Brinkhof – Netherlands 2022
This IP boutique remains a market leader for patent disputes in the Netherlands. It will be hard for competitors to launch a real challenge to this position any time soon, especially since Brinkhof has lately been extremely visible in the courts for clients such as Oppo concerning mobile communications and Boston Scientific and Sandoz in the life science sector.
Besides an active role for generic drug manufacturers such as Sandoz, the partners are tentatively expanding their presence among originator drug companies. Currently the firm advises an originator from Europe on its UPC strategy. Litigating for Boehringer Ingelheim over a veterinary drug also underscores Brinkhof’s ability to work for both research companies and the generic pharmaceutical industry.
Furthermore, the Brinkhof partners are just as present in important proceedings concerning medical technology. As in the dispute for Boston Scientific against Cook over compression clamps, disputes in the sector are usually part of a pan-European case. For these, Brinkhof often comes into play due to its intensive relationships with partner law firms in Europe and the US, like Vossius & Partner in Germany, Bristows in the UK and Kirkland & Ellis.
Brinkhof has further demonstrated its cross-border expertise in important mobile phone disputes in Europe. The firm is not only active for Google in a fight against Sonos over control technology for consumer electronics, but also for Oppo against Nokia. The latter is one of the world’s most extensive mobile phone disputes. Brinkhof was involved at an early stage, after it had previously been active for another major Chinese manufacturer, Xiaomi.
In addition to these two specialties, the partners also conduct proceedings across a much broader technical spectrum than most other Dutch patent firms. With partners Richard Ebbink, Mark Van Gardingen and Daan de Lange it has some of the most outstanding litigators in its ranks on the lawyer side. The firm also manages to develop a steady stream of new talent. Following Rien Broekstra and Jan Pot, young litigator Alexander de Leeuw is now increasingly visible in life sciences disputes.
But it is the IP boutique’s secret weapon, Koen Bijvank, keeping competitors on their toes. Since he recently became a dual-qualified patent attorney and lawyer, many competitors wonder if Bijvank will now act purely in a lawyer capacity, but the truth is less clear cut. While he remains a key figure in EPO proceedings concerning CRISPR-Cas technology, in which he co-counsels for the Broad Institute, and is also highly active in EPO oppositions, Bijvank is also lead lawyer in the appeal proceedings for Longi against Hanwha Q-Cells over solar technology. Thus, he has long since moved beyond his specialty of pharmaceutical and biotech cases. Bijvank personifies the mixed approach of the firm, which is entering into a cooperation for UPC cases with the mixed German IP firm Vossius & Partner.
Patent litigation concerning mobile communications and pharma. Mixed approach with litigators and patent attorneys mainly in pharma and biotech.
Brinkhof is highly respected in the European patent community and has good relationships to numerous European patent firms. It recently handled some cross-border disputes such as that for Xiaomi and Alcon in cooperation with Kirkland & Ellis in the UK and Vossius & Partner in Germany. Above all, the work for Oppo against Nokia shows that the Amsterdam firm is an expected presence on cross-border cases. Here, the firm was retained for the Dutch proceedings, even though Hogan Lovells is representing Oppo in several jurisdictions and would have been the natural choice.
As such, while Brinkhof has always been a welcome partner for many European law firms in the Netherlands, this could change in the future. The firm is now entering into an exclusive alliance for the UPC, joining forces with its German partner law firm Vossius & Partner to establish Vossius & Brinkhof UPC Litigators. While the two firms remain independent, they will manage all UPC work under this new umbrella brand, from consulting to litigation, together with their approximately 30 lawyers and over 50 patent attorneys. In doing so, they are deliberately taking a new path that sets them apart from pan-European mergers such as Hoyng ROKH Monegier.
In France and Italy, they also want to work closely with individual law firms, but without entering into exclusive ties. In the UK, both firms traditionally have a very close relationship with the IP firm Bristows. It remains to be seen how successful Vossius and Brinkhof will be together before the UPC. But their new joint presence will very likely have an impact on relationships with other partner firms which, like Kirkland & Ellis, have their own ambitions for the UPC.
As Vossius & Brinkhof UPC Litigators, the two law firms will be present at the UPC courts in Düsseldorf, Munich and The Hague. They are establishing an office in Paris specifically for UPC proceedings at the Central Division.
Koen Bijvank (“he is an excellent pleader in the courtroom”, “expert with very strong arguments”, both competitors; also qualified as patent attorney; pharma and biotech), Rien Broekstra (“highly versed in law and technology thanks to his technical background”, competitor), Richard Ebbink (“he understands our requirements very well ”, client; “excellent in cases on the merits”, competitor), Rik Lambers, Daan de Lange (“a bright litigator, it is a pleasure to work with him”, “I often see him acting for Sandoz as opposing counsel”, both competitors), Alexander de Leeuw (“he is definitely one you have to watch in the future”, competitor), Jan Pot, Mark Van Gardingen (“always excellently prepared, immerses himself deep in the technology”, competitor; “we are very happy with Brinkhof, and Mark is always our go-to”, client)
16 lawyers, 1 patent attorney (the latter is dual qualified)
Exclusive focus on IP matters with emphasis on disputes for clients from all bussiness sectors, including coordination of Europe-wide disputes. Proceedings at the EPO and Dutch patent office, especially concerning chemistry and life sciences patents, but no patent filing activities. Trade secrets and entitlement actions.
Litigation: Oppo (defendant) against Nokia in infringement and nullity cases over mobile communications, including 5G; Google (claimant) against Sonos over control technology for consumer electronics (public knowledge); Wiko (defendant) against Philips over UMTS and LTE standards (ended 2021); HighPoint (claimant) against KPN and Nokia regarding UMTS standards; Vestel (claimant) against Access Advance in FRAND determination proceedings over video coding standard; Broad Institute in EPO proceedings concerning CRISPR-Cas technology; Boehringer Ingelheim (claimant) against Alfasan over drug telmisartan for treating chronic kidney diseases; Boston Scientific (claimant) against Cook in PI proceedings regarding compression clamps; Synthon (claimant) against Teva over MS drug Copaxone; Longi (defendant) against Hanwha Q-Cells in appeals proceedings over solar technology; frequent litigation for Sandoz against originators over pharma and biosimilars; Belmoca (defendant) against Jacobs Douwe Egberts concerning coffee capsules; Delta Electronics (defendant) against Barco regarding multimedia solutions; Vision Box (defendant) against Idemia over biometric authentication technology for airports; Belparts (defendant) against Belimo in PI proceedings over central heating and cooling system (public knowledge); Zuru/Tinnus (claimant) against Koopman in infringement and nullity suit over filling technology for water balloons; EPO oppositions for Grifols (both opponent and patent holder) regarding chemical patents; Tata Steel (opponent) against ArcelorMittal regarding patent for the production of coated steel strips.