Former mayor Rob van Gijzel opens the new dispute resolution institute for tech companies
Eindhoven, 21 May 2019 – During the Dutch Technology Week, this afternoon former mayor of Eindhoven Rob van Gijzel officially opened a new institute which prevents and settles tech disputes: Technology Arbitration & Mediation Institute (TAMI). It aims at preventing escalation quickly and cost-efficiently and offering an alternative for the ordinary courts of law.
During a mini-symposium at the Brainport Industries Campus on the settlement of disputes in technology, one of the themes is the prevention of disputes. If there is a dispute nevertheless and you cannot work things out together, you want this to be settled in an independent, impartial, professional, fast, cost-efficient and confidential way. Many entrepreneurs do not know that one does not need to take matters to court straightaway. Alternatively, the new institute focusses on de-escalation, mediation and arbitration.
Hans Bloemen (chairman of Brainport TechLaw and board member of TAMI):
‘The special quality of this new institute is that all mediators, advisers, and arbitrators mainly speak the technical language and not just legal lingo. There is already much collaboration in a region like this in the field of tech. It is of the essence to maintain relationships and seek common ground instead of differences. More importantly, the institute offers an economical and above all abridged procedure. All parties benefit from a fast solution. We are Brainport region orientated, but we work globally.’
Rob van Gijzel:
We moeten met elkaar blijven praten over het samen versterken van ons ecosysteem. We hebben in onze regio te maken met een andere afhankelijkheid, waarvoor een betrouwbare keten zeer relevant is. Natuurlijk gaat er altijd wel eens iets mis, maar dat los je beter ordentelijk op om iedere partij recht te doen. Dit nieuwe arbitrage instituut voor technologiebedrijven is daar een enorme hulp bij. En dat hadden we nog niet. Ik ben oprecht superblij met het oprichten van dit instituut en wens alle betrokkenen heel veel succes!
Voor diverse conflicten bij kleine of grote techbedrijven
We must have an ongoing dialogue on the reinforcement of our ecosystem. In our region, we have to deal with another dependency for which a reliable chain is of great relevance. Of course, things can go wrong, but solving it in an orderly fashion does better justice to all parties. This new arbitration institute for technology companies is immensely helpful there. We missed that. I am sincerely super happy with the foundation of this institute and wish all involved every success!’
For a diversity of disputes at small and large tech companies
The institute specialises in a diversity of disputes tech companies may experience, e.g. about technology licences, intellectual property, R&D collaboration, online services and technology contracts. Depending on the technology of the dispute involved, a subject matter expert is selected to act as a mediator or arbitrator. The institute is available to both start-ups, SMEs as corporate businesses, in the Netherlands and abroad.
Efficient and confidential
Communication preferably takes place via electronic means. For example, Skype meetings. This will save lots of time and money; most definitely also in international
Frank de Groof
‘I focus on preventing problems. It is my approach to continue talking and indicating that what you is with the best of intentions and preferably in pursuit of a common objective. If that is credible, problems may be avoided.
In my opinion, accessibility is particularly important for the involvement of a third party to help resolve a dispute, or perhaps it is better to say, a disagreement. Accessibility also means low costs. Costs are shared in mediation, contrary to bearing the own lawyer’s fees. To me, a lawyer means seeking differences instead of finding agreements. I prefer not doing it the American way!
Obviously, you have to be sympathetic to seeking a party together. Trust is of the essence here. The parties must reach the same conclusion. I do note, however, that business mediation is not well-known, entrepreneurs often are not aware of its existence. When, in many cases, it is a very good solution.
Not public and time-efficient
Problems are kept a secret. Entrepreneurs are reluctant to talk about them. In this case, mediation also offers a solution, for the information is not publicly available. Having your own company means having a lot of things on your mind so you would like somebody to guide you. You would, in fact, prefer somebody to take over your problem, minimising the amount of time you would have to spend. Then you involve somebody credible and impartial, a neutral mediator. This institute also specialises in technique, which makes conversations much easier.’
“In the event of disputes on technical matters, a sound settlement cannot be taken for granted. Courts assess matters from a legal point of view but have no understanding of the technical part. Many arbitration institutes employ only legal experts. The tech business, however, really is a specialisation. There are always disputes, and businesses often are not aware of the possibilities of arbitration
Speed, security and soundness
Often, contracts are neither well-written nor drawn up by a legal expert. On top of that, expectations often do not meet reality, which may give rise to controversy. Moreover, circumstances may change, especially in the case of multiannual projects. In practice, I see that everybody seeks a speedy solution. Everybody wants to know the position of their business as a result of a dispute. Also, everybody wants a sound decision, where there is trust and matters are dealt with substantively and knowledgeably. One does not want endless disputes over the small print at the bottom, spend lots of money while being able to see the wood for the trees.
Wat veel mensen niet weten over arbitrage
I often find myself explaining how arbitration works. There is a ‘complaint’, and there is defence, we deal with items of evidence and often with expert reports. Oral meetings usually take place, where we also heard witness, if needed. Lastly, we conclude and write an award. This award is confirmed by the court, which is a formality to see if no procedural errors were made. It is no substantive check. What might surprise many people is that this works worldwide! The New York Convention of 1958 documents arbitration internationally. In the tech business, with its large-scale international cooperation, this is a huge advantage! You may go to court with the award in any other country. In short: arbitration results in an internationally binding award.’
“The Brainport region is an innovative hotspot for high-tech in the world. We are probably too down-to-earth to see it, but what happens here is the envy of the world. To keep the lead, a collaboration between companies is needed.”
Veel samenwerking betekent kans op conflicten. Als je elke keer naar de rechter moet bij een conflict, remt dat innovatie en dus de voorsprong. Een juridisch traject duurt lang en brengt allerlei risico’s met zich mee. Relaties tussen bedrijven moeten goed blijven, de samenwerking in de regio mag niet in elkaar storten! Conflicten moeten dus zo snel mogelijk en op een laagdrempelige manier worden opgelost.
Betrouwbaar alternatief op de rechtbank
The thinking pattern often is: rush to court in case of a dispute. It is our vision, however, that this is not always in the company’s best interest and we, therefore, offer a fast and long-term alternative. The authorities also recognise the importance of a reliable alternative for court proceedings. That is why we have received a subsidy for the foundation of this institute.
We speak the language of technicians
We have experienced business mediators, specialists in the field of high-tech. When you speak the language of technicians, communications will be easier. A neutral and impartial mediator re-launches communications. Mediation is a voluntary and confidential process with a view to both parties signing a contract of settlement.
Ranging from high technical questions to contractual obligations
The dispute may concern a technology developed by two parties and the separation of the parties involved. Alternatively, for example, a dispute on failure to comply with contractual obligations. How to find a business solution acceptable to all parties. In such cases, mediation can be used.
Mediation: fast and two winners
Recently a survey has been conducted amongst Dutch companies on business mediation. This showed that entrepreneurs prefer mediation because it is so much faster. A mediation process can be concluded with 2 weeks instead of 2 years of litigation. The parties seek the solution of the business interests themselves, maintaining the relationship. The result being two winners and a long-term solution. Besides that, the costs are much lower than going to court.’
Rob van Gijzel
It is September 2008, I have been the mayor for only half a year, the crisis breaks out, rather quickly causing serious problems in our region. Our economy is sensitive to economic fluctuations in an international market. As the Brainport foundation’s chairman, I took the initiative to bring the key players together in a very early stadium. We had to do different things, and we had to do things differently. Foremost: reinforce the chain. Most important is collaboration and to seek solutions jointly. Ultimately, this became the success of our region. Together and looking for a win-win instead of competing with one another. Obviously, this will have to include an institute that looks for a connection between or within companies in case of thorny issues. Mediation and arbitration instead of legal remedies.
In the Anglo-Saxon legal remedies are reached for, if possible. Document it legally and press charges as soon as possible. Luckily, we ‘Rijnlanders’ see things differently. Here in the Brainport area, we are uniquely successful in collaboration with other businesses. Of course, things can go wrong, but solving it in an orderly fashion is better to do justice to all parties. This new arbitration institute for technology companies is immensely helpful there. We missed that. I am sincerely supper happy with the foundation of this institute.
Reinforce the chain
When I was the mayor, I frequently hosted captains of industry in my office. It was and still is my opinion that we must have an ongoing dialogue on the reinforcement of our ecosystem. In our region, we have to deal with another dependency for which a reliable chain is of great relevance. That chain is reinforced this way. Fast conflict resolution is of importance to all parties, especially in tech, and we get that in this region.
Just start a conversation
There are always many parties involved in a conflict with the municipality, so as a municipality we were always spending a lot of money on legal proceedings. In 2008 we changed that approach. My motto is: start a conversation and see what is really going on. This also applies to tech businesses, large or small does not matter. It sometimes is an internal company issue, for instance, between the owners. Often, matters are just not properly regulated. Moreover, nobody likes lengthy legal battles and losing the relationship too. I wish the new institute much success!’