As a part of one of the leading litigation/arbitration transatlantic practices, the patent team of the US firm in London has been built up to serve the firm’s key clients, many of which are from the US. The outstanding Justin Watts and his team advised Apple, one of the key clients of the global patent team, on a dispute with NPE Conversant. The clear focus is on life sciences and the technology industries. The reputation of the firm as a whole is strong but its profile in the London market is limited because of the particular client focus. It is also more likely to be involved in the large high-end cases rather than a constant stream of mid-market work and as such, the practice is to some extent liable to suffer some volatility. In the person of Trevor Cook, WilmerHale has one of the most venerable figures in the UK patent market and he remains a draw for the London team (and is regularly recommended), even if his primary residence is in the New York office. Indeed, given that the transatlantic axis is the raison-d’être of the patent practice, his presence there is significant.
Big-ticket litigation for US clients, especially in the telecommunications sector.
The London practice is far more an integral part of the firm’s transatlantic practice than a bridgehead into Europe, and the lack of any real patent practice on the continent means that WilmerHale could be isolated after Brexit and the introduction of the UPC. However, competitors will find it difficult to break into the firm’s key US client relations regarding the UK. For example, WilmerHale’s most important client, Apple, has long been managed in peaceful coexistence with WilmerHale advising the iPhone giant in the UK and Hogan Lovells and Freshfields representing it on the continent.
Justin Watts (“really good trial lawyer, always a tough opponent for us”, client; “good in all technical fields”, competitor), Matthew Shade
4 partners, 5 associates
Almost exclusively litigation work in the London office. Strategic advice regarding litigation in Europe. Strong client relationship to major US corporations in technology and life sciences.
Litigation: Apple (defendant) against Conversant in infringement and revocation cases over mobile communication SEP including FRAND and jurisdiction (public knowledge).