de Gaulle Fleurance & Associés – France 2023
The well-positioned IP team of this full-service firm is characterised by a broad set-up and conducts patent litigation for mainly midsized companies from various industries. The team attracted attention with its litigation for Tyron Runflat in a landmark Supreme Court case against Hutchinson. But the team is rarely seen in such high-stakes patent suits, in contrast to other IP teams in national firms like Aramis or Duclos Thorne Mollet-Viéville. Instead, de Gaulle Fleurance takes a broad approach and advises on all IP matters, often on the interface with commercial, IT and corporate law. For example, it represents clients such as Hyperion and Igneo in licensing deals or in disputes concerning the question of ownership of inventions following a transaction.
Although the spearhead of the patent litigation practice consists of four lawyers, the IP practice of the full-service firm has more than a dozen fee earners altogether advising on both patent law and soft IP. The firm thus has sufficient strength to cushion any peaks in work caused by the UPC’s tight deadline regime. The patent litigation team, however, has so far been far less active in the French proceedings of pan-European suits than competitors Aramis and Loyer & Abello. It might therefore not be clients’ first choice for UPC disputes, especially since the firm does not maintain the sort of close cross-border cooperation with other patent firms which could lead to more referrals in pan-European proceedings in the future.
Instead, the IP practice, like many independent national firms, maintains an informal network with various firms in key UPC locations such as Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands as well as the UK. Some of them are highly renowned in patents, but de Gaulle Fleurance competes with other independent national teams for such alliances. And in a market that is increasingly seeing the formation of exclusive alliances, such as EIP Amar or Santarelli with Meissner Bolte, it could prove a smart move in view of the UPC to intensify cooperations with existing partner firms.
Louis de Gaulle
IP practice within a full-service firm with a broad setup. Patent litigation, employee invention rights, FTO and trade secrets, as well as IP advice on transactions.
Litigation: Hoya Surgical (claimant) against Alcon over device for cataract surgery (public knowledge); Nectra (defendant) against Agri Advanced Technologies over egg-hatching technology; B&F (claimant) against Cofrasud over transporting device for racks; Tyron Runflat (defendant) against Hutchinson over automotive wheels; building materials manufacturer (defendant) against inventor of manufacturing solution for low-carbon cement. Advice: Gallagher on patentability of the colour blue in electric fences; Hyperion on claim to ownership of invention; Igneo on transfer of patents; Sagard on patent security agreement in Europe.