5. OTHER IMAGE RIGHTS
5.1 Exploitable elements of one's persona (other than portrait)
As noted above, the image (reputation) of a famous sportsperson – and therefore such person's exploitable popularity – will not merely be connected to one's physical appearance. The public will also associate a sportsperson's image to other elements of his or her persona. These exploitable elements, which are also referred to as indicia, may be: one's name, nickname, voice, autograph, or other symbols particular to such person, such as the shirt number of a famous football player.
5.2 Civil law protection (unlawful act)
In para. 3.7 above, we already concluded that the concept of a portrait has been stretched considerably over the years. As a consequence even 'not-quite portraits' of look-alikes may qualify as a portrait and thus be in breach of a sports person's portrait rights as laid down in the Copyright Act. But even where qualification of an image as a portrait within the meaning of the Copyright Act would be questionable, in such cases the sportsperson portrayed may claim that the use of such image constitutes an unlawful act within the meaning of Article 6:162 of the Civil Code. For example, in case of a picture of a look-alike, where portrait law protection would be denied (e.g perhaps where it is (too) clear that the look-alike is not the actual sportsperson in question), in such case at least protection may be granted to the impersonated sportsperson by virtue of the Civil Code – Article 6:162, unlawful act – completely analogue to the protection granted to a person portrayed under the Copyright Act. 32
The same legal ground may be applied to take action against the unauthorised use of a sportsperson's indicia, i.e. the abovementioned exploitable elements of one's persona, other than his physical appearance/likeness. Although the Supreme Court has not yet had the opportunity to consider in a judgment whether the rules of portrait law should similarly apply in cases concerning other elements of one's persona, it may be expected that the Supreme Court will indeed apply the same standards in such case. In lower case law, however, the commercial use of a sportsperson's name has indeed been considered unlawful on several occasions.
5.3 Protection of one's Name
In one case, the famous Dutch field hockey player Floris Jan Bovelander successfully objected to the use of (part of) his first name by the company Cruijff Sports. The Court found that such company unlawfully profited from Bovelander's reputation by promoting hockey shoes using the slogan "Floris Johan Cruijff".33
In a case concerning the Dutch national football team, however, the unauthorised use of the names of 11 players of the Dutch team in a full-page advertising for milk in national newspapers shortly before an international match, was not considered unlawful towards the players concerned. The advertisement showed 11 glasses of milk, each marked with the name of a player of the Dutch team, and headed: "Are we going all out tonight men?" The court found that the use of the names of popular persons in a once-only advertising hitching onto a current topic regarding such persons would only then be unlawful when the promoted product is associated in such a manner with these persons that the public will get the impression that these persons are actually recommending the promoted product to the public. It is questionable whether the Court was right to demand this additional requirement of association (i.e. of creating a wrong impression). There is also much to say for the argument that a popular sportsperson should be able to oppose the use without his consent in commercial advertising of his name as he can the use of his portrait.34
5.4 Domain names
Sportspersons often register their names (or nicknames) as domain names. Such domain names will usually be activated and used to point to the sportsman's own website. Alternatively, the registration may be done by a sportsman not to actually use the domain name himself, but rather to prevent third parties from registering the domain name first for such parties' use and benefit. After all, domain names, with any extension, can only be registered once, and are issued on a first come first served basis. Often enough, a third party will be the first to register a sportsperson name, leaving the latter with empty hands. If that third person would have a legitimate reason for registering that specific domain name, it will be difficult for the sportsman to claim a transfer of that domain name. This may be the case, for instance, if the registrant has exactly the same name, or where he has a bona fide intention of running a fan site. Often, however, the registrant may appear to be a so-called 'domain name grabber' who's intention is simply to sell the domain name for a profit.
If a sportsperson is confronted with domain name grabbing in respect of his name, in case of a .nl domain name (the extension for domain names in the Netherlands) there are different procedural measures available to the sportsman to attempt to recover that domain name. Perhaps the most simple and efficient option would be to file for a dispute resolution procedure with WIPO. Alternatively, the sportsman may file a claim for the transfer of the domain name in preliminary relief proceedings or proceedings on the merits before the Dutch courts. The legal ground for such a claim would be that the domain name grabber's registration in bad faith constitutes an unlawful act within the meaning of Article 6:162 CC.35
6. TRADEMARK PROTECTION
6.1 Portrait and name as a trademark
In addition to invoking their portrait rights (as laid down in the Copyright Act) and/or additional civil law protection (unlawful act/unfair competition), sports personalities may also turn to trademark law as an additional means of legal protection of their image, to a certain extent. For trademark protection in the Netherlands, one may apply either for a Benelux trademark (valid for the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxemburg) or for a Community Trademark (valid for the entire EU territory). Depending on the type of trademark, one will adhere to either the rules of trademark law contained in the Benelux Convention on Intellectual Property (BCIP) or the EU Community Trademark Regulation (CTR). Both statutory regimes contain a similar definition of what may qualify as a trademark, in other words: what signs are eligible for trademark protection.
Both article 2.1 BCIP and article 4 CTR provide that any signs capable of being represented graphically may (potentially) qualify as a trademark (under the Convention or Regulation, respectively). Both articles expressly provide that a 'personal name' (CTR) or 'surname' (BCIP) may be registerable as a trademark. Consequently, a portrait or a name of a sports star is, as such, perfectly capable of being accepted as a trademark and therefore of enjoying trademark protection.
However, in order to actually qualify as a trademark and obtain registration – which is an absolute requirement to enjoy trademark protection – a trademark must have distinctive character. In the Netherlands it is generally accepted in case law that a portrait possesses this distinctiveness. The same goes for a sports star's name, or nickname.
With a trademark registration a sportsperson may increase the scope of legal protection against the unauthorized commercial use of his image. Pursuant to article 2.20(1) BCIP (article 9(1) CTR) a trademark owner (or its licensee) has the exclusive right to prohibit any third party, without his permission, the use of any sign which is identical and/or similar to the registered trademark insofar as it concerns use in relation to distinct goods and/or services.
6.2 Limitations to effective trademark protection
There are two essential aspects of trademark law, however, that make it not ideal for effective protection of sports image rights.
First of all, the primary function of a trademark is to distinguish certain goods and/or services of the trademark owner and/or its licensees from those of other parties. This is the so-called origin function of a trademark. Trademark legislation is not designed to protect image rights (such as one's name or likeness) as such, and its usefulness in this respect is therefore limited. A sportsperson's name cannot be registered as a trademark for that sportsperson as a person. However, registration can be useful (and is recommended) particularly with a view to merchandise (even if yet to be produced). In this respect, it should be noted though that the reputation of the sportsperson does not mean that the trademark will immediately also have a reputation in respect of the goods and services for which it is registered: Lionel Messi is a world-famous football player, but that doesn't automatically make Messi a world-famous trademark for socks (assuming Messi would register a name mark for such products).
Secondly, in case of a portrait mark, in practice protection is limited due to the static registration of the portrait. Any such trademark registration will concern one specific photo of the sportsperson in question. Any unauthorized use by a third party of a sports star's image will seldom concern use of an image in a form identical, or even highly similar, to the portrait of the sports star as registered.
In the above referenced Cruijff/Tirion case (see para. 188.8.131.52) the Court found that the use by the publisher of the name and the portrait of Johan Cruijff on and in the book concerned did not qualify as 'use' of Cruijff's name mark and portrait mark (Benelux registrations 307509 and 614969).
6.3 Examples and case law
Other than Cruijff, there are relatively few Dutch sportspersons who have strengthened their image protection with trademark registrations. Examples are the former football player Patrick Kluivert and former Formula 1 racer Jos Verstappen. For the latter, his portrait mark registration has actually proven successful, in a case against a magazine publisher in 2000. Prior to the 2001 Formula 1 season, publisher Albion of the magazine "Formula 1" had issued a special edition which previewed the forthcoming racing season, in which all 16 racing circuits for that season were discussed. For each of these circuits, Verstappen's opinion was given in a single sentence by reference to previous interviews in various media. These opinions were provided with a photograph of Verstappen and headed "Jos Verstappen's view". The Court found that not only did this breach Verstappen's portrait rights, but Verstappen could also object to these publications on the basis of his trademark rights pursuant to his registered name mark and portrait mark. Remarkably, the portrait consisted only of Verstappen's helmet and eyes. The Court found this to be sufficient, in combination with the use of his name, to assume infringement.36
Fan loyalty or admirance of the sports star will not provide a fan of a sports star a justifiable reason to use such sports star's trademark. This follows from the Arsenal vs Reed judgment of the European Court of Justice. In this particular case, football club Arsenal objected to the sale by a Mr. Reed of non-official Arsenal merchandise just outside the Highbury stadium. In his defense, Mr. Reed justified his business by explicitly making it clear to all his customers that he did not sell official club merchandise. This argument was rejected by the Court considering this did not take away the likelihood of post sale confusion on the part of the public.37
7. REMEDIES AND SANCTIONS
If the sportsperson's image rights are infringed by third parties, the sportsperson has a number of procedural options for taking action against such infringement.
7.1.1 Summary proceedings
The most obvious – and in practice most taken – route is to initiate summary proceedings (also referred to as preliminary relief proceedings or interlocutory proceedings), as in such summary proceedings (a so-called kort geding) injunctive relief can be obtained rapidly. The duration of most summary proceedings is 4-6 weeks. However, in very urgent cases – for example where action is taken to prevent an immediate publication that may cause irreparable harm – a court order may be obtained within only a couple of days.
Summary proceedings may be initiated if the plaintiff can demonstrate he has an urgent need for obtaining a provisional measure. Generally, in cases of image rights infringement the requirement of urgency is easily deemed to be met, in particular if the infringement is continuing. Summary proceedings are initiated by serving a writ of summons upon the infringer(s), followed by a court hearing (2-3 hours) before the President of the District Court, resulting in a preliminary decision. If infringement is likely to be the case, the plaintiff's claims may be awarded. As summary proceedings are relatively informal and quick, this also makes them the attractive procedural option from a cost perspective.
The disadvantage of summary proceedings is that, as a preliminary decision is rendered, only an advance payment of damages can be claimed. The same applies in respect of surrender of profits made from the infringement. Also, due to the preliminary nature of summary proceedings, they should in principle be followed (if injunctive relief has been granted) by proceedings on the merits. However, in practice this will often not be the case, as parties will enter into a settlement after a preliminary decision has been rendered, in order to avoid the substantial costs that parties would incur in connection with subsequent proceedings on the merits.
7.1.2 Proceedings on the merits
Alternatively, a sportsperson seeking to take legal action against infringement of his or her image rights may skip summary proceedings and immediately seek final relief by starting proceedings on the merits of the case (also referred to as ordinary proceedings). The advantage of these proceedings is that the designated District Court will look into the matter in detail and render a final38 decision. Another advantage is that full damages and/or surrender of profits can be claimed. In cases that lack urgency proceedings on the merits are the only procedural option. However, practice shows that in cases of image rights infringement the sportsperson will usually have an urgent need to obtain immediate injunctive relief as soon as he becomes aware of the infringement. As a result, practically all image rights cases are dealt with in summary proceedings.
Compared to summary proceedings, proceedings on the merits are more formal and include more procedural steps, both required and optional ones – examples of the latter are witness hearings or obtaining expert opinions. As a result, proceedings on the merits will take approximately 1 - 1,5 years (or even longer in case of extra procedural steps or complications). Not surprisingly, the legal costs involved in proceedings on the merits are substantially higher than in summary proceedings.
In case of infringement of image rights, the sportsperson concerned may bring several claims, the most obvious claim being an injunction, i.e. a claim to cease and refrain from any infringing acts.
7.2.2 Other (non-monetary) claims
In addition, if the infringement entails an unauthorized publication already made, a rectification may be claimed. Other possible claims include a recall of infringing products from the market place or surrender and/or destruction of infringing product. Also, the infringer may be summoned to provide information on its suppliers and/or customers or information on the number of infringing publications printed and/or issued.
All the above claims (including the injunction claim), as well as the monetary claims to be discussed below, may be strengthened by an incremental penalty sum which the infringer shall forfeit if he does not conform to any such claim awarded by the Court.
In addition the aforementioned claims, a sportsperson may also file various monetary claims: for compensation of damages, for surrender of profits made from the infringement, and/or for compensation of legal costs incurred.
If a sportsperson's image rights are infringed, he will generally suffer a loss, and therefore may file a claim for damages. However, the sportperson concerned will need to demonstrate that such damages are attributable to the infringer, or that the infringer is accountable by law or according to generally accepted standards. Also, questions may arise as to how the damages should be calculated and whether it is concrete enough to be claimable.
Case law shows that, in determining the level of damages, the courts will often make an assessment on the basis of what they find reasonable, considering the particular circumstances of the case. For example, in the earlier-mentioned case of the amateur boxer Arnold Vanderlijde, the District Court made the following consideration, that has later been followed by other courts in several judgments:
"The loss suffered by the claimant (Vanderlijde) in relation to the illegal publication of his portrait can be set at the amount that the claimant would have been able to stipulate from the defendant if he had been asked for his consent for its publication."
An important element in such an assessment is of course the level of popularity of the particular sportsperson concerned. The assessment is to be made on a case by case basis: the criterion is what the sportsperson in question could have stipulated, rather than what a sportsperson in general could negotiate for consent for a similar publication.
7.2.4 Surrender of profits
Apart from a claim for damages, a sportsperson may also bring a claim for the surrender of profits made from the infringement. If a sportsperson's trademark rights are infringed he or she may bring a separate claim for surrender of profits, in addition to a damages claim, pursuant to article 2.21(4) BCIP. If the infringement is made in bad faith, both claims may be awarded cumulatively. If an image rights infringement is rather based on the portrait rights conferred upon the sportsperson under the Copyright Act, or on the basis of unlawful act (article 6:162 DCC), a claim for surrender of profits will be regarded as a form of damages.
A claim for damages and/or a claim for surrender of profits may be brought in proceedings on the merits. However, as mentioned above, in summary proceedings one may only bring a claim for advance payment of damages or advance payment of profits made from an infringement. Such advance payment claims will not easily be awarded. The Supreme Court has ruled that in such cases the President of the District Court should adopt a reticent attitude in awarding such a claim for advance payments. The plaintiff will have to convince the President of the District Court that preliminary relief is of the essence39.
7.2.5 Compensation of legal costs
Finally, a claim may be brought – both in summary and in final relief proceedings – for (partial) compensation of legal costs incurred. The legal system in the Netherlands provides for the unsuccessful party to be ordered to pay only a relatively low fixed rate to compensate the successful party for procedural costs (usually no more than € 1,000 in civil cases). Since the implementation of the EU Directive 2004/48 on the enforcement of intellectual property rights in the Dutch Code of Civil Procedure (CCP), however, any party in legal proceedings concerning the enforcement of an IP right may claim that all reasonable and proportionate legal costs and other expenses actually incurred by such (successful) party shall, as a general rule, be borne by the unsuccessful party.40
In this respect, the question has arisen whether the portrait rights in Dutch law would qualify as an IP right within the meaning of the CCP or not. According to established case law, the answer is no. In a number of judgments41, District Courts have ruled that a portrait right is not an intellectual property right, but rather a justifiable limitation on copyright, for the protection of the person portrayed against unlawful infringement of such person's right to privacy or other (commercial) interests. Although portrait law is codified in the Copyright Act, it is not a copyright, but rather to be considered a species of the 'common' unlawful act doctrine as laid down in the Civil Code. This also applies in cases concerning a strictly commercial interest, namely exploitable popularity, of sportspersons.
In this respect, any image rights infringement claim that can also be based on a trademark registration offers a significant advantage. As a trademark is obviously an IP right, any proceedings brought on the basis of (also) a trademark right, will allow a claim to be brought for the compensation of all (reasonable and proportionate) legal costs and other expenses incurred by the successful party in the proceedings. Case law shows that the Dutch courts are usually willing to accept at least (the larger) part of the claimed amounts as being reasonable and proportionate, and therefore payable by the other party. The downside of this 'advantage' is that – conversely – if a trademark based claim for alleged image rights infringement is rejected, the defending party may likewise claim full compensation of its incurred legal costs, payable by the sportsperson who unsuccessfully claimed image rights infringement.
8. SPONSORSHIP OBLIGATIONS BY VIRTUE OF MEMBERSHIP OR EMPLOYMENT CONTRACT
8.1 Contractual exploitation of image rights
As noted in the chapters above, a sportsperson in the Netherlands may enjoy a reasonable level of image rights protection. In many situations, a sportsperson will be able to prohibit the use by a third party of such sportsperson's image without his or her consent. In principle, it is the sportsperson who holds the commercial exploitation rights in respect of his image. A sportsperson is free to decide to whom he wishes to grant rights to the use of his portrait, name or other indicia. Such rights may usually be granted by way of a contract under which the sportsperson grants to a third party the right to use his image for commercial purposes, and for which grant of rights (often referred to as a license) the sportsperson receives a financial compensation in return.
Such third party will usually be a sponsor of the sportsperson concerned. Often, the image rights license will be part of the (written) sponsorship agreement entered into between the sportsperson and his sponsor. A sponsor may profit from the commercial association of his product or company with a sportsperson's image not only by obtaining a right to use the sportsperson's image, but also by putting the sportsperson under the obligation to promote the sponsor's brand name by using (often: wearing) the sponsor's branded product when exercising his sport or otherwise being in the public eye.
In practice, however, the freedom of a sportsperson to exploit and license his image rights is often limited also by agreements between the sportsperson and his sports club. Such agreements may either take the form of an employment contract or follow from a sportsperson's membership of the club and/or of the relevant national sports federation.
8.2 Conflicting sponsorship
It is not always clear to the sportsperson what obligations arise for him from in particular his membership of the sporting club or – conversely – it is not always clear to the club and/or sports federation how far their rights extend regarding the use of the image or other indicia of the sportsperson affiliated to such sports club or federation. This may lead to situations where image rights are granted by the sportsperson to his sponsor which conflict with the rights granted by such sportsperson's club or federation to its sponsor. These are often referred to as cases of conflicting sports sponsorship. Such conflicts may result in legal proceedings. In the Netherlands, there have been a number of court cases concerning conflicting sponsorship rights.
In 1977, the Court in Utrecht ruled in a case between the Royal Dutch Swimming Association (the KNZB) and swimmer Enith Brigitta. The KNZB put swimmers under the obligations to wear Speedo swimwear in competitions for national selection. One of the Netherlands' top swimmers, Enith Brigitta, refused to wear Speedo swimwear as she had her own swimwear sponsor. The Court found for the KNZB and confirmed that the KNZB may indeed commit its swimmers to wear its sponsor's clothing. In case of non-compliance, a swimmer may be refused selection for international competitions. In weighing the parties' respective interests, the Court considered that the KNZB's interest in promoting swimming in general, using the sponsorship moneys from Speedo, was to prevail over the interests of the individual sportsperson, who in this case also still held the amateur status.42
A year before, the Court in Utrecht had been faced with another case of conflicting sponsorship. The Royal Dutch Football Association (the KNVB) had entered into a sponsor contract with Adidas, under which the Dutch team players were obliged to wear Adidas boots. The football players concerned were 'not amused' as it had been customary for years for such players to enter into their own football boot contracts with personal sponsors. The Court found against the KNVB deeming the KNVB's action unlawful, as the association had not consulted with the players in advance about this change to the current practice, whilst the financial benefit of the sponsorship contract with Adidas was enjoyed only by the KNVB.43
Another case concerned a conflict in 1989 between football club Ajax and its player Brian Roy, and their respective sponsors. After Ajax had entered into an employment contract with Brian Roy under which Roy was forbidden to make himself available for advertising purposes without Ajax's express consent, Ajax and its sponsor Umbro brought a case against Brian Roy and his sponsoring clothing supplier Borsumij to prevent Brian Roy from wearing Borsumij clothing any longer. Some time prior to signing with Ajax, Roy had already entered into a clothing sponsoring contract with Borsumij, and this contract still existed side by side with the employment contract with Ajax. The Court rejected the claims of Ajax and Umbro, mainly because the contract between Borsumij and Roy predated the employment contract with Ajax and Ajax was aware of such contract when Roy signed with Ajax.44
From swimming to football, from football to skating: a case brought by one of the Netherlands' top skaters, Rintje Ritsma, and his sponsors against the Royal Dutch Skating Association (the KNSB). The question put to the Court was whether Ritsma was obliged to follow the clothing rules laid down by the KNSB. Pursuant to these rules, in international matches Ritsma had to appear in a skating outfit provided by the KNSB, with (predominantly) the KNSB sponsors' logos on it. Although there was no contractual link between the KNSB and Ritsma, the Court nevertheless considered that Ritsma was bound by the KNSB`s clothing rules. This obligation followed from the membership relationship between the KNSB and Rintje Ritsma, as Ritsma was a member of a skating club which in turn was affiliated to the KNSB. The statutes of the KNSB impose on its members (the skating clubs) and their members (the skaters) an obligation to comply with the KNSB's statutes and regulations.45
8.3 Membership obligations
Clearly, a sportsperson may enter into arrangements with his club as to the use of his image. As the abovementioned case between Ajax and Brian Roy shows, older agreements will take precedence. In exchange for the rights granted by the sportsperson to his club, the sportsperson will receive a (generally financial) consideration from his club. The sportsperson and the club thus arrive at a contractual agreement based on negotiations.
In the case of a membership relationship between the sportsperson and his club or federation, a contractual relationship is not required to arrive at the same result. As illustrated by the aforementioned judgment between Ritsma and the KNSB, a sportsperson may be under the obligation to comply to the sponsorship commitments made by the federation even though the sportsperson did not himself enter into any contractual agreements with the sponsor concerned directly. This possibility is provided by Article 2:46 of the Civil Code (CC), pursuant to which associations (sports federations) can also impose obligations on their members (sportspersons) vis-à-vis third parties. This statutory provision states as follows:
"To the extent that the contrary does not follow from its articles of association, the association may stipulate rights for and on behalf of its members and, in so far as this has been explicitly provided for in the articles, may enter into obligations for and on behalf of its members. It may take legal action for and on behalf of its members to enforce such stipulated rights, including the right to claim damages."
It is therefore required that the articles of association explicitly provide for the possibility that the association contracts with third parties for and on behalf of its members, thereby committing to obligations towards third parties to be fulfilled by its members.
In the 1996 judgment KNVB vs. Feyenoord, the Court of Appeal in Amsterdam ruled that in such case the articles of association must be very clear in this respect. Articles of association containing only general and vague indications will not suffice. In this particular case the Royal Dutch Football Association (the KNVB) wanted to bind all the Dutch football clubs competing in the Dutch premier league ("Eredivisie") vis-à-vis a third party regarding the television broadcasting rights to home games. The Court of Appeal found that the articles of the KNVB were not concrete enough in this respect and too generally worded for Feyenoord (or any other member club for that matter) to be deemed to be bound by the obligations entered into by the KNVB towards the third party in question. For a person to be bound by a stipulation of this kind, the articles must contain a clear provision for this purpose, describing the nature of the obligation concerned. Otherwise, the situation would be such as if the clubs had given the KNVB full discretionary powers. 46
It follows from the above that sportspersons can be bound vis-à-vis a third party, including in respect of their image rights, if the articles and regulations of the club or federation where they are under contract or of which they are a member, contain sufficiently clear provisions setting out what obligations can be imposed on them.
Sportspersons will generally have exclusive and enforceable rights to their own image – meaning their depiction, name and other indicia – and hence will also be able to exploit or commission others to exploit these rights. They must, however, be aware that they are in a dependent position vis-à-vis their sports club, the relevant national sports federation, the Dutch Olympic Committee, etc., as the latter decide to a significant extent whether a sportsman is selected for competitions (including international competitions) and the conditions on which that selection takes place. Obligations may be imposed on the sportsperson, either contractually or through the membership relationship, and the sportsperson will risk not being selected in case of non-compliance. Of course, the rights of a club or federation are not unlimited. The attitude and conduct of a club or federation towards 'its' players or athletes must be one reflecting reasonableness and fairness, should it not want to risk being called to order by a judicial body. In case of conflicting sponsorship arrangements, the parties will therefore generally have to come to the negotiating table to make conclusive agreements as to how the exploitation of the available (image) rights are to be arranged or how such rights may be divided between the club's or sports federation's sponsor, on the one hand, and the sportsperson's sponsor, on the other hand. From time to time, however, cases of conflicting sponsorship do nevertheless arise, as is illustrated by the judgments referenced above.
32 District Court in The Hague, 16 May 1986, IER 1986, no. 56, p. 120 (Players Dutch national team/The Dutch Dairy office).
33 For example: President of the District Court in Arnhem, 3 December 2002, DomJur 2002-159; Mf 2003, no. 9, p. 64 (Jan-Peter Balkenende/Stichting Liever).
34 District Court in Amsterdam, 16 October 2002, IER 2003/18 (Verstappen/Albion).
35 European Court of Justice, 12 November 2002, BIE 2003/51 (Arsenal/Reed).
36 Any decision in proceedings on the merits is a final decision in first instance. Within three months following the judgment, any party to the proceedings may (but is never under any obligation to) file for an appeal.
37 Supreme Court, 14 April 2000, NJ 2000/489 (H.B.S. Trading v. Danestyle).
38 Article 1019h of the Dutch Code of Civil Procedure
39 For example: District Court in Amsterdam, 5 December 2007, AMI 2008/2, p. 41, IER 2008, no. 18, p. 80 (Van Basten/Dutch Filmworks); District Court in Amsterdam, 23 March 2011, LJN: BP8933, B9 9498 (André Rieu Productions/Stijl & Inhoud Media).
40 President of the Utrecht District Court, 27 April 1977, BIE No. 3 (KNZB/Enith Brigitta).
41 Utrecht District Court, 23 February 1976, see H.T. van Staveren, Het voetbalcontract: op de grens van sportregel en rechtsregel, Deventer: Kluwer 1981, p. 152 (Notten c.s./KNVB).
42 President of the District Court in Breda, 1 November 1989, LJN: AH2909 (Ajax-Umbro v. Brian Roy-Borsumij).
43 Sportzaken [Sports Cases] 1997/1 no. B19 and B20 (Ritsma and De Vegt v. KNSB).
44 Court of Appeal in Amsterdam, 8 November 1996, Sportzaken [Sports Cases], no 1, p. 78 et seq.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.