The automotive sector is undergoing major shifts. Today’s fast-changing world means that dealer and repair networks are being restructured, leading to the gradual disappearance of traditional distribution methods and the constant amendment of EU regulations. The increasing demand for electric cars and car sharing as well as the development of an online services market in and around vehicles has led to an increase in new suppliers and new revenue streams. Thanks to specific sector knowledge, Houthoff’s experienced Automotive Team understands this new playing field.

  • Recognised Practitioner
    Chambers Global and Europe, Intellectual Property: General - Mostly Trade Mark/Copyright (2019 Edition)
  • “The practice at Houthoff is recognised for its ‘very strong Supreme Court practice.’”
    Legal 500, Intellectual Property: trade marks, copyrights and design rights (2019 Edition)
  • "According to sources, the lawyers display a 'quick grasp of the issues' and offer 'sensible, pragmatic advice'."
    Chambers Europe, Intellectual Property: General - Mostly Trade Mark/Copyright (2018 Edition)
  • "Clients value the lawyers for their 'responsiveness, excellent advice and approach, containing practical and reliable solutions'."
    Chambers Europe, Intellectual Property: General - Mostly Trade Mark/Copyright (2018 Edition)
  • “Houthoff’s department provides ‘prompt, comprehensive and to-the-point’ advice.”
    Legal 500, Intellectual Property: Patents (2018 Edition)
  • “Houthoff’s department has a strong line in Supreme Court litigation.”
    Legal 500, Intellectual Property: trade marks, copyrights and design rights (2018 Edition)
  • "Broad range of expertise, handling contentious and non-contentious trade mark, patent and copyright issues, with a particularly strong focus on the pharmaceutical, automotive and media industries."
    Chambers Global, Intellectual Property: General (2017 Edition)
  • "The firm can provide an in-house expert for every different topic and provides an international network of lawyers that can assist in the various stages when co-operating with international companies."
    Chambers Europe, Intellectual Property (2017 Edition)
  • Recommended
    Legal 500, Intellectual Property (2017 Edition)

Our expertise in the automotive sector

To be ready for the future, manufacturers are not only being forced to adapt the products they have developed but also to rapidly develop new services. These changes give rise to questions. New forms of strategic partnerships in the area of sustainability and the introduction of new sales channels are adding to the uncertainty. Manufacturers and distributors engage Houthoff to guide them smoothly and efficiently through these major changes.

Suppliers in the automotive sector can get caught up in complex questions concerning omni-channel distribution, re-organisations or publicity on the performance of their products. In such cases, they ask our specialist Automotive Team for advice and, when necessary, for representation in legal proceedings. Companies that develop innovative modes of transport, such as autonomous  and semi-autonomous cars, often come up against legal and commercial challenges. They engage our firm as a sparring partner. Manufacturers and other players in this market are regularly faced with issues regarding competition and privacy, including big-data disputes. They turn to our Automotive Team for assistance because they know that they have the in-depth expertise to guide them through these issues.

The many developments in the national and international automotive sectors are creating uncertainty. Houthoff removes this uncertainty and ensures that our clients’ activities remain in line with the applicable laws and regulations, and anticipate changes to these obligations that might be coming down the tracks. Our Automotive Team is familiar with fast-moving markets, and they work closely with other specialists in areas such as company law, intellectual property law, employment law, tax matters, criminal law and tax law. At Houthoff, we support our clients and help them succeed when it really matters.

  • Houthoff represented IQ V-Tech B.V., a Quadrum Capital portfolio company, in entering into a strategic partnership with Alois Kober GmbH and mother company Dexcko Global through the sale of a 37.5% indirect interest in the VB-Airsuspension and its group companies.
  • Early 2017, Profile launced a campaign in which it alleged that 'Profile Brand Service' (Profile Merkonderhoud) was much cheaper (up to 28%) than the service of the authorised repairers. It did not use and trademark rights of car manufacturers.

    Again, Houthoff acted on behalf of 18 car manufacturers and made an end to the Profile campaign, as Profile was unable to demonstrate that it was always much cheaper than the authorised repairers.

  • Car importers usually appoint two types of repairers: those that also sell new vehicles on the basis of a dealer agreement and stand-alone repairers, that only repair vehicles. Obviously, the temptation for the latter to also sell new vehicles is big. In a recent case, where a Hyundai repairer sold new vehicles without a dealer agreement, the importer terminated the repairer agreement for cause. The repairer subsequently challenged the validity of the termination, arguing that he acted as an intermediary. Houthoff successfully defended the position of the Hyundai importer; the termination was upheld.


Walter van Overbeek

Key Contact

Advocaat | Partner
+31 20 605 61 61
+31 6 5160 8209
Rick Cornelissen

Key Contact

Advocaat | Partner
+31 20 605 65 30
+31 6 5184 5353