The patent litigation team at this international full-service firm can look back at a successful year at the Dutch patent courts, with a number of clients entrusting it with new cases. Only market leader Brinkhof and the team at De Brauw enjoyed a similarly strong presence in cases before the first and second instances as this team around figurehead Bas Berghuis. But Simmons & Simmons wants to be more than merely one of several challengers to the two market-leading boutiques Brinkhof and Hoyng ROKH Monégier. The firm has therefore reorganised its patent team significantly.
With Berghuis as the driver of client acquisitions, the firm expanded its partner level to include Johan Renes, a patent attorney experienced in biotech patent litigation, and Oscar Lamme, a junior partner and lawyer well versed in pharma and mobile communications suits. The latter quickly filled the gap as number two in the team that was left by Mattie de Koning, following his move in-house to a manufacturer of floor coverings. An additional patent attorney with in-house experience bolstered the team at senior associate level. Simmons & Simmons is currently building a dedicated patent attorney team in London and Amsterdam. This will mainly handle the technical aspects of proceedings but also perform patent prosecution work for certain core clients.
With the strong pan-European practice behind it, the Amsterdam team has already developed a good client practice. The first challenge is now to stabilise the team and grow the partnership in the medium term. The two market leaders are still much more broadly positioned here.
It is the firm’s intention to improve its position for the UPC with its current team and, at the same time, to give the Dutch market leaders a real run for their money at the Dutch patent courts. Here, the Dutch team litigated across a broad technical spectrum ranging from pharma and mobile communications to children’s toys. The highlight was litigation for Samsung Electronics in the Dutch proceedings as part of the global dispute over SEP licences with Ericsson. Before the proceedings could really get going, however, the two companies reached a licensing agreement, but the case showed that Berghuis has good contacts at the Korean mega-corporation. If work can be transferred to the German team, this would be a further milestone in the development of the pan-European patent practice. The teams in Amsterdam, Düsseldorf and Munich already work closely together for such clients as Bayer Healthcare, Samsung Bioepis and Xiaomi.
Patent disputes regarding mobile communications and electronics, as well as pharmaceutical and biosimilar drugs.
Among the large, pan-European patent litigation practices, Simmons & Simmons is perhaps the one that is most often underestimated. After considerable personnel turbulence in the past five years, it has recently demonstrated the potential of its international network in impressive fashion, for example in the cross-border work for Bayer and Xiaomi.
Cases such as these also show that the firm is already well prepared for cross-border disputes all over Europe, especially when it comes to pharma patents. Here, the firm also works for Serenity and Samsung Bioepis in several jurisdictions.
The London-Amsterdam axis is also particularly strong and well known for its work regarding mobile communications. The firm could enjoy further success if it were to incorporate the German team more into the work for Samsung.
Buoyed by its recent success in acquiring work, Simmons & Simmons is poised to become a true European powerhouse for pharma and mobile communications cases. But there is still some way to go before it draws level with the market leaders Bird & Bird and Hogan Lovells. The mostly young partners are however working together in a coordinated way, as is also the case at Allen & Overy and Hogan Lovells, to build on their own market position.
The pan-European team is not only excellently situated for the UPC 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 could, however, use team reinforcements. An additional experienced lateral would also do the Munich team good.
Bas Berghuis van Woortman (“tough opponent, but always a joy to litigate against him”, competitor), Oscar Lamme (“strategically smart”, “he did a really good job in the pharma case I faced him in”, both competitors)
3 partners, 1 counsel, 6 associates (three of whom are qualified patent attorneys)
Mattie de Koning (to Innovations For Flooring), Oscar Lamme (from De Brauw); Johan Renes (patent attorney; from own firm)
General IP practice with a strong focus on patent litigation, including cross-border coordination of disputes, entitlement actions and SEPs. Strategic portfolio advice, FTO analysis, transactions and licence agreements.
Litigation: Samsung Electronics (defendant) against Ericsson over mobile communication patents (settled 2021); Samsung Electronics (defendant) against DTS over mobile payment and security technology; Xiaomi (defendant) against Philips over mobile communication patents; Assia (claimant) against KPN and Nokia over DSL technology (co-counsel with Dentons); Hewlett Packard (claimant) against various infringers over laser printing technology; Mahltig (claimant) against Intel regarding infringement and validity of patents for chipsets and processors; Gilead (claimant) against Dutch patent office regarding refusal to grant an SPC for drug Truvada; Serenity Pharma (defendant) against Ferring in patent and entitlement claims over blood pressure reducer desmopressin; Samsung Bioepis (defendant) against AbbVie concerning biosimilar Humira; Netherlands Cancer Institute (defendant) against Vivoryon over patents for treatments for Alzheimer’s disease and cancer; frequent litigation for Bayer Healthcare; Idemia (claimant) against Vision Box over biometric authentication technology for airports; Koopman (defendant) against Tinnus/Zuru over filling technology for water balloons in infringement and nullity suit. Advice: Samsung regarding patent portfolio assessments; Cardprotector regarding FTO analysis and patent portfolio assessments.