Cousin & Associés – France 2023
This small Paris IP boutique is well positioned in patent litigation for clients from a wide array of technical fields. Close connections to small and midsized companies in Germany ensure a steady flow of work, from the life sciences and automotive sectors among others. Major corporations occasionally bank on the small team as well, such as a multinational specialist in electrical and digital building infrastructures, which the team advised on a dispute over cabling solutions for multimedia connectivity. One of the partners also specialises in plant-variety protection.
Cousin & Associés increasingly advises on trade secrets in connection with patent disputes and recently ventured its first steps in the mediation of IP disputes. However, the departure of the experienced Sandrine Bouvier-Ravon was a huge loss for the already small team’s clout; Thales was among her regular clients.
Patent litigation for a broad spectrum of industries.
Cousin & Associés traditionally nurtures close ties to firms in Germany and also maintains informal relationships with some UK firms. With regard to the UPC, however, the strong client base in Germany also carries a certain risk: if these companies decide to litigate before the UPC instead of national courts in the future, they may choose to rely on their German lawyers rather than Cousin & Associés.
With the UPC in mind, like many national IP boutiques the small firm is holding on to its existing but non-exclusive contacts and will team up with various partners depending on the instruction. Before now, the lawyers have rarely been seen in the French proceedings of pan-European disputes, partly because most of their clients are midsized companies. These are unlikely to be the first to bring their disputes before the UPC. Whether or not the strategy of independent collaborations will pay off is uncertain. For one thing, the team of four is very small to develop the clout needed to adhere to the UPC’s strict deadlines. Furthermore, the IP boutique will be competing with much bigger teams like Casalonga or Loyer & Abello, which already conduct more pan-European proceedings or work within an established international network.
Sandrine Bouvier-Ravon (to Plasseraud)
Strong contacts among German clients. Advice on plant-variety protection and trade secrets.
Litigation: HB Fuller (defendant) against Chimiquement Votre over starch glues; Kubota (claimant) against INPI over refusal of a divisional application (settled in 2022); specialist in electrical and digital building infrastructures (claimant) against competitor over cabling solutions for multimedia connectivity; manufacturer of paint, coating and adhesives (defendant) against competitor over coating and metallisation technology; manufacturer of mobile homes and caravans (defendant) against supplier of automotive parts over car seats.