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NL – Plaintiff v. Arca Printersupplies et al.

12 Feb 2015

Plaintiff v. Arca Printersupplies BV, Innova Art Ltd. and GMC Marketing Ltd., District Court The Hague, The Netherlands, 4 February 2014, case number C/09/466982/HA ZA 14-648

Plaintiff designed the Roll Panel: a panel with glue on which a picture can be attached. After attaching the picture, the picture and the panel on which it is glued can be folded using the previously applied fold lined to create a fitted frame.

In 2008, Arca and Innova showed interest in the Roll Panel and met with plaintiff to come to a possible collaboration. Plaintiff claims that it was clear to all parties that they had the obligation to keep the discussed design confidential.

In 2009, after the collaboration did not work out, the Applicant found out that Arca and Innova offered a product identical to the Roll Panel on their website: the "Jet Master". In addition, GMC had filed 11 patent applications (e.g. EP 2456336 and WO 2011010085).

In the proceedings, Plaintiff claims 8 actions against Arca, Innova and/or GMC relating to tort and the alleged infringement of the confidentiality agreement. Also, Plaintiff claims 5 actions against GMC concerning the patents.

As Arca is domiciled in the Netherlands while Innova and GMC are domiciled in the UK, the question arose whether, in accordance with article 6 Regulation (EC) 44/2001, the claims are so closely connected that it is expedient to hear and determine them together to avoid the risk of irreconcilable judgments.


The court decided that there may be a risk that the obligations relating to the confidentiality agreement will be interpreted differently by the various national courts. Also, it appears from the statements by the Plaintiff that Innova, GMC and Arca did not act separately and that it was foreseeable that they would be summoned together. In addition, even though the Jet Master may be brought onto the market by each party independently, the assessment of the admissibility of these acts can still lead to irreconcilable judgments. Therefore, the court decided to be competent in regard to the first 8 claims. The court will make a decision on these claims in the main proceedings.

In respect of the claims concerning the patents, the court decided not to be competent as the Protocol on Recognition has priority over Regulation (EC) 44/2001. Furthermore, the claims concerning the patents can only be attributed to GMC which means that there is no risk of irreconcilable judgments. As GMC is domiciled in the UK, the last 5 claims should be brought before a UK court.

Read the decision (in Dutch) here.

Head note: Maurits Westerik, Bird & Bird