The strongly-positioned London patent team has an integrated approach with a patent attorney team, this remains highly unusual at leading London solicitors’ practices, as well as a patent-driven deal team with a constant flow of mid-size transactions.
Simmon’s patent litigation team has always had a broad spread of industries, and the life science team saw repeated success, e.g. by acquiring Insulet and UBC as new clients. The firm’s strong footing in the financial services sector has continued to provide a steady flow of fintech work, although the role of the London financial services market post-Brexit has put a slight dampener on the development of this field.
In contrast to its competitors, there was a gap in the practice as regards to telecoms work, but the up and coming major litigation for a major Asian mobile device manufacturer seems to have filled that. The London team is thus experiencing a come-back in this sector. But that cannot hide the fact that there is still a long way to go to catch up with the market leaders Bristows and Powell Gilbert.
What was particularly noticeable last year was the ability of Simmons to win clients in pitches involving its pan-European network. And it is here that the firm has probably made the most important strides over the past year. The investment in a number of jurisdictions is slowly but surely turning the firm into a competitor for the other big European firms, even if it cannot yet be said to have the firepower on a senior practitioner level in comparison to its competitors.
The growth of the patent attorney team in Europe reflects this investment. In early 2021 the firm expects a significant partner lateral from a well-known UK patent attorney firm. They bring expertise in pharmaceuticals and biotechnology to complement the already-clear focus on electronics and mobile communications in the London office. Kevin Cordina is already visible in the market for his patent prosecution work in the latter two fields. His well-known relationships to Apple and TCL could in the long term help the litigation partners to gain ground in the mobile-communications field.
Life sciences litigation, especially pharmaceuticals and medical devices. Integrated into a wider full-service practice for clients from the same industry, including patent attorneys.
The continent-wide growth strategy continues to be pursued with considerable investment across a range of offices. The firm is already prepared for cross-border disputes all over Europe, especially when it comes to pharma patents. The London–Amsterdam axis is also particularly strong and well-known for its work regarding mobile communications. On the other hand, both offices work closely together with the Düsseldorf team in pharmaceutical disputes. Simmons & Simmons has also strengthened its position in Paris and Milan in recent years.
But there are some gaps in the continental practice. The loss of partners in Munich (2018) and Düsseldorf (2020) were a setback for Simmons & Simmons’ continent-wide growth strategy. It intends to focus on life sciences as well as on electronics and financial services. But with a recent partner hire in Munich, the German practice has realigned itself to raise its visibility in mobile communications suits and other tech areas. This may also help the European practice to move away from its somewhat one-sided life sciences image.
It is significant that Simmons & Simmons made this investment in Munich at a time when the future of the UPC becomes more certain. The city, as an important European patent market, was a blank space in the firm’s network.
Michael Burdon (“has rebuilt a good, young, dynamic practice”, competitor”), Andrew Hutchinson, Scott Parker. Patent attorney: Kevin Cordina
20 lawyers, 3 patent attorneys
Strong focus on litigation in life sciences, making up two thirds of litigation. The remaining third is mostly electronics. Exceptionally strong relationships to financial institutions, which has allowed a headstart on patent issues surrounding fintech products including artificial intelligence and blockchain applications. Accordingly, a broad transactional practice. One of few large London-based international firms with a patent attorney practice.
Litigation: UCB (claimant) against Genentech/Novartis regarding revocation and EPO oppositions against anti-IL-17 psoriasis product bimekizumab; Bayer (defendant) against Teva and other in revocation case over cancer treatment drug Nexavar; Insulet (claimant) against Roche Diabetes Care over infringement on insulin pumps; Samsung Bioepis (defendant) against Fresenius and AbbVie on biosimilar version of Humira; Samsung Bioepis (claimant) against Gedeon Richter over biosimilar adalimumab; Gilead (defendant) against four genetics companies on revocation of SPC for Truvada; Serenity Pharmaceuticals (defendant) against Ferring on EPO oppositions regarding nocturia treatment drug Noctiva; Boston Scientific (claimant) against Edwards Lifesciences on transcatheter aortic replacement technology (settled 2019); Aixtron (claimant) against Paragraf and Dr Thomas regarding ownership over patent portfolio on graphene technology; 3M (claimant and defendant) against Smith & Nephew, Paul Hartmann, and BSN on EPO opposition regarding wound treatment medical devices; Fontem (defendant) against Joyetech, InSmoke, Nicoventures, Philip Morris and others in EPO oppositions e-cigarette patents; Boston Scientific (defendant) against Synergy on royalties concerning drug-eluting stent; Balanced Body on patent enforcement strategy in Europe regarding Pilates reformer machines. Patent prosecution: filing and oppositions for Apple, Gilo Industries, Gorilla Technology, Michel Forko, KCI Licensing, Natura Cosmeticos, Netradyne, Serenity Pharmaceuticals, Tactual Labs, TCL, 3M Wound Care. Oppositions for Samsung Bioepis. Advice: The Institute for Cancer Research on IP partnerships, including licensing and commercialisation arrangements; AB Electrolux on reorganisation of corporate structure and IP rights; Genmab on licences, collaboration and commercialisation arrangements; GSK regarding its establishment of its AI hub in London; members of Fintech consortium Contour on IP, corporate, regulatory, anti-trust and employment issues; Moody’s on acquisition of RiskFirst.