JUVE Patent

Bird & Bird – Netherlands 2020

JUVE Comment

The Dutch patent team, based mainly in The Hague, is a persistent challenger to the market-leading firms in the Netherlands. It is part of a fully-integrated litigation team in one of the strongest patent firms in Europe. Bird & Bird’s work for Nokia is well-known across Europe, and the Dutch office is no exception. Flexing its expertise in standard essential technology litigation, the team has recently been seen representing Nokia in proceedings relating to DSL technology. Its connection with the telecommunication giant is ongoing, and the firm has also worked for Qualcomm in the high-profile European dispute against Apple regarding chipsets, which settled in 2019. The Qualcomm case was a real success for the team, in their first time advising a US chipset manufacturer. The Bird & Bird team was also involved in another major tech dispute before the Dutch patent court, primarily to provide second opinions to one of the parties. However, this case does show that, compared with other international firms, Bird & Bird is not always first choice when it comes to litigation. On the other hand, the team has an excellent reputation for pharma and biotech patents. It continues to litigate for several clients on the generics pharmaceutical side, for example Ablynx against Unilever. This case demonstrates the effective cross-border strategy which underpins the Bird & Bird European practice, encompassing its London and Brussels offices too. It is also active for Bicycle Therapeutics in both patent litigation and trade secrets, a case which pulls together the expertise of the firm’s European offices. Furthermore, despite numerous legacy clients, the Dutch outfit has displayed flexibility with new types of cases, including biotechnology patents. This is best demonstrated in its work for The Broad Institute in the high-profile and wide-ranging CRISPR-Cas proceedings at the EPO. While Bird & Bird is part of a broader team with other European IP firms, it is undeniably at the forefront of one of the most important future technologies. As a European practice, it also specialises in coordinating cross-border disputes. In the Netherlands, this shines through in the work of the Dutch team for Nestle and its subsidary Nespresso. Partner Armand Killan has coordinated the advice and litigation in the Nestle/Nespresso case for eight years. This setup allows Bird & Bird’s Dutch team to strive for the heights of its German and British counterparts while getting involved in Europe’s most complex patent cases.


Strong interoffice cooperation, particularly with UK and German offices. Pharmaceutical cases, especially for generic drug manufacturers, as well as telecommunications litigation. Coordination of pan-European disputes.

European strategy

The interplay between Bird & Bird’s European teams, especially the German practice, remains as strong as ever. This is evident in the cross-referral between offices, for example the close cooperation between the Netherlands, the UK, Belgium and Germany in the now-settled case for AB InBev against Heineken. As well as in the Netherlands, other parallel proceedings are currently active across the UK, Germany, Italy and Belgium, with no reliance on cooperation with other firms. Bird & Bird remains active in all major European patent jurisdictions, with offices in Düsseldorf, Munich, Milan, London and Paris. In addition, the teams outside Germany have access to the Munich-based patent attorney practice which is highly experienced in disputes such as infringement and EPO proceedings. Overall this setup makes Bird & Bird one of Europe’s market leaders for patent disputes.

Recommended individuals

Armand Killan (“top, for years our standard representative for telecommunication disputes”, client; “very strong patent litigator”, competitor), Marc van Wijngaarden


3 partners, 3 associates


Strong focus on patent disputes. Pan-European pharmaceutical litigation specialising in generics and mobile communications, pan-European cooperation generally.


Litigation: Nokia as co-defendant of KPN against ASSIA over SEPs and DSL technology; Qualcomm (defendant) against Apple over chipsets (settled); Swiss Pharma (defendant) against Biogen regarding multiple sclerosis treatment; AB InBev (claimant) against Heineken regarding bottle-in-bottle keg technology; AB InBev (defendant) against Heineken regarding portable beer keg technology (both disputes settled); Edwards Lifesciences (defendant) against Boston regarding heart valves; Ablynx (claimant) against Unilever regarding Nanobodies; VHsquared and QVQ regarding antibody therapeutics; Bicycle Therapeutics (claimant) against Pepscan over invalidity and trade secrets; Global Factoris (claimant) against BlisterPartner regarding infringement of trade secrets for medicine pouches; The Broad Institute regarding EPO opposition against CRISPR patent. Advice: Nokia and Qualcomm regarding patent assessment in the electronics field; Nestle regarding patent assessment and litigation coordination in the field of household goods and nutrition; Nespresso regarding patent assessment and litigation coordination over coffee capsules; Edwards Lifesciences regarding patent assessment over heart valves; Keygene for biotech arbitration in the US; TNO for technology licensing and assessment.


The Hague, Amsterdam