DLA Piper – UK 2021
This well-established UK litigation team traditionally advises notable companies from sectors ranging from life sciences to sports equipment, transport and food. The team defended globally active construction materials manufacturer Knauf in its dispute against Rockwool in a nullity suit over a key insulation patent. Besides patent litigation, the UK practice frequently provides advice out of the courtrooms, for instance to regular client GE Healthcare on licensing. Overall, however, it does not enjoy as strong a market image as similar sized teams at Pinsent Masons or Gowling. This could change with Deborah Bould’s move from Pinsents Masons as she brings expertise outside purely technical patents. For example, her previous work for ZyXEL over DSL technology and FRAND licensing, in front of the UK Court of Appeal in 2019, will be a boost for DLA Piper. Her experience in SEP litigation also offers the team the chance to raise its visibility in mobile communications cases. It could build on DLA Piper’s contacts in the automotive industry and carve out a position for matters surrounding connected cars and the Internet of Things, not least since the German patent team is particularly well positioned here. DLA Piper took the first step by advising a well-known engine manufacturer on the risks arising from patent protection to avoid possible factory shutdowns.
Technical patent litigation. Pharmaceuticals including biotech, especially on the licensing side. Strong US practice.
Backed up by a strong US practice, DLA Piper has established a well-positioned European patent practice. The in-roads made by the German team have raised its profile within the European practice but there is still room for development in Amsterdam and London, where DLA has visible teams as well. The team has smaller offerings in Brussels and Milan, and is not present in Paris. The practice has eschewed integrating patent attorneys in most jurisdictions. In Amsterdam, a European patent attorney specialised in pharma patents recently left the firm.
2 partners, 3 associates, 1 of counsel
Deborah Bould (from Pinsent Masons)
Broad patent practice with a roster of legacy technical brands, including automotive, consumer products and the sports industry, as well as toy makers and breweries. Clear focus on industry clients. In the life sciences sector, DLA focuses on litigation and licensing in the innovative pharmaceutical field, extending to biotechnology. Also licensing and transactional work.
Litigation: Knauf (defendant) against Rockwool on revocation case concerning insulation patents; Alpinestars (defendant) in infringement and revocation case against Dainese regarding motorcycle airbag technology (settled); transactions: GE Healthcare on patent licensing; engine manufacturer on potential patent risks in connection with Internet of Things, royalties, FTO analysis and licensing compliance.