This IP boutique is one of the market leaders for patent disputes in the Netherlands. With partners such as Richard Ebbink and Mark Van Gardingen it has some of the most outstanding litigators on the lawyer side in its ranks. In addition, in Koen Bijvank the firm boasts one of the best-known litigators on the patent attorney side when it comes to biotech disputes and pharma litigation. Bringing the litigation-experienced patent attorney on board three years ago was a step toward transforming the pure law firm into a mixed practice – an experiment that has more than paid off. Koen Bijvank has an excellent reputation for both EPO cases and proceedings before the Dutch patent courts. He now works in cooperation with the lawyers in numerous cases. He was part of the team, for instance, working for Heineken in the global battle with AB InBev over ‘bottle-in-bottle’ technology as lead partner. He also came up trumps for the Broad Institute in the EPO battle over the new CRISPR/Cas9 technology in his signature field of biotech. Bijvank specialises exclusively in disputes – Brinkhof does not offer patent filing. Though Hoyng ROKH Monégier demonstrated how to make the leap to a mixed practice years ago, Brinkhof now showed that the concept can also be transferred to pure litigation work. Brinkhof safeguarded the long-term future of the patent team with a strong squad of young litigators around Daan de Lange, who is highly respected among competitors. Its broad setup and size allow the team to conduct a multitude of proceedings within a broad technical spectrum at once, beyond its specialties in life science and mobile communication disputes. For example, Brinkhof partners were recently active for Belmoca regarding coffee capsules and Carl Zeiss as co-defendant of ASML regarding semiconductors. The firm also advised Tata Steel in a cross-border dispute over coated steel. But Brinkhof mainly owes its outstanding position in the Dutch patent market to its frequent visibility in disputes over mobile communication and pharmaceutical patents, e.g. for Wiko against Philips and for Xiaomi and Oppo against Sisvel in two central telecommunication battles. The firm frequently litigates for Sandoz involving various drugs. With clients such as these, the firm is positioned solidly on the side of implementors in the digital communication field and generic drugs manufacturers, and boasts a wealth of experience defending against patent claims. Although Brinkhof has a reputation as a firm for generics manufacturers, innovators in the pharmaceutical field by no means play a minor role. But there is room for the firm to build its visibility here compared to the other market leader Hoyng ROKH Monégier and some international firms like Hogan Lovells, who have carved out clear positions on the side of originator manufacturers.
The Amsterdam patent practice of this truly international IP boutique is one of the market leaders in the Netherlands. Its patent litigators have an outstanding reputation across Europe. Even though veteran Willem Hoyng is withdrawing more and more from active client work, two outstanding litigators have long since followed in his footsteps in Bart van den Broek and Simon Dack. And the firm does not seem to be running out of talent: behind the two lead partners there is a well-established squad of younger litigators, among themTheo Blomme and Peter van Schijndel. This presence in the Dutch market is merely the basis for successful international expansion, with market-leading teams in Amsterdam, Düsseldorf, Munich and Paris. With the German and Dutch litigators having represented ASML and Carl Zeiss in a pan-European suit against Nikon, where the Amsterdam team played a central coordinating role, Hoyng ROKH Monégier is getting set to provide all-round support in other cross-border disputes. The firm most recently handled such cases for Ceva, Philips and a whole host of pharma companies. Across Europe, Hoyng ROKH Monégier has positioned itself clearly on the side of the manufacturing industry and is thus in direct competition with the internationally integrated patent teams of Allen & Overy and Hogan Lovells. This has been well received by clients, with a growing number hiring the firm on a pan-European basis. That is one reason why the firm is thus gaining the competitive edge in the Dutch market. The litigation for ASML against Nikon two years ago is a prime example of this. The dispute was settled in early 2019. But even after this the Amsterdam team enjoyed a broad presence in the highest-profile proceedings before the Dutch patent courts. As in the work for ASML, Philips or Intel, the lawyers are frequently supported by the firm’s patent attorneys. The prosecution team as a whole has a good name in the Netherlands for filing pharma, biotech, chemistry, electronics and mechanical engineering patents. But the individual patent attorneys are rarely recommended for their patent filing work and are hardly visible in the market for EPO oppositions and infringement litigation – the litigaton practice possibly casts too long a shadow here. Thanks to its renowned patent attorney team and especially its impressive presence in cross-border cases, the firm is gradually setting itself apart from the rest of the market.
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.Further Analysis
With a strong presence in pharmaceutical and mobile communication cases, Hogan Lovells’ Amsterdam patent team still operates at the top of the Dutch litigation market, but just behind the two market leaders. Although smaller in partner size than some of its closest competitors, such as Brinkhof and Hoyng ROKH Monégier, what the practice lacks in size it makes up for in clout. For example, in 2019 the team around partners Klaas Bisschop and Bert Oosting was involved for Nikon in one of the country’s – and indeed Europe's – largest patent disputes against ASML over semiconductors, co-counseling Nikon with Freshfields. It also retains regular work for client MSD in Amsterdam and across its other European offices, as well as in the US and Japan, highlighting the team’s global outlook. The firm’s entire European litigation practice has a strong footprint in dealing with cross-border disputes for manufacturers of originator drugs and biosimilars. The Amsterdam team plays an important role steering some of Europe’s most prominent disputes together with the Düsseldorf and London offices. Hogan Lovells has long advised in the innovator pharmaceuticals field, highlighted through its pan-European work for Eli Lilly against generic drug manufacturers, such as Sandoz and Teva, including litigation in the Netherlands. But the team is not resting on its laurels when it comes to relying on long-term clients. In 2019 the firm acquired new biotech client Vivoryon as well as Kindermann in proceedings relating to clickshare presentation systems. The practice continues to show its flexibility in handling a variety of patent cases. For BKK and HTC, for example, it is involved in some of the most prominent disputes concerning mobile communication patents before the Dutch courts, including SEPs and FRAND issues. Hogan Lovells also advises HTC from London and Düsseldorf. The European patent team’s ability to generate a multitude of instructions through its strong cross-border links and international reach gives the Dutch arm an edge over international competitors, such as Allen & Overy and Freshfields.Further Analysis
The Dutch patent team, based mainly in The Hague, is a persistent challenger to the market-leading firms in the Netherlands. It is part of a fully-integrated litigation team in one of the strongest patent firms in Europe. Bird & Bird’s work for Nokia is well-known across Europe, and the Dutch office is no exception. Flexing its expertise in standard essential technology litigation, the team has recently been seen representing Nokia in proceedings relating to DSL technology. Its connection with the telecommunication giant is ongoing, and the firm has also worked for Qualcomm in the high-profile European dispute against Apple regarding chipsets, which settled in 2019. The Qualcomm case was a real success for the team, in their first time advising a US chipset manufacturer. The Bird & Bird team was also involved in another major tech dispute before the Dutch patent court, primarily to provide second opinions to one of the parties. However, this case does show that, compared with other international firms, Bird & Bird is not always first choice when it comes to litigation. On the other hand, the team has an excellent reputation for pharma and biotech patents. It continues to litigate for several clients on the generics pharmaceutical side, for example Ablynx against Unilever. This case demonstrates the effective cross-border strategy which underpins the Bird & Bird European practice, encompassing its London and Brussels offices too. It is also active for Bicycle Therapeutics in both patent litigation and trade secrets, a case which pulls together the expertise of the firm’s European offices. Furthermore, despite numerous legacy clients, the Dutch outfit has displayed flexbility with new types of cases, including biotechnology patents. This is best demonstrated in its work for The Broad Institute in the high-profile and wide-ranging CRISPR-Cas proceedings at the EPO. While Bird & Bird is part of a broader team with other European IP firms, it is undeniably at the forefront of one of the most important future technologies. As a European practice, it also specialises in coordinating cross-border disputes. In the Netherlands, this shines through in the work of the Dutch team for Nestle and its subsidary Nespresso. Partner Armand Killan has coordinated the advice and litigation in the Nestle/Nespresso case for eight years. This setup allows Bird & Bird’s Dutch team to strive for the heights of its German and British counterparts while getting involved in Europe's most complex patent cases.Further Analysis
Among the many patent teams at Dutch full-service firms, the De Brauw team operates with an unusual setup. In other European markets the patent teams of national full-service firms do not necessarily compete with the market leaders – especially if their firms specialise in transactions. The De Brauw team, however, is hot on the heels of the Dutch market leaders with a highly visible practice. This is not only thanks to the excellent reputation of Gertjan Kuipers, but also the team’s visibility in numerous top-level proceedings for Sisvel, KPN, Välinge and Jacobs Douwe Egberts. “The whole team is very good”, one client praised. The firm’s market position is also the result of the clever strategic positioning of a team with Gertjan Kuipers at the helm and Oscar Lamme as an up-and-coming litigator. The patent team is integrated into the firm’s larger litigation group and can therefore draw from a larger pool of associates than comparable firms like NautaDuthil or BarentsKrans. One disadvantage of this is that the associates are not as strongly focused on patents as those at competitors and are not known in the market as patent specialists. Nevertheless, De Brauw is developing a strong track record with just one lead partner. But compared to the market leaders, that level of firepower in the partnership remains too small. Gertjan Kuipers and counsel Oscar Lamme are currently particularly visible in mobile communication disputes for Sisvel, but are also active in a whole host of pharma and medical product cases, e.g. for Eli Lilly. Work for originator manufacturers predominates in this sector, while only a few generic drugs manufacturers are advised. NPE Sisvel is also an exception in the practice, as the two litigators mostly work for industrial companies. But they are active within a broad technical spectrum, as shown by work for coffee maker Jacobs Douew Egberts and flooring manufacturer Välinge.Further Analysis
With its traditional setup, the patent litigation team at this international full-service firm is strongly positioned in the Dutch market. Simmons & Simmons is very visible in pharma disputes on the side of originator manufacturers and, in this sector, draws a large number of top-level instructions from the network of the well-oiled European patent team. The team advised major sector players such as Gilead, Bayer and Samsung Bioepis in partnership with the London and Düsseldorf teams. In proceedings involving electronic mobile communication patents,Bas Berghuis van Woortman has established a stand-alone practice with a very solid relationship with Samsung in recent years. The team is also active in two high-profile cases in mobile communication technology for Xiaomi and Assia. Thanks to Bas Berghuis’ outstanding reputation, the Amsterdam team is even better positioned in this sector than the teams in London and Düsseldorf. It works in cooperation with the patent attorneys in London above all for electronic and mobile communication patents. Behind Berghuis, Mattie de Koning has been maturing into one of the best-known young litigators in the Dutch patent scene for some years. This gives the team the freedom to conduct litigation within a broad spectrum of sectors beyond the two specialties, including floorings, medical products and printer and steel technology.Further Analysis
The patent litigation team is the IP firm’s mainstay and it is currently highly visible in infringement proceedings before the Dutch patent courts. Vondst boasts a good reputation for representing generic drugs manufacturers in pharmaceutical disputes. In Teva and Sandoz the team boasts important and long-standing clients in this sector. Overall Vondst has a strong focus on disputes for clients from the chemistry and life sciences sectors and combines IP matters with regulatory work. But by adding the young, already highly visible Arvid van Oorschot to the equity partnership, the patent team expanded significantly at the beginning of 2020. It is now more capable of handling a higher number of large cases than before. Advisory work on licence agreements and strategic advice are also playing a growing role. The fact that all three partners are visible in the market also creates a good basis for broadening the technical scope of litigation activity further. It is not widely known in the market, for instance, that Vondst also handles cases involving mechanics and mobile communication patents. But with increasing product connectivity, the demand for alternatives to the established firms for cases concerning mobile communication patents will rise in the Netherlands, too. Vondst is already advising its first clients here, but this is not yet enough to compete with market-leading boutiques like Brinkhof or Hoyng ROKH Monégier for more prestigious work in this field.Further Analysis
The patent litigation team of this national full-service firm is well positioned in the Dutch patent market and well known for pharmaceutical disputes. When it comes to litigation, Jaap Bremer and Marleen van den Horst mainly represent generic drugs companies such as Stada, Teva and Insud, to which the team has long-standing ties. But both partners do advisory work for originator manufacturers as well. Long-standing relationships with clients such as Interdigital or Rollepall shape work outside the life sciences sector. The team frequently benefits from a sturdy network of international firms, which frequently call on it for the Dutch parts of European disputes. The team is developing at a very steady pace in terms of size. But, compared to market leaders such as Hoyng ROKH Monégier and patent teams at other Dutch national firms like De Brauw, it remains small. Patent teams in national full-service firms are traditionally somewhat limited in their growth and the development of additional partners. A certain degree of growth is necessary, however, if the firm is to capitalise on the rise in mobile communication suits before the Dutch courts. These require a certain team size if several complex cases are to be handled at the same time. The BarentsKrans team is seen less in mobile communication cases than many other Dutch firms.Further Analysis
The well-positioned patent litigation team of this national full-service firm is well known in the Netherlands for pharmaceutical disputes, but also works in the technical field. Currently, however, it is far more visible in mobile communication cases thanks to litigation for Wiko. Compared to the market leaders the team remains small and stable with front woman Anne Verschuur, one of the few female litigators in the Dutch market. It remains to be seen whether or not the team in a national full-service firm offers potential for additional partners in order to handle more complex cases at once. Traditionally, however, patent teams in this type of firm are more limited in their growth and the development of additional partners than in boutique firms. Apart from the two currently visible specialties, the team also handles patent disputes within a wide technical spectrum and advises a number of the firm’s notable industrial clients on licences and deals. This offers younger lawyers further potential for a partnership away from litigation.Further Analysis
The Dutch patent practice at Taylor Wessing is well-positioned in high-profile cases in the Netherlands regarding telecommunications and pharmaceuticals. The teams in Eindhoven and Amsterdam were visible in the market thanks to the firm’s litigation for long-term clients, such as telecommunications firm Asus and pharmaceutical giants Pfizer and Fresenius. In this respect, despite its relatively small size, the Taylor Wessing team competes in some cross-border cases with the market leaders, but in general there is still a notable gap to that group. In the Netherlands, the main focus differs from, for example, its London office, which still leads with its pharmaceutical expertise. In the Netherlands, the practice takes a broader approach with its involvement in SEP and FRAND litigation. The team will do well to diversify its portfolio and demonstrate the ability of its younger associates in emerging areas of technology.Further Analysis
The well-positioned patent practice of Allen & Overy takes a partner-light approach in the Dutch litigation market, which is typical for many firms that focus on transactions. As part of one of Europe’s leading litigation practices, the Amsterdam team handles some important cross-border disputes coordinated between A&O’s various European offices. A particular highlight for the Dutch team is retaining its work with Bayer, which the team has represented against Ceva in a multi-jurisdictional dispute over animal medicine. This case involved several European offices. The Amsterdam office has recently also been present in a prominent FRAND case involving Dutch telecommunications conglomerate KPN, including at the Court of Appeal level. The instruction shows the potential not only of the Amsterdam office’s network, but also of the European patent team. While Allen & Overy exploits this cross-border connection excellently in the pharma sector, in the mobile communication sector there is still room for improvement compared to Dutch market leaders such as Brinkhof and Hoyng ROKH Monégier. More FRAND cases could be an opportunity for the firm’s up-and-coming lawyers to boost their visibility in the market, given that the individual talent at the firm is currently not as visible in the market as the firm’s brand.Further Analysis
Dentons’ small Dutch patent team established itself in the market faster than many competitors expected. The firm only launched one year ago, after bringing on board former De Brauw senior associateTjibbe Douma in Amsterdam as a partner. Although he is still a young litigator, he has already become visible in the market for his work in patent litigation and trade secret issues. With a mix of clients brought from his previous firm – e.g. litigation for Ferring in a long-running pharma case – and new clients like Zuru concerning children’s toys, he has raised his market visibility further. With this development, Dentons made important strides in building its European patent team – an expansion that is occurring somewhat under the radar of other international practices, but still remains promising.Tjibbe Douma litigates within a broad technical spectrum, but has yet to develop a profile of his own for specific technologies. This would be a consistent next step to raise the visibility of the European practiceFurther Analysis
This small litigation team, which is well positioned in the Dutch market, is most visible in pharma cases. Its showpiece instruction is the litigation for Fresenius Kabi regarding pemetrexed. The firm is most active on the side of defendants even beyond this case. Besides cases in the life sciences industry, DLA also represents companies from other technological sectors, including luxury foods and shipping. The team is not yet visible, however, in the major mobile communication disputes in the Netherlands, though it has been able to establish initial ties with Apple, a regular client of the US practice. Dentons was instructed to secure documents in the Netherlands for US proceedings against Uniloc for the iPhone manufacturer. The NPE is exploiting former Philips patents. DLA suffered a setback, however, in its attempt to position its mixed approach in the Netherlands. Patent attorney and biotech specialist Johan Renes left the firm after three years and now works in-house. He partnered with Paul Reeskamp in a series of biotech proceedings. DLA therefore no longer offers prosecution work in the Netherlands.Further Analysis
The selection of law firms in the above table reflects the research of the editorial staff at JUVE and is based on interviews with clients, lawyers and academics. It remains a subjective view and implies no disparagement of any firm not mentioned here but which is nevertheless active in this field. The firms are alphabetically listed within the groups.
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