The well-positioned patent practice continues to act for a small but steady stream of clients in the Netherlands, retaining a solo partner in its Amsterdam office to oversee litigation work. Its most stand-out instruction remains for Dutch client KPN as a co-defendant of Nokia against Assia, regarding FRAND and data transmission systems. The case, which reached the Court of Appeal in The Hague, highlights the Dutch team’s ability to attract instructions from more local clients, as well as its focus on international corporations as born from the firm’s multinational setup. For example, in its advisory work the patent team also tends toward Amsterdam-based firms and start-ups such as Frame Therapeutics.
The firm also acted as co-counsel for Samsung, alongside Simmons & Simmons, in the now-settled dispute with Ericsson. However, the IP team remains far behind other full-service international firms such as Bird & Bird and Hogan Lovells in terms of client clout. Firstly, the office must move away from a partner-light approach in order to secure future instructions in the area of telecommunications and FRAND, especially if it hopes to balance this with an increase in work for international pharmaceutical companies.
On the other hand, Allen & Overy continues to act for Bayer against Ceva in the Europe-wide case over veterinary preparation treatments, alongside partners in Munich and Paris. While the Dutch team is much less visible in cross-border disputes than its European counterparts, the work for Bayer affords the Amsterdam office a much-needed boost.
Patent disputes for innovator pharmaceutical clients.
Allen & Overy has made significant progress in coordinating and developing its European practice over the past few years. With offices in most of the key European jurisdictions and excellent positions in the German, French and UK markets, the firm has become a serious rival to Hogan Lovells and Bird & Bird for the crown of European market leader. However, despite its well-integrated European network and European Patent Group, the Dutch practice still falls a little short of the mark in terms of reciprocating the quantity of cases. Although some cooperation between the German team and Amsterdam is clear, for example in the ongoing case for Bayer against Ceva, the Dutch outfit has a way to go before being regarded as a central European hub for patent litigation at Allen & Overy. On the other hand, a recent boost to the firm’s IP technology practice in New York could also open the door to more SEP and telecommunication cases. The cross-border nature of the practice is a positive, given the imminent arrival of the UPC. Especially if Amsterdam or The Hague harbours London’s forgone pharmaceutical parts of the Central Division, the Paris, Munich and Amsterdam offices of Allen & Overy will be well-positioned to attract new clients and challenge the leading boutiques for European dominance.
1 partner, 3 associates
Cross-border litigation in pharmaceutical disputes. Advice and transactions.
Bayer (claimant) against Ceva concerning veterinary medicine; pharmaceutical company (claimant) against generic drug manufacturer regarding patent revocation and infringement; pharma innovator against another pharma innovator; KPN (defendant, with Nokia) against Assia over SEP infringement and FRAND licensing; Samsung (defendant; co-counsel with Simmons & Simmons) against Ericsson over mobile communication including SEPs (settled in 2021). Advice: J&J over vaccine licensing; Frame Therapeutics over establishing patent portfolio.