August Debouzy – France 2021
The patent practice of this national full-service firm is an undisputed market leader in France when it comes to patent disputes before the civil courts. The team impresses clients and competitors alike with its many dual-qualified lawyers and often conducts high-stakes EPO proceedings for its clients. An example is its representation of Italian mechanical engineering company Sibo in a seizure and proceedings on the interface with trade secrets, as well as at the EPO.
Grégoire Desrousseaux is known in the market as one of the most experienced litigators, with a remarkable degree of technical understanding. He frequently brings his experience in mobile communications into play for Huawei.
In pharma proceedings, the second head of the practice François Pochart mainly works for generics companies. Regular clients include Teva, which he defended in the French part of complex pan-European proceedings against Novartis.
Clients from life sciences and a wide array of technical fields frequently trust the team with their technically- or legally-complex cases. Competitors are impressed by the sheer number of different clients. Many not only entrust the team with litigation, but also call on it for strategic advice and prosecution.
Given this large number of high-end cases, it is noticeable that the large team only has two partners at the helm. Both are constantly fostering young talent, but time and again it is competitors who reap the benefit. Firms, mostly international ones, have wooed highly qualified up-and-coming lawyers away from the team numerous times in recent years by the offer of partnership. This is certainly not down to the teamwork in patents, which competitors praise as “outstanding”. Rather it suggests that the nationally-positioned firm makes it difficult for young talent to ascend to the partnership. The team is still structurally healthy, and its partners attract enough clients. But in the long term the practice will have to be careful not to fall behind the dynamically growing teams of competitors. Hoyng ROKH Monegier Véron, for instance, is strategically investing in young female partners.
Litigation before the French courts and the EPO. In-depth telecoms, electronics and pharma sector expertise.
The leading patents team has strong client contacts, partly because both dual-qualified partners frequently represent their clients before both the national French courts and the EPO. If the UPC arrives, this experience will be a trump card that only few European litigation firms can play.
This makes August Debouzy an interesting partner for lots of international firms, especially those with a similar full-service approach. But the team is more limited in its opportunities for closer cooperation than pure IP boutiques. The overall firm nurtures good, but non-exclusive, relationships with numerous similarly-positioned national firms in other European countries. These, for example Noerr or Gleiss Lutz in Germany, tend to fit in more with the firm’s profile in deals than with the setup and clientele of the patent practice.
Grégoire Desrousseaux (“communicates transparently and gives a good risk assessment,” client; “just excellent,” competitor), François Pochart (“very experienced in pharma litigation,” competitor; “first choice for the most important cases,” competitor about both)
2 partners, 2 counsel, 11 associates, 6 of whom are dual-qualified as patent attorneys and litigators
Patent litigation in all technical fields, EPO opposition; also general IP advice. Small filing practice.
Litigation: Alcon/Novartis (defendant) against Hoya Surgical Optics over eye lens; B.Braun Medical (claimant) against INPI over urinary catheter patent (Supreme Court); Eurofeedback (defendant) against Dermeo over pulsed light devices (including EPO procedeeings); Teva (claimant) against MSD on SPC on ezetimibe simvastatine (Supreme Court), Teva (defendant) against Novartis on everolimus; Huawei (defendant) against Intellectual Ventures over SEPs; Pellenc (defendant) against Felco on electric agricultural shears (Supreme Court) and in EPO oppositions; PSA Peugeot Citroën Automobiles (defendant) against Papst Licensing over a diesel injector patent (Court of Appeal); Nutricia/Danone (claimant) against Nestlé group and Even Santé over enteral nutrition products; Sibo (defendant) against HEF on steel bushes for working machines including seizure and EPO opposition; Verescence (defendant) against Pochet Du Courval on a process for decorating perfumery bottles in infringement and EPO oppositions; Geplast (claimant) against Forlam an others over blackout slats. Prosecution: patent filing, oppositions and advice for Acrelec on self‐service solutions for retail and restaurants; B.Braun Medical in Continence Care & Urology also in EPO proceedings, Medtronic, Nuvamid, Suez.