Linklaters – UK 2021
The well-positioned London patent litigation practice of this international law firm has maintained its good reputation in pharmaceutical disputes for high-profile clients. “First-class outfit for patent litigation”, says a competitor. Some of its partners are also highly-regarded in the market, with the UK judiciary recently appointing lead partner Ian Karet as a deputy judge. Sanofi remains a stand-out client for the European patent team, with the London office continuing to instruct the originator company in two disputes over important cholesterol and antibody drugs. The team is also present for ViiV and Shionogi at the UK courts, where it brought claims against pharmaceutical giant Gilead over HIV inhibitor drugs. VHsquared is also bolstering the team’s visibility, with upcoming proceedings against Ablynx scheduled at the UK Court of Appeal.
As such, despite the team’s small size, it continues to perform well in such high-stake pharmaceutical disputes. However, the London office’s work in technology disputes remains limited. It retains major client Seoul Semiconductor across Europe, although in an advisory capacity, given there is no live litigation in the UK. However, the German team is very active for the Korean client in LED disputes. In contrast to this German team, London remains too weakly positioned for disputes over electronical and mobile communication patents. If it wants to develop these better together with the German team, an experienced lateral would be necessary. Linklaters could alternatively take a more difficult route, building up a pure SEP and FRAND expert from its own ranks in the medium term.
Pharma litigation, transactional work on IP.
In the healthcare sector the Linklaters teams in London, Frankfurt and Paris consistently work together in high-profile cases for originators. But the firm has higher ambitions for cross-border disputes. For this it lacks more visible teams in Amsterdam and Düsseldorf. However, more than the other offices, it is the German team which has made headway among its drive for clients in the mobile communications and electronics space. The Paris and London teams will have to catch up if Linklaters wants to be as eminent in European cross-border mobile communication disputes as it is in pharma cases. But the firm has some way to go to close the gap on market leaders like Hogan Lovells and Allen & Overy, which litigate very consistently in such disputes in all main European markets.
3 partners, 10 associates (IP in total)
Soft IP, patents and transactions, historically with a strong focus on life sciences.
Litigation: ViiV/GSK (claimant) and Shionogi against Gilead over HIV inhibitor drug; VHsquared (defendant) and Unilever against Ablynx over immunoglobins from antibodies; Sanofi (defendant) and Regeneron against Amgen over cholesterol-lowering drug; Sanofi and Regeneron (claimants) against Amgen over exczma treatment; Shire Pharmaceuticals/Takeda (defendant) against CSL Behring over C1-esterase inhibitor for blood disease.