Assortment policy

Our assortment policy contains all the conditions that apply to the offer of bol. Let's make it a shared effort to ensure that bol stands for reliability and quality. Only then will customers order from us with peace of mind.

Intellectual Property

Read everything you need to know about the assortment policy for Intellectual Property on this page. Consider guidelines for posting authentic and original articles.

What is intellectual property?

Intellectual property is the collective term for the ownership of “intellectual creations” such as designs, symbols, logos, literary and artistic works, names and images used in the sale of an item. It is important that customers can count on authentic, original items for which the seller has met all obligations regarding intellectual property.

Trademark and property rights

Items and their product information must meet the guidelines in order to be sold as branded items. Please visit these page to read the guidelines. This way, we prevent misleading information in product information together.

Trademark rights 

If you use a registered trademark without the consent of the trademark owner, it is trademark infringement. This is the case both if the brand name is used for items that are similar, and if the brand name is mentioned in the title. 

Among other things, the platform prohibits: 

  • In the title or product description, indicate “inspired by”, “our impression of”, “based on”, “similar to” or similar references and then mention a brand name or branded product, such as, for example, indicating in the title that a princess costume dress is inspired by the Disney Frozen film 
  • To refer to the name or scent of a branded perfume while not offering that branded perfume; 
  • In the images, show the brand product that is the source of the inspiration, such as posting an image of the brand perfume that your perfume is inspired by. 

Property rights 

If other product features are also copied, besides brand name infringement, then it is counterfeiting. 

Counterfeit 

Definition 

The terms counterfeit, imitation and fake are used interchangeably in practice. For clarity, we will use counterfeiting as an umbrella term in this policy. 

Some examples of counterfeiting: 

  • Items that are an imitation of a branded article or a protected design; 
  • An image of an artist who has not given permission to do so; 
  • An illegal copy of a game, film, music or software. 

Anti-counterfeiting policy bol

To provide customers with the best quality and service together and prevent unfair competition on the platform, we believe it is very important to actively fight the offering of counterfeit and imitation items. 

Authentic articles only 

Selling counterfeit items is prohibited by law. That is because you are infringing on the intellectual property of another party when selling counterfeit. Therefore, all items offered via bol must be original and authentic.

It is the responsibility of the seller to ensure their items are original and authentic. This means that you have to do your own checks to ensure that the item you want to sell is authentic and not counterfeit, such as: 

  • Purchase items only from reliable suppliers; 
  • Ensure branded items have an EAN registered with GS1; 
  • Make sure you sell branded items with the original EAN. 

As a seller, it is your responsibility to know the various forms of counterfeiting and the applicable laws. 

Fighting counterfeiting together 

Bol works closely with manufacturers, brand owners, licensors, licensees, content owners, suppliers, vendors, industry associations and anti-counterfeiting organisations to detect and take action on counterfeit assortment. 

What does this mean for you? 

Bol investigates reports of counterfeiting by the above parties as well as reports from customers. For the investigation, we may request documents to assess the authenticity of the product, such as: 

  • Purchase invoice; 
  • Detailed photos of the item or packaging. 

What happens in case of insufficient evidence? 

If, in the opinion of bol, the partner can insufficiently prove the items are not counterfeit, we will remove these items immediately. We will contact the partner regarding the consequences this has for their policy points. Violation of this policy may result in immediate closure of the seller’s account. 

If necessary, bol will actively cooperate with investigations from customs, police and any legal follow-up steps by the right holders of intellectual property. 

Be careful when importing from outside the EU 

Importing authentic goods from outside the EU can also be seen as intellectual property infringement (and thus treated as counterfeiting) if the brand owner/manufacturer has not given explicit permission to the seller to sell it in Europe. For example: Independently importing a Pokémon soft toy from China is not allowed without express permission from The Pokémon Company or the holder of the Pokémon license in Europe. As a seller, you are responsible for applying for this permission and being able to prove it. 

Report counterfeits? Possible counterfeit articles can be reported via the Notice and Take down procedure. These reports will be dealt with as soon as possible. 

Copyright

Copyright applies to protect creators of original creations such as books, films, music, photographs, games, software (and many other forms of art). Copyright is the exclusive right of the creator of a written work, science or art form to distribute, publish and copy that work. Due to copyright laws, it is not allowed to offer items on bol.com that infringe someone else’s copyright.

When can copyright apply?

Copyright can apply to all creations such as (but not limited to) books, music, films, software, video games paintings, drawings, photographs, comics, graphic designs, construction drawings, maps & plans. If a work is copyrighted, another person may not use that work, and parts of it, without the creator’s permission. Exceptions may apply if a product already on the market is resold by the creator. It is the selling partner’s responsibility to check whether there are items in the range to be offered that may be copyrighted.

Ask permission if necessary

If you are not the creator of, for example, a photo, piece of music, game or film, you must check whether permission to use it is required.

Practical examples

It is the responsibility of each partner to be aware of what copyright and other intellectual property rights mean for the product range the partner wants to offer. We have listed some common issues that may involve infringement of copyright or other third-party rights:

  • You want to sell a canvas print, poster, t-shirt, duvet cover, mug (etc.) depicting a scene or character from a film/series/game
  • You want to sell a retro game console with pre-installed games
  • You want to sell a new item on bol.com and use Google to find a suitable image

Protecting intellectual property together

Report copyright infringement? The Notice and Take down procedure can be used to report articles that infringe copyright and other rights.

Private copy levy

Do you sell items for data storage such as smartphones, DVDs, USB sticks or external hard drives? If so, as a supplier, you have to pay a private copy levy. The fee is intended for artists and authors who lose income because their work is copied by customers on these devices. 

Parallel import 

Note when importing yourself 

Importing goods with a registered trademark is allowed when the items are imported from a European Economic Area (EEA) country. The EEA includes all EU countries plus Liechtenstein, Norway and Iceland. Within the EEA, there is free movement of people and goods. All goods located within the borders of the EEA may be moved and sold in another EEA country without hindrance. 

It is not allowed to import items from countries outside the EEA and sell them within the EEA without the explicit consent of the trademark owner. Importing without permission, called parallel importing, is prohibited. This prohibition applies regardless of whether the trademark owner sells the same type of article within the EEA, as long as the trademark owner owns the intellectual property rights in the EEA. 

Ask the trademark owner’s permission

An item imported from outside the EEA may not be sold at bol without the consent of the trademark owner. 

It is the seller’s responsibility to obtain documents in which the trademark owner authorises the seller to sell an item imported from outside the EEA. Always keep good records of communications, contracts and official purchase orders of items imported outside the EEA. 

For example: Importing a Pokémon soft toy independently from China is not allowed without explicit permission from The Pokémon Company or the holder of the Pokémon license in Europe. As a seller, you are responsible for requesting this permission and being able to prove it. 

Bol will remove items imported from outside the EEA if written proof cannot be presented that the seller has permission from the trademark owner to sell the specified items. 

Decoding = cheating 

It is not allowed to remove EAN codes, QR codes, article numbers or other product codes from items, damage them, make them unreadable or replace them with other codes. We call such actions decoding. Decoded items sold via bol will be treated as fraud. 

Fighting illegal parallel imports together 

Bol works in close coorporation with manufacturers, brand owners, licensors, licensees, content owners, suppliers, vendors and industry associations to detect and take action on illegal parallel imports. 

Bol investigates reports of illegal parallel import by the above parties as well as reports from customers. If, in the opinion of bol, it is sufficiently plausible that illegal parallel import is taking place, we will remove these items immediately. We will contact the seller in violation regarding the consequences this has for their policy points. Violation of this policy may result in immediate closure of the seller’s account. 

If necessary, bol will actively cooperate with investigations from customs, police and any legal follow-up steps by the right holders of intellectual property. 

Other points of interest: 

  • If you import goods directly from outside the EEA/European Economic Area (e.g. from China), your role changes from distributor to importer with associated additional responsibilities and obligations. If you are an importer or distributor and you offer your goods under your own name or brand name via bol, you are considered a manufacturer and you have to take on the obligations of the manufacturer. In that case, for example, you yourself are responsible for preparing and signing the EC Declaration of Conformity or EU Declaration of Conformity. 
  • For some categories the policy of bol does not allow items imported from outside the EEA, such as food and beverage products for human consumption. For other categories, the packaging or manual must comply with specific laws and regulations. For example, for toys it is mandatory that the packaging includes a safety warning written in Dutch, CE marking and contact details within the EEA. It is your responsibility as a seller to be aware of the applicable laws and regulations and the specific bol. assortment policy for each item you offer. The bol assortment policy can be found here. 
  • For televisions, European models (purchased within the EEA) may be sold, provided; the models work, Dutch-language manuals are available, and the installation of the television is also in Dutch. 
  • Parallel imports are also called grey imports, parallel trade, side trade, side imports. 

Intellectual property in product information and images

The items offered by you, provided (product) information and images may not infringe on the intellectual property rights of others. 

What is not allowed? 

It is not permitted to mention or depict protected brand names in the (product) information, such as in the title, description, brand statement, attributes, images, videos, etc., without the consent of the rights holder if the article does not belong to the relevant brand. If you do use a protected brand name without the permission of the rights holder, you may be infringing someone’s intellectual property right and will be liable for all damage claims and other consequences that follow from the unlawful use of the brand name. 

Among other things, the platform prohibits: 

  • In the title or product description, indicate ‘inspired by’, ‘our impression of’, ‘based on’ or ‘similar to’ or similar references and then mention a brand name or branded product. Examples:
    – Indicating in the title that a princess costume dress is inspired by the Disney Frozen film.
    – Referring to the name or scent of a branded perfume, while not offering that branded perfume. 
  • In the images, show the brand product which is the source of the inspiration. E.g:
    – Using an image of the brand perfume your perfume is inspired by.
     

What is allowed? 

Referring brand usage if you offer a product that is compatible with a specific brand product. For example, because an accessory only works with a specific brand or type, this is important information for our customers to know. 

Consider: 

  • A charger that can only be used with a certain brand and type of phone 
  • A controller that can only be used with a certain brand and type of game console 
  • A coffee filter that can only be used with a certain brand and type of coffee machine 
  • A dust bag that can only be used with a certain brand and type of hoover 

Ultimately, it is your responsibility as the selling partner to prevent any infringement. This means staying informed about your specific product range and which (product) information and/or images could possibly infringe on the intellectual property of another brand. You are personally liable if you violate the rights of a rights holder. Seek legal advice if you are unsure about this.

Bol investigates reports of intellectual property infringement. If, in the opinion of bol, it is sufficiently plausible that an intellectual property infringement has occurred, we will immediately take the article offline. We will then contact the infringing seller regarding policy implications. Violation of our policies may result in immediate closure of the seller’s account.