According to the Belgian fee system – ‘statutory contributions towards the other party’s legal representation costs’ – in legal proceedings, lawyer’s fees for the winning party are claimed from the losing party.
The statutory contributions are graduated and maximised, depending on the claim amount involved in the proceedings. The Court of Appeal in Antwerp has referred two questions about this for a preliminary ruling (C-57/15 United Video Properties Inc vs Telenet NV). The system allegedly violates Article 14 of the EU Enforcement Directive for IP. The European Court of Justice decided that such a graduated system of statutory contributions is permitted, but that the contribution must ‘reasonably and proportionally’ cover a significant part of the costs. This could make it more appealing to foreign parties to initiate proceedings in Belgium, as they would probably be able to claim back more costs if they win. This also includes the cost of a patent attorney.