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Personal information

Curriculum vitae

Lotte Anemaet is assistant professor in intellectual property law at the Faculty of Law of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. She holds a Master’s in Dutch Language and Culture (Speech Communication specialization), Master’s Talent Programme (Graduate School), an LL.M. in Civil Law and in Corporate Law/Intellectual Property (Leiden University). She also followed an international summer course in intellectual property and society at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) thanks to a grant from the Leiden University Fund (LUF). After graduating in 2012, she worked as a lecturer/researcher in intellectual property law at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (2013-2017) and later as a PhD Candidate (2017-2021). Part of her research was conducted at the Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition in Munich. She is the recipient of a number of scholarships (John J. Allen Scholarship (NautaDutilh), Max Planck Institute Scholarship, Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds). On 25 October 2021, she successfully defended her dissertation entitled ‘Trademark Rights and Consumer Perception: The Tension Between a Normative and an Empirical Assessment of Consumer Perception in EU Trademark Law’ at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.


Educational activities

  • Intellectual Property, Design and Branding (Dutch, Master)
  • Intellectual Property and Technological Innovation (Dutch, Master)
  • Intellectual Property in the Information Society (Dutch, Master)
  • International Intellectual Property Law (English, Master)
  • Intellectual Property (Dutch, Post-academic education)
  • Introduction to Obligations (Dutch, Bachelor)
  • Professional and Personal Identity trajectory (PPI) (Dutch, Bachelor)
  • Bachelor and Master thesis supervision


Dissertation ‘Trademark Rights and Consumer Perception: The Tension Between a Normative and an Empirical Assessment of Consumer Perception in EU Trademark Law’

This study shows the current tension in EU trademark law between a normative and an empirical approach to consumer perception. Admittedly, the EU trademark law system provides several legal tools to keep the system balanced. However, this study also illustrates that some legal instruments may not be applied in a sufficiently effective way. Indeed, the trademark system might give trademark owners dysfunctional incentives to invest in signs that should remain freely available to other traders on the market or the public in general. Particularly, the distinctiveness requirement is unpredictable and risky since trademark owners can influence whether signs acquire distinctiveness and invest as needed until they acquire control of their preferred sign. To minimise the risk of encouraging traders to invest in signs that need to be kept free, such as non-distinctive, descriptive and generic signs, and to offer breathing space to other traders to use similar signs, it is strongly advised to allow courts to make normative corrections when assessing infringement questions. In this way, courts can still discourage undesirable trademark acquisition strategies by demonstrating that, even if a trademark registration can be obtained, the scope of protection will remain very limited. In the end, large investments in consumer education may thus fail to “pay off”. There is even more reason for this approach since courts already provide normative corrections in favour of trademark owners when confusion in respect of highly distinctive marks is at issue. Finally, a more empirical approach to assessing honest practices would further enhance freedom of competition and freedom of (commercial) expression, and enhanced consumer information and consumer choice. Allowing for normative corrections on both sides of the spectrum and at all levels would prevent the circularity that seems to be inherently linked to the EU trademark system. Following these guidelines, signs cannot be automatically registered based only on empirical findings, and they cannot by definition achieve more protection the more is invested in them.

This dissertation is mentioned in the Activity Report of the Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition 2018-2020 which reports at length on individual, outstanding dissertations. 



Intellectual property law


Main publications

  • Anemaet, L. (2021). Trademark Rights and Consumer Perception. The Tension Between a Normative and an Empirical Assessment of Consumer Perception in EU Trademark Law (dissertation)
  • Anemaet, L. (2021). Which Honesty Test for Trademark Law? Why Traders’ Efforts in Avoiding Trademark Harm Should Matter When Assessing Honest Business Practices. GRUR International 70(11):1025-1042
  • Anemaet, L. (2020). The Fairy Tale of the Average Consumer: Why We Should Not Rely on the Real Consumer When Assessing the Likelihood of Confusion. GRUR International 69(10):1008-1026
  • Anemaet, L. (2020). The Many Faces of the Average Consumer: Is It Really So Difficult to Assess Whether Two Stripes Are Similar to Three? International review of intellectual property and competition law 51(2):187–213
  • Anemaet, L. (2016). The Public Domain is Under Pressure – Why We Should Not Rely on Empirical Data When Assessing Trademark Distinctiveness. International Review of Intellectual Property and Competition Law, 47 (3), 303-335.

Postal address

VU University Amsterdam

Faculty of Law

De Boelelaan 1105

1081 HV Amsterdam

Ancillary activities

  • Auteursrechtdebat | Amsterdam | Hoofdredacteur Auteursrechtdebat | 2014-04-01 - present
  • Lotte Anemaet | Leiden | Adviseur | 2017-03-01 - present

Ancillary activities are updated daily


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