Consistency, visibility and extremely high quality define market-leading IP boutique Bristows, which continues to forge ahead of competitors in its retention of high-profile clients for pharmaceutical and telecommunications litigation. Although there has been some market speculation as to how well the firm will deal with partner succession in the event of further retirements, its bench of younger partners demonstrates between them a breadth of talent which is contributing to the firm’s visibility in cases at both the High Court and the Court of Appeal.
Indeed, the boutique continues to ride the ongoing wave of FRAND and jurisidictional litigation created by Unwired Planet vs. Huawei, especially prominent through its appearance in the parallel Supreme Court case for ZTE in numerous disputes against NPE Conversant. But unlike many patent practices, the firm does not draw a firm boundary between litigation for NPEs or for implementers. For example, Myles Jelf continues to put in a turn for patent holder IPCom against Vodafone in the dispute over licensing and Crown Use defence. More work for IPCom also comes in the form of cases against Lenovo and Xiaomi, involving the former’s patent licensing programme. Elsewhere, young partner Richard Pinckney continues to demonstrate his reputation in cases for Dutch SEP holder Philips, which is known to litigate heavily at the UK courts. This case also involves cross-border coordination with Dutch and German firms.
In the life sciences field, pharmaceutical originator company Novartis remains the firm’s biggest client, with lead partner Brian Cordery coordinating the bulk of the work, such as patent enforcement for deferasirox-containing tablets. Over 2021, the pharma practice also gained new cases for Sandoz, such as against BMS/Pfizer. Recently, work for Teva has come to the fore, for example in the now-settled dispute against another originator company, Eli Lilly, as well as in ongoing work for the client regarding SPCs. Following Brexit, as the regulatory landscape changes, Bristows is in a good position to continuing offering litigation strategies and advice to clients in the life sciences sector in this regard.
Litigation in mobile communications, SEP cases with FRAND issues including jurisdictional challenges. Pharma litigation, especially regarding antibodies and SPCs. Regulatory work.
As a London-based firm, Bristows might seem limited in its reach in Europe. However, its UK team often coordinates parallel proceedings across the continent – especially in SEP cases. The firm is also providing litigation support to the Amsterdam office of Freshfields in the firm’s instruction for Novartis against Mylan in Europe. Thus, despite the London location, the continued collaboration with European patent boutiques indicates that Bristows’ partners are not allowing the practice in London to isolate itself. This attitude will benefit the practice once the UPC begins, especially as Bristows has in the past engaged more strongly than other London law firms with the launch of the UPC.
Indeed, Bristows is well known for having strong relationships to many European firms, although some of them, like Brinkhof and Vossius & Partner, have a privileged status. However, other firms such as Kirkland & Ellis also work alongside the same names, suggesting the connections with Bristows might not be exclusive to the firm.
On the other hand, maintaining these links are especially important since, when the UPC does start, it will be without the UK. In this case, Bristows would lack direct access to the new patent system. The evidence of UPC expertise could lead US and Asian clients to transfer more coordination work from UK to German or Dutch firms. The London boutique may then more heavily rely on its partner firms to consolidate its presence on the continent. To demonstrate practical experience in UPC cases to clients, it could be worth Bristows considering its own offices in the UPC region. For example, an office in Dublin, which is a likely candidate for a UPC local division. Otherwise, an office in Munich or Paris with outstanding local patent litigators might be wise for this market-leading UK firm to add to its agenda.
Brian Cordery (“extremely efficient; great in pharmaceuticals and biotech”, competitor), Myles Jelf (“hugely experienced litigator in patent law”, competitor), Liz Cohen (“especially strong in pharmaceutical litigation”, competitor), Sophie Lawrance, Richard Pinckney (“a clear rising star in the patent field”, competitor), Dominic Adair, Andrew Bowler (“good coordination, easy-going and friendly; a real strategist”, competitor), Gregory Bacon (“an excellent strategist; very relaxed and pleasant to work with”, competitor)
Boutique firm with a focus on life sciences, technology and brands. In patents, strong focus on telecommunications, including FRAND and SEP cases, and pharmaceutical work, including biosimilar litigation and second medical use patents. Active for industry clients as well as NPEs. Transactions and regulatory work.
Litigation: Alcon (defendant) against Aspire and Accord over glaucoma treatment travoprost; Alcon and Novartis (defendants) against generics companies over second medical use for glaucoma treatment; Chiesi (claimant) against Lupin, Teva and Cipla over asthma and COPD treatments; Fresenius Kabi (defendant) against Samsung Bioepis and Biogen over formulations for biosimilar of adalimumab; Hamilton Medical (defendant) over control loop system of mechanical ventilators; Janssen Sciences (defendant) over SPC and dosage regime patent for paliperidone palmitate; Janssen Sciences (defendant) over anti-cancer combination abiraterone acetate and prednisone; Novartis over transfer of litigation following Genentech acquisition; Novartis (claimant) over iron chelation therapy patent; Sandoz (claimant) against BMS/Pfizer over thromboembolic drug Apixaban; Sandoz (claimant) against Biogen over MS drug natalizumab; Teva and Regeneron (defendant) against Eli Lilly over use of antibodies to treat osteoarthritis pain; Teva (claimant) against Bayer regarding sorafenib tosylate for cancer treatment; Teva (defendant) against Eli Lilly over SPCs and fremanezumab to treat migraines (settled); IPCom (claimant) against HTC over workaround sanction for mobile communications; IPCom against Vodafone over SEPs and Crown Use; IPCom against Lenovo and Xiaomi over ASIs in mobile communications dispute; ZTE (defendant) against Conversant over mobile communications including FRAND and jurisdictional issues; Philips (claimant) against TCL over mobile communications including FRAND; Philips (defendant) and HEVC Advance against Vestel regarding FRAND determination and licensing; Philips (claimant) against Xiaomi over SEP infringement; Philips (defendant) against Bissell over floor cleaning patents; Queue-it (defendant) against Orderly Mind over e-commerce queueing solution; Siemens Gamesa (defendant) against General Electric over renewable energy; Siemens Gamesa (claimant) against General Electric over renewable energy; Stannah Stairlifts (claimant) over stairlift rail patent; Valmet (defendant) against Fiberlean over breach of confidentiality in paper manufacturing technologies. Advice: Anglo American over hydrogen-powered fuel cells used in mining; AstraZeneca over acquisition of antibody tech platform; Recordati over four in-licences for orphan drugs; UCLB, Cambridge Enterprise, Imperial Innovations, IP Group over out-licensing of innovations.