Over 2020, the well-established UK litigation team at international firm Osborne Clarke has emerged as a solid patent practice with particular expertise in competition law. Its patent practice was especially boosted when the firm co-counselled, alongside EIP, for Unwired Planet in the globally-significant dispute against Huawei over SEPs and FRAND licensing. It was this case which highlighted the firm’s telecommunications expertise in the UK market under the impressive steer of Arty Rajendra. Its prowess in the area is further confirmed in the firm’s work, alongside EIP, for Unwired Planet’s parent company PanOptis in a mobile communications case against Apple. The firm provides competition advice as part of its patent strategy, but the case is another important step in boosting its well-deserved market presence in patents.
However, Osborne Clarke is also focusing on expanding its expertise in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology field, shown in its recent lateral hires. In 2019 the firm hired Will James, followed in November 2020 by Tim Harris who joined from Bird & Bird. Both partners bring life sciences expertise, for example Harris has previously worked for Allergan. James is visible through his advisory work for top client Amgen.
This work in life sciences and its recent hires have been crucial in raising the team’s visibility in pharma disputes. With four experienced partners, the London office is well-positioned to attract more such clients. In addition, its visibility in FRAND cases is helping consolidate the firm’s European profile. However, despite its recent expansion, the patent team remains relatively small compared to other similar-sized global firms. It also lacks the same depth of connection as between offices of other pan-European firms, for example Hogan Lovells or Freshfields.
Telecommunications and FRAND/SEP cases, especially competition.
The firm’s London patent team is ahead of its European colleagues, both in eminence and team size. Unlike the team in London, neither the German nor the Paris patent team has yet to make a lasting impression on its market. The success of the London team could help to change this in the future. However, the competition in FRAND cases on the interface with competition law is fierce, especially in Germany. An experienced lateral would make it much easier for Osborne Clarke to successfully take on the competition here. Such an investment could also be worthwhile given that the UPC launch is looking more likely. This firm’s presence at two central UPC venues, Paris and Munich, provides a good basis for the UPC.
Arty Rajendra (“I would like to use Arty more often; she’s been very busy with the Unwired Planet case”, client), (“intelligent, very easy to work with; helping the team become more visible“, competitor), Will James
4 partners, 8 associates
Tim Harris (from Bird & Bird)
Strong in mobile communications cases, especially on competition side in FRAND disputes. Biotechnology advice in licensing projects.
Litigation: Unwired Planet (claimant; co-counsel with EIP) against Huawei regarding SEPs and FRAND licenses at the Supreme Court; PanOptis (claimant; with EIP) against Apple regarding mobile phone handover standards including SEP and FRAND; Amgen (claimant) against Sanofi and Regeneron over cholesterol-lowering drug Praluent (public knowledge); PopSockets (claimant) against Quest USA over mechanical patent (settled). Advice: BioIndustry Association regarding biotechnology and COVID-19 antibody taskforce; Heraeus Group regarding licensing for fibre optic cables.