Rob Ludding is attached as Of Counsel to De Clercq. During his impressive career as a lawyer and in-house counsel, Rob assisted businesses, public and semi-public bodies, and non-profit organisations in various sectors for more than 43 years. Since August 2017, he has placed the valuable knowledge and experience he gained at the service of De Clercq in matters relating to the following areas of expertise: Dutch and European competition law (including the relationship to intellectual property), European law and state aid law.
Education and career
Rob studied Dutch and European law at the University of Amsterdam and began his career in 1974 as a lawyer at the law firm Blackstone, Rueb & Van Boeschoten. Following a brief interlude as secretary to the board of an electrotechnical company, he pursued his career in 1980 as in-house counsel at Shell International in London and The Hague. In this position, he was responsible for the legal aspects of all European oil, gas and chemical activities at the Royal Dutch Shell Group that were concerned with competition law and European legislation and regulations. From 1992 to 2005, Rob was a lawyer/partner at Pels Rijcken & Droogleever Fortuyn, the office of the State Advocate. He was subsequently attached as Of Counsel to the English/American DLA Piper in Amsterdam for six years, where he worked in the consultancy and litigation practice dealing with European law and competition law. Following this, Rob operated his own practice within the law firm MBF Advocaten in Rijswijk. From 1998 to 2005, Rob was also a lawyer at the Netherlands Competition Authority (the present Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets). In that capacity, he was, amongst other things, involved in all basic legal proceedings to which the Netherlands Competition Authority was a party.
Rob’s day-to-day practice
“I’m a specialist in European law – in the broad sense – which directly affects the Dutch legal system in countless areas and often unexpectedly. For example, I’m involved in competition disputes between companies concerning exclusivity agreements, non-competition arrangements, misuse of positions of economic power, and government support that distorts competition (the Competitive Trading Act is a consequence of previous European legislation). Within that scope I conduct legal proceedings – also as an adviser to other law firms – against financial institutions, for example, but I also assist biodynamic farmers in their disputes with the State and the Netherlands Enterprise Agency concerning the implementation of the European Phosphate Directive. Moreover, I’m regularly involved in disputes concerning the exercise of intellectual property rights: as a holder of intellectual property rights, what are you permitted to do or, as the case may be, not permitted to do with your exclusive right? This is a question which has fascinated me since my graduation and about which I regularly publish.”