September 2017. On 29 August, the District Court in The Hague ruled that Rembrandt’s painting The Nightwatch can’t be registered as a trademark in the Benelux. Chiever had brought a test case on the issue to find out whether commercial enterprises, which are increasingly featuring famous old art on their products, can protect their use of these works as trademarks.

Not distinctive

The Court decided that Chiever did not have any justified interest in the case. It also concluded that The Nightwatch was not sufficiently distinctive. You can read more about this in our blog at

Nightwatch does have EU protection

Unfortunately this still leaves a couple of important questions unanswered, given that we now have a situation in which a Dutch court has rejected registration of The Nightwatch while the European Union Intellectual Property Office has accepted it. Is it protected or not?

European registration certificate for The Nightwatch, no. 16613903, issued on 2 August 2017

Public order

Unlike the EUIPO, the Benelux Office for Intellectual Property additionally feels the registration would be a breach of public order. Whatever the rights and wrongs of the case, the fact remains that we still have no clarity or certainty, which is undesirable. Chiever is now considering its next move.