Picture of own staff in company advertising

If a person is photographed, he or she can object to the publication of that photo if the person has a reasonable interest in doing so. For celebrities this often comes down to financial interest. For ordinary people/staff, it is often about the right to privacy, protection of honor and reputation.


In 2017, an employee of Kolham Meubelhallen (Kolham furniture halls) was photographed for the company's advertising brochure. Less than a year later she switched jobs to a competitor. When Kolham re-uses one of the photos in a folder in 2019, the former employee objects, invoking her portrait right and claiming 5,000 euros in compensation for the publication against her will, as she no longer wishes to be associated with her previous employer.

The court agreed with her. Seeing that the employee had given permission for the photo shoot, she had basically renounced her portrait rights. However, that permission was strictly limited to use in advertising during employment.

As the employee started working for the competitor, the company should have checked whether the photos could still be used. As this was not done, the appeal to her portrait right is justified. However, the compensation is adjusted to € 500, because this concerns a limited use and the ex-employee is not renowned.


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IP quiz Trademarks

Puma is one of the bigger sports and lifestyle brands in the world. The core-business is the design, development and sale of (sports) shoes, (sports) clothing and accessories. In 1960, Puma registered an international trademark for a device designed in 1958: the formstrip. Since then, Puma has registered approximately 90 formstrip trademarks with validity in the Benelux or the European Union. Puma claims that this is a serial mark. Monshoe is a wholesaler of women's shoes and related products. The company designs and develops Monshoe shoes which it largely markets itself. Monshoe sells its women's shoes under the brands Shoecolate and Pearlz. The shoe Shoecolate is offered in various colour combinations. Puma claims that Monshoe infringes its well-known formstrip trademark. Monshoe contradicts this and states that the average consumer will not perceive the device of Monshoe on the sneakers as a trademark. And if the public will recognize a trademark in the decoration, it will not make the connection to Puma. According to Monshoe, the formstrip logo is not a well-known trademark within the meaning of the BVIE and the UMVo. There is no likelihood of confusion because the sign does not or hardly evoke any association with Puma among the public. In light of the above, who is right? Does this constitute decorative use or linking to a well-known trademark?