In the Dutch patent litigation market the Freshfields team is only a little way behind the market leaders. Together with Düsseldorf and London, the Dutch arm forms the axis of the firm’s European patent litigation business. Although the German team currently boasts the strongest position in terms of litigator numbers, in Amsterdam the partners are particularly known for their expertise in complex technology cases, for example work for long-term client Nikon in the multi-patent dispute against ASML regarding semiconductors. In this dispute, the Dutch team worked closely with the Düsseldorf team, reflecting the firm’s ability to conduct work across its European offices. Indeed, it is these close connections that in part enable the Freshfields team in Amsterdam to attract its high calibre of clients in pharmaceutical and biotech fields. The Dutch practice worked with the firm’s German patent litigators last year on a number of cases for originator drug manufacturers. Here, Freshfields can build on its many solid relationships to high-profile clients, such as Hoffman-La Roche and Novartis. These rely on the firm’s Dutch and German teams for extensive litigation across Europe. In terms of pharma disputes, only the teams of Hogan Lovells and Allen & Overy have developed a similarly consistent presence in European cross-border cases. In mobile communication disputes, however, the firm’s visibility is not quite on a par with other Dutch market leaders Hoyng ROKH Monégier and Brinkhof since it has only a few of these cases in the Netherlands. But the next time Apple, a core client of the European patent team, faces another suit from an NPE, this could give the team’s presence in mobile communications a boost. Up to now, the NPEs have mainly filed suits at German courts.
Innovator pharmaceutical work for legacy clients, including strategic and commercial advice. Complex technology and manufacturing cases.
The Dutch office is a mainstay of the firm’s well-integrated European patent team, with a further strong offering in Düsseldorf and Munich. The London team has undergone a recent reshuffle due to a partner departure and arrival. Although the London office looks small in terms of litigator numbers compared to competitors such Allen & Overy and Hogan Lovells, in Amsterdam the well-staffed office stands tall alongside such rivals – for both size and visibility. The firm’s well-regarded cross-border links are worth noting; Freshfields provides a masterclass on how to ensure all European offices remain part of a well-organised machine. On the other hand, Freshfields foregoes patent experts in Paris, preferring to cooperate with the general dispute resolution team in potential UPC cases. This strategy may be in line with the firm’s litigation focus as a whole, but it limits the patent practice as regards cross-border disputes and the UPC – should it ever emerge.
Rutger Kleemans (“high qualified biotech specialists”, “very strong patent litigator”, competitors)
2 partners, 7 associates
Complex technology disputes, for example regarding semiconductors and high-performance lense manufacturing and pharmaceutical drugs on the innovator side. Mobile communication litigation including standard essential patents and FRAND issues. Transactions and licensing deals.
Litigation: Hoffman-La Roche (defendant) against Pfizer regarding arrow declarations over Avastin; Hoffman-La Roche (claimant) against Celltrion (defendant) regarding patent validity and priority rights over antibody Rituximab; Britsol-Myers Squibb (defendant) against Pfizer regarding cancer medicines; Novartis (claimant) against Teva regarding chemotherapy drugs Affinitor; ASSIA (claimant) against KPN and Nokia regarding mobile communication standard technology; Impro Technologies (appellant) regarding magnetic card readers; Nikon (claimant) against ASML regarding semiconductor technology (co-counsel with Hogan Lovells); Hewlett Packard (claimant) against various imitations of printer cartridges; AB InBev against Heineken relating to beer keg technology (co-counsel with Bird & Bird). Advice: PGGM regarding transactions and portfolio management for renewable energy; Tapla Network regarding transactions and IP licenses for online gaming.