Allen & Overy – France 2022
The patent litigation team at this international full-service firm is a challenger to the market leaders. The firm had an especially successful year assisting its regular clients. Laëtitia Bénard’s team is firmly established among pharma companies like Bayer and MSD and is frequently, albeit not exclusively, involved in extensive, high-volume litigation for its loyal clients. Allen & Overy often conducts the parallel proceedings in cooperation with its teams in the UK and Germany.
Partnering with the German team, the French practice also represents clients from the telecoms sector, including Samsung. But these do not entrust the firm with cases in multiple jurisdictions in the way that pharma clients do. Nevertheless, partner David Por has carved out a solid name for his litigation work for telecommunications companies.
The practice is well structured as regards age and experience but has not yet found a conclusive response to the trend towards mixed teams, which would offer the opportunity for Allen & Overy to represent its clients more strongly in EPO oppositions. The use of dual-qualified lawyers could be a good way forward, as the French team is appearing at the EPO with its first lawyer and gathering initial experience.
Representation of originator drugs manufacturers in pharmaceutical cases. Strong pan-European network.
Allen & Overy has a fully integrated European patent litigation team. The lawyers in Paris, the UK and Germany have a strength in representing notable pharma originators and can point to numerous achievements in cross-border disputes.
They are now taking their first steps in litigating for clients before the EPO. This could provide valuable experience with potential for growth regarding the UPC launch. After all, compared to competitors like Bird & Bird and Hogan Lovells, Allen & Overy lacks the internal expertise of patent attorneys. The French team has one up-and-coming dual-qualified lawyer on board – a model with which national competitors such as August Debouzy are very successful.
Although major telecoms clients do rely on Allen & Overy’s national IP teams in some countries, they do not yet entrust the firm with all their litigation in pan-European proceedings.
The Netherlands and Italy are gaps in Allen & Overy’s European set-up as it has not established teams of the same high calibre there. But these jurisdictions are important, especially for pharma litigation.
Laëtitia Bénard, David Por (“very strong opponent”, competitor)
Strong focus on litigation in patents, especially pharma, biotech and telecommunications. Arbitration, transactions and cross-border licensing agreements.
Litigation: BGI (defendant) against Illumina on DNA sequencing (Paris First Instance Court), Novartis (claimant) against several generics manufacturers over medicinal products for cancer; Bayer (claimant) against Ceva over veterinary drug Baycox Iron; MSD (claimant) against generics companies over cholesterol drug Inegy; Google (claimant) against Sonos over smart speakers; Google (defendant) against individual over operating system Android; Samsung (defendant) against Ericsson over mobile communications (settled). Advice: Nokia (public knowledge).