Education and career

After studying Dutch and European law at the University of Amsterdam, Rob started his career as an attorney in 1974 at the firm formerly known as Blackstone, Rueb & Van Boeschoten (now De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek). After an interlude as secretary to the board at an electrical engineering company, he continued his law career in 1980 as an in-house lawyer at Shell International in London and The Hague. In this position, he was responsible for the legal aspects of all European oil, gas and chemicals activities undertaken by the Royal Dutch Shell Group with respect to competition law and European laws and regulations. From 1992 to 2005, Rob was an attorney/partner at Pels Rijcken & Droogleever Fortuijn, the firm of the State Advocate, after which he served as an of counsel for six years at the English/American company DLA Piper in Amsterdam. His work there involved European and competition law advisory and litigation practice. Rob then went on to conduct his own practice within MBF Advocaten in Rijswijk. From 1998 to 2005, Rob was also an attorney for the Netherlands Competition Authority (Nederlandse Mededingingsautoriteit), now known as the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (Autoriteit Consument en Markt). In this role, he was involved in matters such as all principle court proceedings to which the NMa was a party.

Rob's daily practice

‘Broadly speaking, I am a specialist in the field of European law that has a direct impact on the Dutch legal order in numerous areas, and often unexpectedly so. For example, I am involved in competition disputes between companies (the Competition Act is a consequence of previous European legislation) regarding exclusivity agreements, non-competition schemes, abuse of dominant economic positions, and anti-competitive state aid. In that context, I litigate (also as a consultant to other law firms) against parties such as financial institutions, but I also support biodynamic farmers in their dispute with the State and the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) about the implementation of the European Phosphate Directive. I am also regularly involved in disputes about exercising intellectual property rights, for example with respect to what you can and cannot do with your exclusive right as an IP right holder. This is an issue that has fascinated me since my graduate studies, and about which I have published quite a lot of material.’