Lenneke van Gaal wins Wim Mak Award

The Wim Mak Ward 2019 awarded to Lenneke van Gaal at the BMM Autumn Meeting

It is a long-standing tradition to grant the Wim Mak Award for the best publication in the BMM Bulletin or for the best presentation at our bi-annual meetings and the deadly little virus will not break this tradition. The award was created in 1988 in honor of Mr. Wim Mak, who was heading the trademark department at Philips Gloeilampen, until he died in 1985, a few days before his sixtieth birthday. The first winner in 1989 was Mr. Huydecoper with his article on bad faith registrations under the Benelux Trademark Act. Mr. Huydecoper later became the attorney-general at the Dutch Hoge Raad and has always been, until today, an eminent IP lawyer.

For the Wim Mak Award of this year, the jury carefully read and re-read the BMM Bulletin of 2019 and it felt as if we were thrown back in time. To an era of working together in our offices, of travelling to BMM meetings in the Hague and in Ghent, of parties and receptions at the INTA in Boston.  Obviously, the jury of the Wim Mak Award went digital as well. Members of the jury are Gregor Vos as representative of the board, Yvonne Hamerling for the PR Commission and Marlies Wiegerinck for the Legislation Commission and the past presidents Katia Manhaeve, Geert Glas and Tom Heremans. 

The jury discussed about the first issue of the BMM Bulletin of 2019, with the title "Follow the money". The Jury really appreciated the contributions of Flip Petillon and Diégo Noesen about the legal fees in Belgian IP proceedings, of Tom Gladinez about damages claims in IP disputes in Belgium and of Marjolein Driessen about the Dutch legal fees in IP cases. So all these authors came on the jury's short list.

The title of the second issue of the BMM Bulletin 2019 read "Non-traditional trademarks", but the issue also dealt with non-traditional designs. The excellent article of Daan Wijnnobel and Bart ten Doeschate set out the case law on technical features and substantial values of designs, patents and trademarks.  Lenneke van Gaal illustrated why non-traditional marks deserve protection for trademark owners such as Christian Louboutin, Prada, Henkel or Nokia. Michiel Haegens and Jos Klaus give us more insight about trademark squatters such as Michael Gleissner, who directly or indirectly owns 1.300 Benelux trademarks, many of which are causing harm, however, to respectful companies such as KPN, Tesla or PAN AM, and to - euh - less respectful companies such as ENRON and TRUMP TV.

Last but not least, we should not forget to mention the "Fenêtre sur Cours", in issue number 3, written by the entire board of the BMM Bulletin. Their outstanding overview of all the relevant cases in the Benelux and on the EU level led to the well-deserved Wim Mak Award last year and also this year their Fenêtre sur Cours was excellent. 

But there can be only one winner and from all the shortlisted contributors, the jury choose a person who graduated as a lawyer at a Dutch university, who completed the professional BBMM training cum laude, who worked for prestigious firms such as De Brauw and Novagraaf, and who is now working (from home unfortunately) for Hogan Lovells. The winner is Lenneke van Gaal for her article "De bescherming van niet-traditionale merken".  Congratulations to Lenneke - she really deserves this year's Wim Mak Award!


Tom Heremans, chairman of the jury, hand over the Wim Mak Award to Lenneke van Gaal digitally during the BMM Autumn Meeting