JUVE Patent

Simmons & Simmons – Germany 2020

Rankings:

JUVE Comment

Litigation involving pharma and biosimilar patents is the calling card of this German practice. The reason for this is a well-oiled European network with an outstanding reputation for pharma suits. Partnering with teams from other European offices, the German practice frequently litigates for Bayer and Samsung Bioepis in cross-border cases. On the other hand, work for Boehringer Ingelheim, a regular client of partner Ina vom Feld, came to an end, as she moved to Herbert Smith Freehills. The team remains sturdy in this segment, however, thanks to Peter Meyer. In sum, it was a year of upheaval overall for Simmons & Simmons: in Munich it welcomed Thomas Gniadek and his clients Formlabs, WiLan and Match Group. His wealth of experience lies outside of the life sciences sector in SEP and mobile communications suits. Rebuilding the partnership in the key Munich office worked faster than many expected after the firm lost another partner experienced in mobile communications in 2018. Thomas Gniadek’s arrival also underscores the firm’s strong ambitions regarding cross-border cases outside of the life sciences sector. S&S made this investment at a time when the future of the UPC is uncertain because Munich, as an important European patent city, was a blank space in the firm’s network. It must now raise the German team’s visibility in mobile communications work. Following the moves, Düsseldorf and Munich are now of a similar size and responsibilities are clearly divided. Düsseldorf focuses on the life sciences sector, while in Munich other technological fields will predominate in the future.

Strengths

Litigation related to pharmaceuticals. Strong European litigation team.

European strategy

The firm is already prepared for cross-border disputes all over Europe, especially when it comes to pharma patents. The LondonAmsterdam axis is particularly strong. It is well known for its work regarding mobile communications. On the other hand both offices work closely together with the Düsseldorf team in pharmaceutical disputes. Simmons & Simmons has also strengthened its position in Paris and Milan in recent years. But there are some gaps in the continental practice. The loss of partners in Munich (2018) and Düsseldorf (2020) were a setback for Simmons & Simmons’ continent-wide growth strategy. It intends to focus on life sciences as well as on electronics and financial services. But with the latest hire in Munich, the German practice has realigned itself to raise its visibility in mobile communications suits and other tech areas. This may also help the European practice to move away from its somewhat one-sided life sciences image.

Recommended individuals

Peter Meyer (“we have been happy to hire him regularly for many years”, client), Thomas Gniadek (“very good, so we will keep working with him in his new firm”, client)

Team

3 partners, 2 counsel, 4 associates

Partner moves

Ina vom Feld (to Herbert Smith Freehills), Thomas Gniadek (from Noerr)

Specialties

Clear focus on advice and litigation. Focus on the pharmaceuticals, electronics, medical products and telecoms sectors.

Clients

Litigation: frequent litigation for Bayer, Imperial Tobacco and Samsung Bioepis; Firecomms (defendant) against Broadcom over opto-electronics patent; Gemalto (claimant) against competitor over SIM card technology; HTC (defendant) against IPCom on antitrust aspects of mobile communication suits; Mack Rides (defendant) against Beutler over virtual reality glasses; Reemtsma (defendant) against BAT over cigarette packaging; Helios (defendant) against Lunos over ventilation technology for external facades; Formlabs (defendant) against DWS over 3D printer; Tinder (Match Group, defendant) against Hoccer over communications patent; Wilan (claimant) against Sony over LTE patents. Advice: Thales/Gemalto regarding litigation over SEPs; Tarkett on licences and FTO analyses; Fontem Ventures on FTO analyses and in connection with e-cigarettes.

Location:

Düsseldorf