JUVE Patent

Rankings Germany 2021

Simmons & Simmons – Germany 2021

JUVE Comment

In just one year, the well-positioned German litigation team of this international full-service firm has put the staff turbulence of recent years behind it. Following the summer 2020 arrival of Thomas Gniadek, the German team is now leveraging the potential of the firm’s network of mobile communications companies, especially from China, more effectively. Xiaomi and Oppo/OnePlus hired the team for several SEP and FRAND actions. These also include anti-suit injunctions. The teams in London and Amsterdam had already handled cases of this calibre before. The antitrust expertise of the Düsseldorf lawyers also contributed to the firm landing work in the German SEP suits.

Despite these achievements, lawsuits involving pharma and biosimilar patents remain the German practice’s hallmark. In these proceedings, Peter Meyer and his Düsseldorf team traditionally work closely with the European network, which has an excellent name for pharma suits. Lawyers from several European offices are representing Bayer and Samsung Bioepis together in cross-border cases. The German team was now hired for the first time by two European pharma manufacturers who had long worked with the teams in London and Amsterdam.

The Düsseldorf and Munich teams are now of an almost equal size, but they have a clear division of roles: Düsseldorf specialises in the life sciences industry, whereas the remaining technological fields predominate in Munich. Further growth – also with an additional lateral as partner – seems unavoidable if the German patent team wants to draw further clients of Xiaomi and Bayer’s calibre from the network.

Strengths

Litigation related to pharmaceuticals. Strong European litigation team.

European strategy

Of all the large, pan-European patent litigation practices, it is perhaps that of Simmons & Simmons that is most often underestimated. Following significant staff turbulence over the past five years, it is now demonstrating the potential of its international network in impressive fashion.

The firm is already well prepared for cross-border disputes all over Europe, especially when it comes to pharma patents. The London–Amsterdam axis is also particularly strong and well-known for its work regarding mobile communications. And with the recent work for Xiaomi and Oppo/OnePlus in several SEP battles, the newly formed German team has quickly been able to harness this network potential and at the same time count on the office in Shanghai.

With such success behind it, Simmons & Simmons is shaping up to be a real European powerhouse for both pharma and mobile communications cases. But there is still some way to go until it draws level with the market leaders Bird & Bird and Hogan Lovells. The (mostly young) partners, however, are working together in a very coordinated manner to build on their market positions, as otherwise only seen at Allen & Overy and Hogan Lovells.

The pan-European team is not only well positioned with teams in London, Amsterdam, Düsseldorf and Munich, but has also strengthened its position in Paris and Milan in the past. The teams at these two offices, however, could be bolstered further. Another experienced lateral would also do the Munich practice good.

With the recent investments in laterals, Simmons & Simmons has made it clear that it wants to play a substantial role in the UPC. With offices at all key UPC locations, the firm does indeed have a good starting setup, should the court launch one day. The fact that the firm is growing its patent attorney team in London and Amsterdam also points in the right direction.

Recommended individuals

Peter Meyer (“exemplary technical understanding, suggests good strategies”, competitor), Thomas Gniadek (“pragmatic and solution-oriented advice”, competitor)

Team

3 partners, 1 counsel, 5 associates

Specialties

Clear focus on advice and litigation. Focus on the pharmaceuticals and mobile communications sector. The latter on the interface of patent and antitrust. Also electronics and medical devices.

Clients

Litigation: frequent litigation for Bayer, Imperial Tobacco and Samsung Bioepis; Xiaomi (defendant) against Sisvel and Philips over SEP and FRAND; Oppo/OnePlus (defendant) against IP Bridge over SEP and FRAND; Firecomms (defendant) against Broadcom over opto-electronics patent; Thales/Gemalto (claimant) against competitor over SIM card technology; HTC (defendant) against IPCom on antitrust aspects of mobile communication suits; 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 over SEPs; Tarkett on licences and FTO analyses; Fontem Ventures on FTO analyses and in connection with e-cigarettes.

Location

Düsseldorf, Munich