Linklaters – France 2023
The French patent team of the international full-service firm is pulling ahead of its practices in the UK and Germany. It continues to be very visible for innovator pharmaceutical clients such as Regeneron; while active litigation over Praluent finished in 2021, the team around Pauline Debré continues to work for the company in other cases. “She is very conscientious with a great quality of work,” says a competitor. Similarly, a client commends the team for its deep knowledge of pharmaceuticals. However, most notably the practice is working on several major instructions for clients in the mobile communications, electronics and mechanical fields. Of the former, perhaps the firm’s most well-known client is Intel in the wide-ranging litigation against Intellectual Ventures, which involves several co-claimants and reached the Court of Appeal.
Furthermore, regular client Seoul Semiconductor continues to instruct the team; here, the Paris office work closely with colleagues in Frankfurt and London, demonstrating that it has the potential to develop cross-border links like those seen at market-leading firms such as Allen & Overy. A further example of this is Linklaters’ French team taking on a coordination role for a major new client in the mechanical sector, where it leads the strategy across the firm’s European network as well as working closely with dispute resolution experts from the firm’s US office. This is a good example of how the French practice is taking the lead in international proceedings and also puts the firm in a good position to attract further clients in its speciality of pharmaceuticals – for example, with COVID-19 vaccine litigation on the rise, the firm could begin to attract client work in this field. However, the practice might benefit from additional dual-qualified lawyers in the team, of which it currently has one, especially given the upcoming UPC.
Pharma litigation, transactional work on IP.
In the healthcare sector, the Linklaters teams in London, Frankfurt and Paris consistently work together in high-profile cases for originator companies like ViiV and Sanofi. Although Linklaters has solid teams in France, Germany and the UK, the firm has higher ambitions for cross-border disputes. For this, it must work on its visibility in London and develop a visible patent team in the Netherlands, which would also give it a more rounded offering for the UPC.
Even if the European practice is already in the top league with competitors such as Hogan Lovells or Allen & Overy in the pharma sector on the originator side, it is lagging well behind in other areas. This is mainly due to the lack of a consistent strategy for other technologies at European level. On the other hand, cross-border instructions for clients such as Seoul Semiconductor demonstrate that the team does indeed have the capabilities to coordinate work in Europe. Future instructions might demonstrate this more clearly.
While both the German and French teams are making huge strides when it comes to winning clients from the mobile communications or high-tech sectors, however, the London team trails behind. This is mainly because it has decided to focus the small team on life sciences and renewable energies. If the European team really wants to catch up to the market leaders such as Bird & Bird and Hogan Lovells, it must invest in its presence in the Netherlands, but also in a powerful high-tech team. Clifford Chance recently showed that the time is ripe for this with two lateral hires from Hoyng ROKH Monegier in Germany.
Pauline Debré (“she is very conscientious with a great quality of work”, competitor)
6 lawyers, 1 dual qualified
Cross-border patent litigation, historically with a strong focus on life sciences. Representation of originator drug manufacturers in pharmaceutical cases.
Litigation: Lantiq/Intel (defendant) against Intellectual Ventures over SEPs for DSL; Seoul Semiconductor (claimant) against a competitor regarding LEDs; Sanofi/Regeneron (defendants) against Amgen over cholesterol-lowering drug Repatha; ViiV/GSK (claimant) against Gilead over HIV inhibitor drug; Halozyme Therapeutics (claimant) against INPI over SEP application for Rituximab (Supreme Court) (all public knowledge). Frequent advice to MSD.