Allen & Overy – Germany 2020
This German patents practice is gaining momentum in litigation. It benefits from the strongly positioned London office, with which it conducts numerous top-level proceedings for pharmaceuticals and biologicals originators– Pfizer and Eli Lilly are key clients of the European practice. Under the leadership of Feldges’ German team, the firm also litigated for Bayer in several proceedings, including a dispute with Ceva in 17 countries over a veterinary drug. The engagement of former head of patents at Bayer Animal Health Dr. Stephan van der Vlugt as a consultant shows just how close ties to Bayer are. The team also welcomed an experienced senior associate from Freshfields, who is dual qualified as a dentist. The new arrivals not only boost the team’s impact in the market, but also point to an expansion of technical expertise. Allen & Overy’s strong visibility on the side of originators is no surprise given its long-standing relationships. For these clients, the German team has been operating on an equal footing with market leaders like Hogan Lovells for some time. In cases involving mobile communications and electronics patents, on the other hand, it is only now gaining ground. Litigation for Samsung in two cases represents significant progress in this regard, as the team has developed direct contacts with the Korean technology giant. But the German practice has yet to translate the good ties of the Paris office to Nokia and the London team to Huawei into work, since the connections between the two mobile communications giants and other German firms are probably too tight. The German team already entered the field of connected cars patents last year with advice to Volvo on FRAND issues, but did not play a central role in the major proceedings involving members of the Avanci pool against Daimler. This could change if SEP holders start to focus more on truck connectivity and take legal action. The team already gained the necessary experience in FRAND issues in the long-running, cross-border mobile communications dispute for Archos.
Litigation related to biotech and pharmaceuticals patents. Also arbitration.
Allen & Overy has made significant progress in coordinating and developing its European practice over the past few years. The firm also advises clients such as Bayer and Warner Lambert in cross-border disputes. With offices in most of the key European jurisdictions and excellent positions in the French and UK markets, it has become a serious rival to Hogan Lovells and Bird & Bird as a European market leader. Allen & Overy also has well-positioned teams in the Dutch market. The European patent teams collaborate on many high-profile cases, for example for Bayer and Warner Lambert/Pfizer in major European jurisdictions. The firm’s European practice is a market leader on the side of originator manufacturers, especially in pharma disputes. Over the past year, the European Patent Group has made considerable progress on pan-European representation in large pharmaceutical and biosimilar cases. The London team handles many cases together with the teams in Amsterdam and Munich. For mobile communications cases, some of the firm’s teams are visible in their markets, for example in Paris and London. There are some gaps, however. In Amsterdam, the team’s presence remains understated. But in Germany the Allen & Overy team is representing more and more international clients in electronic or mobile communications cases and as such the increasing connectivity in the car industry harbours potential for the whole practice. But this may not yet be the end of the expansion, because there is still room in the German practice for further partners, whether as homegrown or laterals. At the important Düsseldorf office especially, the patent team is clearly underrepresented compared to its European competitors Hogan Lovells and Bird & Bird.
2 partners, 7 associates, 1 consultant
In patents, exclusively litigation with a strong specialty in biotech and pharmaceuticals, often including regulatory issues. Increasingly telecommunications and electronics. Also arbitration, transactions and licensing.
Litigation: Bayer (claimant) against Ceva over veterinary drug for farm animals Baycox Iron; Bayer (claimant) against Kirka over patent and SPC for veterinary drug; Warner Lambert/Pfizer (claimant) against generics manufacturer on second medical use of Lyrica; Pfizer (claimant) against Orifarm over SPC for children’s medicine; Samsung (defendant) against Varta over batteries for wireless headphones; Samsung against NPW concerning mobile communications; Archos (defendant) against Philips over Android apps; coffee producer (claimant) against competitor over coffee capsules; Synaptics concerning mobile communications, Volvo Cars concerning automotive engineering; frequent litigation for Hoffmann-La Roche. Advice: Volvo Cars on FRAND and SEPs.