JUVE Patent

Allen & Overy – UK 2020

JUVE Comment

The London litigation team at this global firm is now once again challenging the market leaders, despite the high-profile departure of Nicola Dagg and a team to Kirkland & Ellis at the end of 2018. The remaining six partners have both won and retained repeat work for well-known life sciences clients, such as Eli Lilly, litigating heavily as well as advising on regulatory areas such as supplementary protection certificates (SPCs). Partner Neville Cordell continues to lead on major cases of all genres, such as Regeneron in the pharma field or for an Asian electronics giant. In general Allen & Overy has retained its position as market leader for pharmaceutical disputes, representing Bayer and Eli Lilly across its European offices. For example, earlier this year A&O’s French, German and Dutch litigators upped their visibility through their work in the high-profile Bayer against Ceva case over a veterinary drug. But while pharmaceutical cases traditionally remain high on the firm’s agenda, it is the high-profile global clients in telecommunications that have seen A&O appear in the Supreme Court. The firm’s retention of global client Huawei saw it litigate in 2019 against Conversant. This involvement in one of the world’s leading FRAND cases proves the London office is as capable in telecommunications as it is in life sciences. But despite this success it seems there is little possibility of A&O closing the gap to the market-leading teams in technology cases, such as Bristows, in the near future. Its London team also has the advantage of a pool of expertise in fields such as competition law and trade secrets. The London office also has soft IP capacities alongside its regular patent work. In sum, there is no doubt that London continues to be the driver of the firm’s main patent litigation work.


SEP and FRAND disputes for mobile communication companies. Representation of originator drugs manufacturers in pharmaceutical cases. Strong pan-European network.

European strategy

A well-coordinated, cross-border strategy with A&O’s European patent teams collaborating on high-profile cases. The London office continues to coordinate the bulk of its litigation in Europe, for example acting for Bayer over Baycox Iron across five jurisdictions. In pharma disputes especially, the firm’s European practice is a market leader on the originator side and represents many of these clients across several offices, including Eli Lilly and Borhringer Ingelheim. Especially in the last year, the European Patent Group under the leadership of the London office has made considerable progress with regard to Europe-wide representation in large pharmaceutical and biosimilar cases and, in doing so, has become an important challenger to Hogan Lovells and Bird & Bird. In mobile communication cases it has not yet managed a similar feat because the German office in particular is still too weakly represented in large mobile phone cases. The increasing connectivity in the automobile industry thus harbours potential for the Munich office.

The firm has offices in most of the key European jurisdictions, although with six partners London remains its strongest. With a well-positioned Munich team in pharmaceuticals, an excellent position in the French and UK markets, A&O has made significant progress over the past few years and is beginning to rival Hogan Lovells and Bird & Bird, but there are some gaps. Visibility in Amsterdam could be stronger and a Düsseldorf team is still on the list of A&O’s strategic plans.

Recommended individuals

Neville Cordell, Mark Ridgway,Mark Heaney, Marjan Noor, Marc Döring


6 partners, 9 associates

Partner moves

Nicola Dagg (to Kirkland & Ellis)


In patents, strong focus on litigation, especially pharma, biotech and telecommunications. Also consumer goods and crop science. Arbitration, transactions and cross-border licensing agreements.


Litigation: Bayer (claimant) against Ceva over veterinary drug Baycox Iron for farm animals; Regeneron (claimant) against Kymab regarding transgenic mouse technology; Eli Lilly (claimant) against Genentech over IL17A/F; Eli Lilly (claimant) against Genentech SPC for Lilly Taltz; Eli Lilly (defendant) against Teva for SPC on Emgality product; Imperial Brands/Fontem Ventures relating to e-cigarettes; Gillette (claimant) against Wilkinson Sword/Edgewell for razor patents; Huawei (defendant) against Conversant over mobile communications, including global FRAND rates before UK Supreme Court. Transactions: Exponent Private Equity regarding acquisition of SHL’s global business; HP regarding acquisition of office equipment dealer Apogee; Grünenthal on acquisition of prescription products from AstraZeneca; Exscientia on collaboration with Roche for use of artificial intelligence; Grail in collaboration with UCL; Liberty Global on patent licences with Tivo and Rovi.