The well-positioned Dutch patent practice of DLA Piper continues to retain a small and steady stream of clients from a variety of sectors. While it has historically proven its clout in electronics or engineering cases, the past few years have heightened the team’s visibility in the biotechnology sector. This shows for example its retention of clients such as Scenic Biotech in a case involving patents for immuno-oncology. The patent practice also continues with its multi-jurisdictional advisory work for Sakata over plant variety infringement; interesting, since expertise in plant variety rights is not frequently demonstrated by the firm’s competitors.
Currently, however, DLA Piper’s main issue is that it remains partnerless. In March 2022, the well-respected and visible Paul Reeskamp stepped back from his position as head of the Dutch patent practice to an of counsel position. While he is still active in client work, has not yet named his successor.
An obvious candidate would be current legal director Alexander Tsoutsanis, who after over ten years at DLA Piper is firmly integrated and well positioned to continue attracting instructions from companies, especially due to his expertise in mechnical engineering. Although he is not yet too visible in the market, his involvement in some life sciences cases alongside Paul Reeskamp might also help sustain the strong reputation created by the latter. This is especially the case following his involvement with Fresenius against Eli Lilly over pemetrexed, which remains an impressive example of cross-border litigation work.
On the other hand, a lateral hire might shake up the firm’s reputation and provide some expertise in, for example, the SEP and telecommunication sector. Among its competitors, is notably absent among the increasing number of cross-border telecommunication cases currently being litigated in the Dutch courts. While it does retain one client which could provide the firm with some future litigation work in this area, a current lack of visibility in this sector and a lack of clout at the partner level could put the firm on the back foot in terms of competing for clients among its other international rivals. The Munich team’s contacts to some well-known California-based tech companies could also help the Dutch team to improve in this area.
Mechanical and technical areas of litigation. Work for electronics and some life sciences companies.
Although boasting a well-regarded German practice in Munich and Cologne, and a growing team in London, DLA Piper’s Amsterdam practice is yet to expand its visibility as part of an integrated European team. Cross-border cooperation in litigation is still rare, with competitors such as Simmons & Simmons or Taylor Wessing much further ahead in this regard. But the European practice of DLA, and in particular the London team, is the ideal port of call for the firm’s regular US clients, with several links made between the firm and potential US clients on the eve of the UPC. The German practice already has excellent connections to some Californian tech companies such as Microsoft and Hewlett Packard, although it has so far been unable to transfer these into tangible instructions at the other European offices.
Paris has been the blank spot in DLA Piper’s continental offering, but with the acquisition of a larger IP team that also has patent expertise, the firm is now preparing to close this gap. DLA Piper has also had smaller but well-established offerings in Brussels and Milan for some time, with the latter practice especially well positioned given the likelihood of the city hosting a UPC Central Division. So, although DLA Piper remains behind in terms of pan-European market visibility, the firm offers a broad range of services for cross-border cases. But to compete with the market leaders, and especially given the current lack of partners in the Amsterdam office, it must develop the cross-border cooperation between its teams significantly.
Paul Reeskamp (“steady, doing a good job of keeping the practice afloat”, competitor)
IP matters with a strong focus on patent litigation. Entitlement actions and SPC cases.
Litigation: Scenic Biotech (defendant) against Vivoryon Therapeutics over immuno-oncology and research exemptions; Easypath Nederland (claimant) over street-paving elements; Glen Dimplex (claimant) over artificial fire; Asetek (claimant) against Cooler Master over computer-cooling technology; Sakata over plant-variety infringement.