JUVE Patent

Simmons & Simmons – France 2023

JUVE Comment

In France, the well-positioned patent team at Simmons & Simmons continues to be visible for clients in the life sciences sector, especially for innovator pharmaceutical companies and medical device manufacturers. Its visibility in the latter sector is of particular importance, given a rise in litigation in recent years – the firm’s work for companies such as United Orthopedic Corporation against C2F Implants is just one of several instructions. This is a theme which is mirrored in the firm’s other offices, too, for example through an instruction by Boston Scientific against Cook, which is ongoing in the UK and Germany. This puts the French team in a good position should the companies begin litigating in France. For the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, the team is also demonstrating aptitude in litigation against the French Patent Office (INPI) over SPC applications, with the case pending at the Supreme Court. Given the current interest surrounding SPC regulation in the European patent market, Simmons & Simmons demonstrating strength in this area might increase its visibility and encourage clients to seek out its expertise.

On the other hand, however, the firm is in some ways in flux. Conflict issues have impacted one pharmaceutical client, which has switched to another firm; on the mechanical patent side, JCB has shifted firms from Simmons & Simmons to Hoyng ROKH Monegier. Thus, while Simmons remains a strong name in the European market, in France it has some work to do before it is truly in a position to challenge the market leaders. This is especially true given the fact that partner Marina Cousté is appearing less frequently in the market due to her approaching retirement age.


Cross-border litigation in the life sciences sector.

European set-up

The French team of Simmons & Simmons is the firm’s least visible in Europe compared to its teams in other countries. The work for Xiaomi, Bayer and Samsung Bioepis showed that the firm is a force to be reckoned with in pan-European litigation – in both the pharma and mobile communications sectors. Litigation for Boston Scientific against Cook is also ongoing in Germany and the Netherlands, although here the Simmons team has been overlooked in favour of Vossius and Brinkhof respectively.

Last year, the expansion of the London and Amsterdam teams was followed by a spectacular reorganisation of the German practice with the hiring of a large patent attorney team specialising in life sciences from Isenbruck. The Munich patent attorneys will work closely with those in Amsterdam and London in the future. Munich and Amsterdam specialise in life sciences patents, while London also has a focus on electronics and mobile communications.

With the recent investments in laterals, Simmons & Simmons has made it clear that it wants to play a substantial role in the UPC. With offices at all key UPC locations, the firm does indeed have a good starting set-up, and it is likely the firm will soon reassess its capacities in Belgium and Italy – growing its pharma capabilities in the latter country could be strategically sound, given Milan is a likely host of the third UPC central division.

The fact that the firm is growing its patent attorney team in Amsterdam, London and now also in Munich points in the right direction. Moreover, with of counsel Kevin Mooney in London, Simmons & Simmons still has one of the influential architects of the UPC in its ranks. With such success behind it, Simmons & Simmons is shaping up to be a real European powerhouse for both pharma and mobile communications cases, and market leaders like Hogan Lovells and Bird & Bird will have to keep a watchful eye if they do not want to lose market share once the UPC arrives. Overall, however, the French practice has some work to do before it is on the same level as the firm’s other European offices.


6 lawyers


Patent litigation in the life sciences sector, especially pharmaceuticals and medical devices. Also telecommunications and other technical fields. Practice for arbitration proceedings and licence agreements.


Litigation: Merck Millipore (defendant) against patients over Levothyrox drug for treating underactive thyroids; Dana Farber Cancer Institute (appellant) against the French Patent Office (INPI) over SPC applications (pending at the Supreme Court); United Orthopedic (defendant) against C2F Implants over knee prosthesis; Neo Medical (claimant) against Safe Orthopaedics over implants and sterile instruments.