praise for its 'high-quality, cost effective and timely manner'. The group is instructed by high-profile companies including Facebook, Proximus and new client Spotify, and handles contentious and non-contentious technology, data protection, regulatory and telecoms issues. Competition and telecoms expert Dirk Van Liedekerke leads the team alongside Tom De Cordier, who focuses on commercial technology and data privacy mandates.
‘The CMS team has supported our company for many years and has significant experience in telecoms and provides consistently high quality, timely, cost effective, and ethical yet practical advice.’
‘They are essential to our regulatory operations in Belgium.‘
‘Tom DeCordier is the lynchpin to the regulatory team that advises our company and provides exceptional advice in a practical and savvy yet highly ethical manner.‘
‘The team that Tom DeCordier oversees is consistently responsive on a wide variety of regulatory matters, and does so in a very high quality, cost effective, and timely manner.‘
- Advising Sharingbox, the Belgian-base market leader for digital photobooths in Western Europe, on implementing technical and organisational security measures to comply with the international standard for information security across all of its activities in Europe.
- Acted for Sagi (Telio Group) in a dispute relating to a tender procedure by the Belgian authorities and the regulatory aspects of the provision of telephony services in prison.
Fieldfisher's cross-departmental IT and telecoms team provides commercial, regulatory, IP, contentious and transactional assistance to clients. The group is jointly led by Tim Van Canneyt, who advises on IT contracts, litigation and data protection and e-commerce matters; and privacy, information and security expert Olivier Proust.
Linklaters' 'knowledgeable' TMT team is frequently instructed by customers of IT service providers to assist with outsourcing and cloud projects; it has particular expertise in the financial services sector, and retail and distribution mandates. The practice also acts for Belgian and international telecoms clients on transactional and regulatory matters. Practice head Tanguy Van Overstraeten combines IT procurement and outsourcing experience with data protection knowledge.
‘They are global law firm and can align with each country’s law firm, if necessary. They are a reliable partner.‘
‘Tanguy Van Overstraeten has a high level of expertise in the field of data protection in the EU and can provide accurate advice.‘
‘Tanguy Van Overstraeten is highly adept at translating business needs into clearly stated contract proposals.‘
BNP Paribas Fortis
Pensioenfonds Metaal OFP
Warburg Pincus International
- Advised AG Insurance on a critical IT re-platforming project, involving the migration of the entire IT system of AG Insurance from an IBM Mainframe-based IT system (operated by BNP Paribas Fortis) to a Windows-based system owned by AG Insurance.
- Advised ageas with the roll-out of a cloud solution within the its group.
- Assisted Candriam Belgium with the drafting of a term sheet and an agreement for the provision of a robo-advisor solution.
Boutique IT and media firm time.lex is highlighted for its strength in data IT and data protection regulatory and compliance matters and also handles litigation. The group frequently advises European, national and foreign governments and governmental bodies, and is representing the Belgian Data Protection Authority in high-profile litigation against Facebook. The team has substantial sector expertise and is jointly led by Jos Dumortier, Hans Graux, Geert Somers, Edwin Jacobs, Frederic Debusseré and Ruben Roex.
‘Their advice is always hands on, understandable and usable. You can share advice with senior management without having to interpret and translate it to understandable language.‘
‘Their experience and knowledge of both legislation and our sector are outstanding. They know what to expect in procedures and know how to avoid certain pitfalls.‘
‘The office is a very specialised IT office with knowledgable lawyers in several areas of IT.‘
‘Timelex’s practice is unique because of their knowledge of the market and the law. The team has a firm understanding of technology and related interests.‘
‘High quality advice. Very responsive. Very competitive pricing.‘
‘The team is very knowledgeable about all aspects of IT law. They have specialised in one niche area of the law, and know that area very well.‘
‘This team is specialised in legislation, privacy, failed automation, fintech, and IT contracts.’
‘Edwin Jacobs is a great guy. He is kind, knowledgeable and a good leader. Stefan van Camp is not afraid to work. They both act quickly, answer thoroughly and are great to work with.‘
‘Edwin Jacobs is an exceptionally good technical lawyer. He really understands GDPR and the challenges of explaining it to clients.‘
Belgian Data Protection Authority
European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA)
European Telecommunications Network Operators’ Association (ETNO)
- Representing the Belgian Government, namely the Ministry of Social Security, in a high-level IT dispute with international consulting company Capgemini.
- Representing the Belgian Data Protection Authority in litigation against Facebook in the Brussels Court of Appeal regarding Facebook’s use of social plug-ins, cookies and screen pixels to track internet users.
- Acting for Cycling Vlaanderen, the official cycling federation in Flanders, in a dispute arising from a failed IT project.
ASTREA's IT and media sector practice assists technology sector clients with a range of contentious and non-contentious matters leveraging the group's privacy, outsourcing and corporate expertise. The impressive client roster includes Belgian and international companies including Microsoft, Skype Communications and SPIE. Practice head Steven De Schrijver has a broad practice with e-commerce, data protection, IT outsourcing and cybersecurity experience.
Computer Software, Management, Operations & Services NV (Cosmos)
Engineered Performance Technologies
ISS Facility Services
Skype Communications s.à.r.l.
Cargotec / Kalmar
- Assisted Korean Motor Company, the importer of Hyundai vehicles in Belgium and Luxembourg, with the negotiation of a contract with a supplier of devices and cloud services, allowing the launch of connected cars services on the Hyundai vehicles sold in Belgium and Luxembourg.
- Advised the Belgian National Employment Office on the renewal of an agreement for the IT system that manages the payments to all unemployed persons in Belgium.
- Assisted US-based company DoubleVerify, which is backed by Providence, with the acquisition of Zentrick, a Belgian technology company.
With 'great expertise in the start-up and scale-up fields', Antwerp-based boutique Cresco Advocaten advises technology sector companies, technology-enabled companies and venture capital funds on corporate, commercial, IP and contentious matters. The group's sector focus spans the ICT, cleantech, medtech and digital health industries. Corporate and venture capital expert David Dessers heads up the practice, which includes senior associate Olivier Van Raemdonck, who focuses on commercial transactions.
‘Cresco has a very professional way of working. They react swiftly to any questions and provide clear, transparent answers.‘
‘Cresco’s advice and work has only ever been exquisite, both in punctuality of delivery and in quality of materials. They have built a strong expertise in start-up & scale-up advisory.‘
‘Cresco’s team acts with a client-first mentality in terms of reachability and work prioritisation.‘
‘Cresco as a legal firm is very business-minded. Pragmatism and speed are key assets.‘
‘Senior associate Olivier van Raemdonck has a thorough knowledge of intellectual property rights.‘
‘David Dessers and senior associate Olivier Van Raemdonck offer great availability, even on the weekend or in the evening. They are solution-oriented and provide to the point and useful feedback.‘
Elia – IO Energy
The Glue – TOCO
Wit-Gele Kruis West-Vlaanderen
Zoo van Antwerpen
- Assisted NxtPort with the development of several technology agreements relating to the sale of its data solutions, consisting of software, SaaS services and maintenance/support SLAs.
- Advised Lithuania-based semiconductor company, Brolis, on its research and development operations. This included structuring and negotiating an IP management and patent license agreement, as well as an R&D collaboration agreement with Belgian research institutions.
- Advised Lineas on its joint venture with ERTMS for the creation a disruptive, low-cost, high-security euro vital computer (EVC) solution, primarily focused on the shunting locomotive market.
Crowell & Moring's technology, media and telecoms practice handles a variety of commercial, corporate and contentious matters for its clients, which include Liberty Global and Melita. The group is recognised for its strength in telecoms regulatory matters and is frequently instructed by Telenet on contentious and non-contentious matters; practice head Thomas De Meese is the key contact for the client. It also handles commercial and regulatory matters for technology and IT sector companies, with particular expertise in e-commerce and internet-related issues. Litigator Jan-Diederik Lindemans and privacy and cybersecurity specialist Maarten Stassen are other names to note.
- Representing Telenet in litigation regarding its alleged liability for the fact that its network and transmission equipment is being used by its subscribers to send and receive copyrighted material.
- Assisted inDeap BVBA with drafting an agreement for the provision of consultancy services and an agreement for the provision of software as a service.
- Representing Telenet in an appeal against the decision of the Conference of Regulators for the Electronic Communications Sector regarding open access to Telenet cable.
Jones Day fields a multidisciplinary team, which advises its technology and telecoms sector clients on a range of issues including regulatory and competition matters, M&A and venture capital transactions, and data protection and cybersecurity work. Bernard Amory and Alexandre Verheyden, who focus on telecoms-related competition matters, jointly lead the practice group with newly promoted partner and cybersecurity and data protection expert Jörg Hladjk, and M&A specialist Thomas De Muynck.
Pharma Product Development
Procter & Gamble Company
ZF Friedrichshafen AG
Fédération des entreprises de Belgique (“FEB”)
Broadband Belgium / Broadband Portugal
bpost N.V. van publiek recht
ComReg (Irish Commission for Communications Regulation)
Deutsche Telekom / T-Mobile
GSM Association (GSMA)
Telenet / Liberty Global
EMERAM Capital Partners
BNPP Paribas Fortis
Hexagon / Intergraph SA
- Advised Evidera on cybersecurity and data protection matters relating to its acquisition of Medimix International, a global technology company.
- Advised Garmin on its acquisition of the Tacx group.
- Representing BT, Colt and a US telecoms operator in three separate damages claims relating to abuse of dominance by Belgacom Mobile through its low on-net tariffs.
Lydian's information and communications technology team is highlighted for its telecoms sector expertise and handles transactional, advisory and contentious matters for its client roster, which includes Orange Belgium and Deutsche Telekom. The group frequently receives referrals from foreign firms and benefits from its ability to work closely with lawyers in the firm's employment, tax, corporate, intellectual property and commercial teams. Bastiaan Bruyndonckx heads up the practice and has expertise across telecoms, privacy, data protection and cybersecurity mandates.
‘In-depth knowledge of the various legal topics within this domain, with good availability, a diverse team which can handle a lot and employ a pragmatic approach.‘
‘Lydian’s approach is more personable than other firms in our network. They’ll take time to understand the intricacies of our way of working.‘
‘Bastiaan Bruyndonckx is hands on and a pleasure to work with.‘
‘Bastiaan Bruyndonckx and Olivia Santantonio helped us understand the obligations for GDPR compliance and have helped us to navigate data breaches. They are pragmatic and business-minded, and I appreciate their ability to apply the theory of the law in a realistic way to our business.‘
Orange Belgium NV
Orange Belgium NV
Deutsche Telekom AG
Deutsche Telekom AG
Morrison & Foerster LLP
MetaSwitch Networks Ltd.
Deutsche Telekom AG
- Representing Orange Belgium in a high-profile dispute with Mircom relating to access to customer data.
- Advising Megaport on telecom regulatory issues and commercial agreements relating to its establishment of a Belgian branch.
- Advising Temasek Holdings on cloud regulatory issues in Belgium.
Verhaegen Walravens handles contentious and non-contentious instructions for its clients across the IT and telecoms sectors. The group's experience spans privacy and personal data protection advice, electronic communications issues, electronic and mobile business matters, platforms and digital marketing work. Practice head Emmanuel Szafran has a broad practice, which encompasses regulatory, transactional and contentious matters.
Tokyo Electron Europe
- Assisted Musimap, a leading Artificial Emotional Intelligence (A.E.I.) company in the music industry, with developing complex SaaS agreements.
- Advised SweepBright, a rising technology company involved in SaaS provision to the real estate market, on SaaS agreements and privacy law compliance across several jurisdictions. The team also acted for the client on the development of innovative digital marketing activities.
- Assisted a large direct marketing agency, which specialises in the setting up and running of complex digital marketing platforms, with its GDPR compliance program.
Paul Van den Bulck joined AKD from McGuireWoods LLP's former Brussels office in early 2019 and leads the firm’s Brussels-based TMT practice, which is particularly active in telecoms regulatory matters and data protection advice. Van den Bulk has experience across IT transactions and disputes, data protection matters and telecoms regulatory work, and attracts praise for his ‘excellent technical understanding of the underlying issues’.
‘The team tailors its legal expertise for each client which leads to a strong relationship.‘
‘Paul Van den Bulck is very close to the latest legal developments in tech and IT, enabling his clients to be ahead of regulators or competitors.‘
‘Paul Van den Bulck is an outstanding partner in strategy and tactics. He has a diversity of knowledge and experience which makes him a most valuable key player.‘
Institut Belge des Services postaux et des télécommunications (IBPT- Belgian regulator for postal and telecom services)
Ambos NBGO Advocaten advises on commercial and contractual IT matters and also represents clients in disputes. The group's client roster includes IT and telecoms companies including Broadband Belgium, AllThingsTalk and software company Aurea; it also advises customers of service providers on licensing and outsourcing transactions, and data protection issues. Bart Vandereeckt jointly leads the practice and assists with contentious and non-contentious digital media, communications and IT matters, and IP issues. Fellow co-head Kathleen Paisley is highlighted for her EU data protection and cybersecurity expertise.
- Representing Zites in a pricing dispute with TechMahindra.
- Representing Taiden Industrial in litigation relating to its alleged infringement of the copyright of the graphical user interface of an interpreter desk of Televic.
- Advising Peripass on all IP and IT related matters, notably with regard to licensing, distribution and data protection issues.
With regulatory, competition and commercial expertise, DALDEWOLF’s IP and IT team advises high-profile clients in the telecoms and technology sectors. The group has been particularly active assisting clients with copyright matters, The group also handles contractual and contentious IT issues, which are key areas for Sari Depreeuw; and advises telecoms sector clients on competition law matters, for which ‘EU and Belgian competition law expert’ Pierre Goffinet is a key name to note.
‘Strong team that is able to think with you while still providing the best legal advice. They go the extra mile.‘
‘They offer business-oriented solutions and the ability to handle complex procedural files and sharp deadlines.‘
‘Sari Depreeuw is always my go-to for any IP/IT legal advice.‘
Monard Law's information and communication technology team has particular experience advising Belgian companies on IT contract negotiations, litigation and data protection compliance. Hasselt-based commercial partner Kristof Zadora has particular cloud computing, big data, healthcare and automotive sector expertise, and heads up the team, which includes Ghent-based associate partner Stephane Criel, who has notable IT and IP experience. Ben Hermans moved to Artes.
‘Monard Law has in-house specialists in various matters and can therefore handle cases involving several branches of law perfectly and with the necessary expertise.‘
‘IT and Telecoms practice of Monard Law has been set up with small but highly professional teams. When necessary they temporarily add specialists to the team, but they always are in charge of the project.‘
‘Communication lines are very short and direct. Compared to other firms we see a lot of bureaucracy, no clear system of invoicing. Also they add staff to their teams without the necessary skills and experience.‘
‘They have a very personal approach and all the necessary knowledge to support an international Healthcare IT company such as ours.‘
‘The employees at Monard Law are very professional. This applies both to the content of their files and to the follow-up of these files. The fee calculation is also very transparent.‘
‘Kristof Zadora is an experienced lawyer, young and dedicated to the case and to his customer. He is easy to communicate and work with, works autonomously and acts is a very pragmatic way.‘
‘They are always to the point, have great knowledge, are good communicators and fun to work with.‘
Chili Publish NV
AZ Jan Palfijn
The Safe Group
Bechtle (Direct NV)
U (niversity) Hasselt
- Assisted hospital AZ Jan Palfijn with the negotiation and drafting of a licence agreement for the roll out a new electronic patient record system.
- Advised Vesalius on a complex public tendering procedure related to the acquisition of new software.
- Assisted BCT Software with several IT related matters including advising on the development of software packages and contract drafting issues.
Brussels-based dispute resolution boutique Petillion has particular IP, IT and data protection expertise. The group is particularly active in domain name disputes and trade mark enforcement mandates. Flip Petillion leads the practice and handles a range of trade mark, copyright, unfair competition, information technology and domain issues, and also acts in domain name litigation and arbitration proceedings.
‘Very good and practical legal advice, both with regard to legal and tactical issues. Prompt response and modest fees.‘
‘Excellent quality. High intellectual level. Friendly and engaged.‘
‘Flip is a leading authority in his field, with broad experience in a highly particular field. He hand-picked and trained his associates from the ground up, to make for a team that works seamlessly.‘
‘Flip Petillion is responsive, intelligent, good overall legal knowledge both of the law and the industry. He has rendered some good advice in a difficult trademark matter in the IT industry.‘
‘Flip Petillion is top class with a great international network.‘
‘Flip Petillion is a next-level lawyer with a keen understanding of the legal, practical and commercial dynamics at play.‘
Chatroulette (Andrey Ternovskiy)
Travel Reservations SRL, Minds + Machines Limited, Radix Registry
IKEA (Inter IKEA systems)
- Representing a consortium of applicants including Minds+Machines, Travel Reservations SRL and Radix Registry, for the .Hotel top-level domain in arbitration proceedings against ICANN before the ICDR.
- Assisted FrameIT with the review and negotiation of an IT system engineering contract with an international company active in human resources services.
- Acting for Andrey Ternovskiy, the founder of chat roulette, on the enforcement of the chatroulette trade mark against infringers in Norway, Poland, Denmark and Slovenia.