The patent litigation team at this international full-service firm can look back at another successful year at the Dutch patent courts. The team around figurehead Bas Berghuis was once again highly visible at the patent court in The Hague for Bayer Healthcare and Serenity Pharma, ensuring the team remains one of the most significant challengers to the two market leaders Brinkhof and Hoyng ROKH Monegier.
Nevertheless, Simmons & Simmons did not manage to close the gap too much as the team was busy with the integration of three new laterals.
In 2021 the firm bolstered its patent team significantly with the addition of partners Johan Renes, a patent attorney experienced in biotech patent litigation, and Oscar Lamme, a lawyer well versed in pharma and mobile communications suits. Furthermore, a patent attorney with in-house experience strengthened the team’s senior associate ranks.
After the three arrivals quickly established themselves in the market, Simmons & Simmons set about growing its patent team further with a lawyer and a patent attorney. The firm has made the speedy expansion of the patent attorney practice a priority not only in Amsterdam, but also in London and Munich. In Munich, the firm hired a strong patent attorney team with a life sciences background, and the Amsterdam team will work closely with the Munich patent attorneys on pharma cases.
But after this enormous increase in headcount, the team had to focus on integration. Only the next few months will show whether Simmons & Simmons can gain more proximity to the Dutch market through new clients. For the time being, ongoing cases dominate the work.
The Dutch team has a strong presence in proceedings concerning electronics and mobile communication patents. It is currently representing Assia in a dispute with Nokia and KPN and is also conducting litigation for its most important client Samsung against DTS. When Samsung quickly settled a global dispute with Ericsson in 2021, this left a gap in the Dutch team. But it is only a matter of time until the company ends up before the Dutch patent courts again with the Simmons & Simmons team at its side.
It is no secret that the Dutch team wants to be more than merely one of several challengers to the two market-leading boutiques Brinkhof and Hoyng ROKH Monegier. This is true for national proceedings as well as future UPC cases. If more work, for example for Samsung, can be transferred to the German team, this would be a further milestone in the development of the pan-European patent practice. But the Dutch team, together with the teams in Munich and London, must also show that their work for Xiaomi last year was not just a flash in the pan. This will be somewhat difficult, given the Chinese mobile phone company also works with other firms in all three countries.
Patent disputes regarding mobile communications and electronics, as well as pharmaceuticals and biosimilar drugs. Mixed approach.
Of all the large, pan-European patent litigation practices, it is perhaps Simmons & Simmons that is most often underestimated. But the firm’s recent work for Xiaomi, Bayer and Samsung Bioepis showed it is a force to be reckoned with in pan-European litigation – not only in pharma but also mobile communications.
The expansion of the teams in Amsterdam and London in 2021 was followed by a spectacular realignment of the German practice through the acquisition of a large patent attorney team specialising in life sciences patents. In the future, the Munich patent attorneys will work closely with those in Amsterdam and London. In the former two locations, the focus is on life sciences patents, whereas in London there is a focus on electronics and mobile communications patents.
With the recent investments in laterals, Simmons & Simmons has made it clear that it wants to play a substantial role in the UPC. With offices at all key UPC locations, the firm does indeed have a good starting set-up. The fact that the firm is growing its patent attorney team in Amsterdam, London and now also in Munich points in the right direction. Moreover, Simmons & Simmons boasts one of the most influential forefathers of the UPC in its ranks, namely London-based of counsel Kevin Mooney.
With such success behind it, Simmons & Simmons is shaping up to be a real European powerhouse for both pharma and mobile communications cases. Market leaders like Hogan Lovells and Bird & Bird will need to keep a close eye on Simmons & Simmons at the UPC if they do not want to lose market share.
Bas Berghuis van Woortman (“his team is a mainstay in the pharma field with a huge amount of experience”, client; “Bas is calm, experienced and thorough”, competitor), Oscar Lamme (“excellent lawyer”, “his move paid off for Simmons & Simmons”, both competitors)
10 lawyers (four of whom are qualified patent attorneys)
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 DTS over mobile payment and security technology; Xiaomi (defendant) against Philips over mobile communication patents (settled 2022); Assia (claimant) against KPN and Nokia over DSL technology; Hewlett Packard (claimant) against various infringers over laser printing technology; 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-lowering drug 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; MED-EL (defendant) against Advanced Bionics over cochlear implant patent (public knowledge); Idemia (claimant) against Vision Box over biometric authentication technology for airports; Koopman (defendant) against Tinnus/Zuru in infringement and nullity suit over filling technology for water balloons; EPO oppositions for Samsung Bioepis. Prosecution: filing and oppositions for uniQure. Advice: Samsung regarding patent portfolio assessments; Cardprotector regarding FTO analysis and patent portfolio assessments.