Osborne Clarke > Brussels, Belgium > Firm Profile

Osborne Clarke
Marsveldplein 5
1050 Brussels
Belgium

Belgium > Industry focus: Retail Tier 1

Leveraging the firm's robust international footprint, the retail industry group at Osborne Clarke consistently advises numerous international companies and key Belgian market players from the worlds of retail and luxury goods. The team is adept at reorganisations, contract negotiations, lease work and regulatory reviews, with recent contentious highlights including appeal proceedings before the General Court. CEPANI and ICC-recognised arbitrator Marie Canivet is noted for her substantial experience in distribution law and franchising, acting for various local and foreign businesses on the full scope of market access issues. Louis Hoffreumon concentrates on retail, advertising, and consumer law, including product regulation and unfair competition.

Practice head(s):

Marie Canivet

Testimonials

‘Great knowledge of the sector and proactive support given with great flexibility to the needs of our company.’

‘The team have been tremendous in anticipating opportunities to mitigate risks and really go above and beyond to address our requirements. Great strategic legal partners!’

Key clients

Puma

Medi-Market

Brico

Godiva

Heytens

Diageo

Alain Afflelou

Aspria

Superdry

Work highlights

  • Advising Godiva on various matters including advice on the day-to-day management of its network, drafting, reviewing and negotiating its commercial and lease contracts, its restructuring, digital transformation strategy, and on drafting a manufacturing and services agreement.
  • Assisting Superdry in several countries, including Belgium, in the review of several lease agreements as well as renegotiation of bank guarantees given for several lease agreements relating to specific Superdry shops.
  • Advising a kitchen manufacturer on various matters including its strategy, expansion, restructuring, drafting and negotiating master franchise contract as well as supply agreements and tax matters.

Belgium > EU regulatory: Privacy and data protection Tier 2

Osborne Clarke advises clients on GDPR and regulatory compliance, data protection policies and audits, and on issues relating to data transfers. The firm has a particular strength in the IT sector, advising on data considerations for strategic projects and digital transformation, including innovative AI and Big Data issues, as well as working with public sector and financial services clients. The practice is led by Benjamin Docquir, who offers broad expertise across data and privacy issues, including specialist advisory work on data pooling and cybersecurity.

Practice head(s):

Benjamin Docquir

Key clients

Bisnode

Brussels Airport

Belgium > Not-for-profit Tier 2

A number of not-for-profit entities active in the healthcare, research and TMT areas turn to Osborne Clarke's multidisciplinary team for assistance with a range of matters, most notably in cross-border restructurings and reorganisations. The group is also adept at governance reviews, process management issues and headquarter relocations. Practice head Ruth Wirtz frequently advises NGOs, charities, hospitals, and research institutes on general corporate matters and contractual disputes, and specialises in national and transnational mergers and restructurings.

Practice head(s):

Ruth Wirtz

Testimonials

‘Based on my experience I would describe them as highly professional, knowledgeable and exceptionally service oriented.’

‘We appreciate the flexibility, professionalism, and transparency. They made us feel well supported.’

‘Ruth Wirtz is always keen on keeping our members informed of new developments in Belgian legislation.’

‘The team’s members are recognised as subject matter experts and the team adopts a pragmatic client-focused approach.’

‘Ruth Wirtz  has been very helpful, understands our constraints and has displayed patience in her interactions with us.’

Key clients

European Chemical Industry Council – CEFIC

Fédération Européenne des Industries des Colles, Adhésifs et Mastics (Association of the European Adhesive and Sealant Industry) – FEICA

Vereinigung der europäischen ergonomischen Gesellschaften e.V. – FEES

International Software Testing Qualification Boards AISBL

Work highlights

  • Assisted ISTQB in analysing a series of complex questions and issues related to the multiple and scattered processes, guidelines and other governing rules of the association including the implementation of a full review of its statutes and internal rules in the challenging circumstances of the COVID-19 crises in order to improve its content and the consistency of all governing rules and processes reflecting ISTQB’s growth and other challenges.
  • Assisted Eclipse Foundation with establishing an additional home base in Europe through the incorporation of a new legal entity in Belgium under the legal form of an international not-for profit association (AISBL/IVZW), on the basis of an existing US entity of the group.
  • Assisting FEES e.V. with its corporate reorganisation and in particular with the transfer of its headquarters and activities from Germany to Belgium.

Belgium > Dispute resolution Tier 3

Leveraging its firmwide sector expertise, Osborne Clarke‘s dispute resolution practice is routinely instructed by a number of leading entities in the retail, life sciences, and tech areas. Practice head Stefan Deswert is an experienced litigator who focuses on local and cross-border disputes, as well as construction litigation and arbitration. Retail head Marie Canivet is well versed in arbitration and mediation proceedings, with specific expertise in distribution law and franchising. Philippe Brabanders is also noted.

Practice head(s):

Stefan Deswert

Key clients

Smartbox

LB Retail

Brico

Coopervision

Allegis

Mamma Roma

Work highlights

  • Representing a client in a bet-the-company litigation against its insurers.
  • Initiating proceedings against the insurer on behalf of TCR, pertaining to an environmental liability insurance concluded by the client.
  • Representing an association dedicated to the design and development of gene therapy treatments for rare diseases in litigation concerning the performance of a patent license agreement.

Belgium > Industry focus: Healthcare and life sciences Tier 3

Osborne Clarke's life sciences and healthcare experience encompasses a range of corporate and commercial concerns, including cross-border VC and M&A transactions, tax matters, and pharmaceutical sector employment law. Data protection and IP rights advice are further key competencies. David Haex is an experienced transactional lawyer with many years of experience assisting biotech, medtech and pharmaceutical companies.

Practice head(s):

David Haex

Testimonials

‘Osborne Clarke is very attentive to its customers. The firm is able to understand and manage very specific innovation issues. They are very easy to work with and are able to work well with different law firms as a team.’

Key clients

Bone Therapeutics

Delphi Genetics

The Adecco Group

Acutus Medical

OncoDNA

Wolfgang Dorfner

ImmunXperts

Novo Nordisk

Bepharbel Manufacturing

Nausicaa Ventures

Work highlights

  • Advising Bone Therapeutics on numerous matters including its €16m loan financing from the European Investment Bank, its €10m private placement, set-up of two stock options plans and the update of its corporate governance charter in light of the BCCA and the new Belgian Code on Corporate Governance.
  • Assisted Delphi Genetics SA with the sale of 100% of its shares through an auction process coordinated by the US-based investment bank Achelous Partners.
  • Representing an association dedicated to the design and development of gene therapy treatments for rare diseases in an important litigation concerning the performance of a patent licence agreement.

Belgium > Commercial, corporate and M&A Tier 4

Osborne Clarke combines its historic strength in the technology sector with additional expertise in life sciences, retail, and financial services, advising a range of domestic and international clients on M&A, growth investments and commercial issues. The team is jointly led by corporate head David Haex, a specialist in life sciences transactions who regularly guides companies from initial venture capital investments through to public listings, and counts major pharma and biotech companies among his clients, alongside commercial head Stefan Deswert, who advises on distribution, retail, logistics, infrastructure and real estate, with a particular focus on commercial contracts and e-contracts.

Practice head(s):

David Haex; Stefan Deswert

Other key lawyers:

Marie Canivet; Hadrien Chef; Ruth Wirtz; Frank Hoogendijk; Louis Hoffreumon

Testimonials

‘This is one of the most proactive teams I’ve worked with. They act as a true partner.’

‘Particular credit is given to David Haex and Frank Hoogendijk for their hands-on approach.’

‘Stefan Deswert and Louis Hoffreumon combine an excellent competence with a distinct service orientation and good price-performance ratio.’

Key clients

Bone Therapeutics

Bisnode

Brokking / Triferto

Interel Holdings

Greenomy

Tioga Capital

OncoDNA

uFund

Delphi Genetics

The Adecco Group

MEAG

Brico

Godiva

Allcargo

Xerox

Work highlights

  • Advising Bone Therapeutics on numerous matters including its €16m loan financing from the European Investment Bank, its €10m private placement, set-up of two stock options plans and the update of its corporate governance charter in light of the BCCA and the new Belgian Code on Corporate Governance.
  • Advising Bisnode Group on the Belgian aspects of its sale to US business analytics firm Dun & Bradstreet Holdings Inc.
  • Advising Godiva on various matters including advice on the day-to-day management of its network, drafting, reviewing and negotiating commercial and lease contracts, its restructuring, digital transformation strategy, and on drafting of a manufacturing and services agreement.

Belgium > Employment Tier 4

Osborne Clarke is noted for its robust employer-side clients, working with a number of large domestic and international companies on a range of employment issues, particularly in the TMT, life sciences, and retail sectors. TUPE transfers, restructurings and post-M&A labour law questions are all core competencies for the team. Practice head Thierry Viérin is routinely sought out by a number of European, US and Indian companies with key operations in Belgium. Vinciane Rysselinck is recommended for her fashion and luxury goods sector expertise.

Practice head(s):

Thierry Viérin

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘I have worked with many external law firms worldwide and find Osborne Clarke Belgium collaborative with their communication and advice.’

‘The business has had a close working relationship with Thierry Viérin at the firm over the past few years. Thierry’s communication with business is exceptional and he is the first point of call for all Legal matters for the company’s Belgian business.’

‘During our dealings, Osborne Clarke re-shuffled its entire team in order to provide the more accurate expertise, with sometimes less than a few days’ notice and mobilised its staff to react to tight deadlines and unforeseen events. The consultancy provided was exhaustive, concise and was utilised at the highest level in our organisation.’

‘I appreciated the reactivity and reliability, which were time essential and adaptability to a range of unexpected scenarios. Open-minded and creative partners, capable of providing answers and base for decision even though we were steering in multiple directions due to the force of the external constraints, above all political. Very diplomatic and empathetic in some difficult meetings where tensions were palpable on both sides, always rational and moderate, but also assertive and confident.’

‘Mr Viérin and Ms Rysselinck in particular were at our side along the painful steps of the process and highly professional committed consultants.’

Key clients

Bolt

Diageo

Bisnode

Godiva

Delphi Genetics

Allegis

Xerox

Aspria

Novo Nordisk

Zambon

Work highlights

  • Advised the EU Commission on TUPE and provided ongoing advice for subsequent litigation around large catering contracts.
  • Advised Godiva on its international restructuring with special attention to Belgium.
  • Advising Allegis on the validation of its business model and creating new business models for staffing agencies in Belgium.

Belgium > Industry focus: IT and telecoms Tier 4

The team at Osborne Clarke leverages the firm’s strong reputation in tech sector litigation to advise Belgian and international entities on a full spectrum of instructions, ranging from contentious to transactional. Contractual reviews and advisory mandates with a distinct IP aspect are further key workflows for the practice. Noted for his capabilities in both IT and IP, Benjamin Docquir frequently works with various tech, financial services, and life sciences clients on digital transformation projects, outsourcing issues, and cloud computing agreements. Laurens Dauwe is another key contact.

Practice head(s):

Benjamin Docquir

Other key lawyers:

Key clients

Molière

Sentia

eggo

HCL

Skemmi

Tein Technology

OncoDNA

Shurgard

The Eclipse Foundation Inc

Match Group

Work highlights

  • Participating in the “Moliere” consortium, an EU funded consortium between the firm, certain major car manufacturers and IoT providers, aiming to perform a feasibility study and deploy an open smart mobility platform based on the use of IoT technology, blockchain and GPS data.
  • Advising Sentia on different aspects regarding cloud contract negotiation, data protection and cybersecurity.
  • Assisted Eclipse Foundation with establishing an additional home base in Europe through the incorporation of a new legal entity in Belgium under the legal form of an international not-for profit association (AISBL/IVZW), on the basis of an existing US entity of the group.

Belgium > Intellectual property Tier 4

Leveraging its firm-wide reputation in the tech, life sciences, and digital business sectors, Osborne Clarke acts for a diverse cross-section of clients on cross-licensing negotiations, trademarks, domain names, advertising campaigns, and unfair trade practices. Licensing disputes and copyright infringements are also key workflows. Heading up the Belgian IP and IT teams, Benjamin Docquir is noted for his niche expertise in data, cybersecurity, and software issues. Laurens Dauwe is also noted.

Practice head(s):

Benjamin Docquir

Other key lawyers:

Key clients

Skemmi

OncoDNA

Moliere

Bisnode

Work highlights

  • Acting for an engineering consultancy in a trade secrets litigation case against a former employee and a competing company with respect to the unlawful acquisition, use and disclosure of the client’s trade secrets.
  • Representing a life sciences company in an ongoing proceeding launched against Novartis Gene Therapies (NGT) in relation to the violation by NGT of the terms of the license agreement concluded with Généthon.
  • Assisted Eclipse Foundation with establishing an additional home base in Europe through the incorporation of a new legal entity in Belgium under the legal form of an international not-for profit association (AISBL/IVZW), on the basis of an existing US entity of the group
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The firm: Osborne Clarke is a fast-growing international legal practice, with more than 800 lawyers working across Europe, Asia and the US. The team offers a high-quality integrated service for multi-jurisdiction work, focused on achieving commercial results for the client. Osborne Clarke’s legal expertise is underpinned by its in-depth knowledge of seven key industry sectors: digital business; energy and utilities; financial services; life sciences and healthcare; real estate and infrastructure; retail; and transport and automotive. For businesses in these sectors, Osborne Clarke not only offers a full range of legal services, but uses its sector knowledge to provide insights that help clients take effective action at the right time.

Osborne Clarke is recognised for its welcoming culture, which means that clients experience strong relationships and a consistently approachable, easy-to-understand style regardless of where they are based.

Osborne Clarke’s Brussels-based team regularly advises domestic and international clients on a range of business law matters. With expertise across a broad range of legal disciplines, it has particular experience in advising clients in the digital business, life sciences, real estate and retail sectors. Brussels also provides a base for OC’s multi-jurisdictional EU regulatory team, which advises clients on crucial EU-wide issues such as competition, procurement and state aid.

Areas of practice
Commercial: the team advises clients on the contracts that underpin their business as well as day-to-day issues, from outsourcing, expanding sales networks, procuring goods and services to checking advertising compliance.

Corporate: Osborne Clarke advises at every stage of company development across all corporate issues, from equity and debt fundraisings, to M&A, IPOs and JVs. OC also advises on the establishment of compliant and efficient governance structures.

Employment: practical, day-to-day support covers the full range of employment issues from recruitment and employee incentive schemes to dismissal, risk management and reputational issues. The team is an acknowledged leader in defending employers on high-profile litigation claims, outsourcing (transfer of undertakings) and reorganisation issues.

Data protection: the team handles substantial and complex data protection and exploitation projects. Much of the data protection work involves working across borders, so clients can expect seamless international service.

Dispute resolution: Osborne Clarke’s disputes team resolves complex, high-value disputes across a wide range of jurisdictions. Services include early-stage strategic input, representing clients in court proceedings, international arbitration, mediations and regulatory investigations.

Intellectual property: from new patents to licence negotiations to IP portfolio sales, Osborne Clarke has the experience to get valuable commercial results. In IP disputes, the team can help prevent misuse of IPRs, or defend against allegations of infringement, wherever in the world they occur.

Information technology: Osborne Clarke’s IT team advises on all aspects of technology and its impact on businesses. Particular areas of focus include data protection, IT contracts and outsourcing.

Not-for-profit: Osborne Clarke understands the seriousness of the challenges facing not-for-profit groups and the team is passionate about supporting, advocating for and advising trade and lobbying associations, charities, hospitals, foundations and other national or international not-for-profit organisations.

Payments: the team specialises in banking and financial law, with a particular focus on fintech, payment services and e-money, banking and financial services, and the prudential supervision of financial institutions.

Tax: the team of tax specialists can help resolve all manner of taxation issues, from investment funds, corporate transactions and property tax, to employee and expatriate services, private client needs, disputes and VAT. Osborne Clarke’s simple aim is to help our clients pay their fair share, in a compliant way.

DepartmentNameEmailTelephone
Digital business Benjamin Docquir
Corporate David Haex
Commercial/litigation Stefan Deswert
Life sciences and healthcare David Haex
Employment Thierry Viérin
Real estate and infrastructure Stefan Deswert
IT/IP/data protection Benjamin Docquir
Transport and automotive Thomas Funke
PhotoNamePositionProfile
Joan Carette photo Joan CarettePartner, Belgium Joan specialises in banking and financial law, with a particular…
Hadrien Chef photo Hadrien ChefCounsel, Belgium Hadrien specialises in corporate and security law, corporate finance, mergers…
Stefan Deswert photoMr Stefan DeswertPartner, Belgium Stefan specialises in distribution, retail, logistics, infrastructure and real estate.…
Benjamin Docquir photo Benjamin DocquirPartner, Belgium Benjamin specialises in privacy, data security and information technology law.…
Laurent Donnay de Casteau photo Laurent Donnay de CasteauPartner, Belgium Laurent is specialised in all aspects of corporate and personal…
David Haex photoMr David HaexPartner & Head of Life Sciences, Belgium David specialises in every aspect…
Vinciane Rysselinck photo Vinciane RysselinckSenior Counsel, Belgium Vinciane specialises in the labour implications of company takeovers…
Yves Stans photo Yves StansCounsel, Belgium Yves is in charge of the competition and regulatory practice.…
Thierry Viérin photo Thierry ViérinPartner, Belgium Thierry specialises in various aspects of employment law, including restructurings,…
Ruth Wirtz photo Ruth WirtzCounsel, Belgium Ruth advises not-for-profits in general corporate matters, including national and…
Number of lawyers : 800+
at this office : 21
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