JUVE Patent

Rankings UK 2022

Simmons & Simmons – UK 2022

JUVE Comment

This strongly positioned patent team is one of the few firms in the London patent market to successfully pursue a mixed approach. It blends a large team of litigators with a steadily growing group of patent attorneys and a patent-driven deal team.

In litigation, the focus lies clearly on work in the life sciences sector, especially pharma patents, where the team is chiefly active for the originator industry. One of the year’s highlights was litigation for Belgian pharma company UCB against Genentech/Novartis over a drug for the treatment of inflammatory diseases such as psoriasis. The team was also visible for Insulet in the litigation against Roche at the UK High Court. But reducing the practice’s strength to the life sciences sector would be too simplistic. The team often litigates across a wide spectrum of technologies – from 3D printing to graphene technology to opto-electronics.

With its involvement in proceedings for Xiaomi against Philips, the litigation practice has taken its first steps in the hard-fought telecoms sector, which should ensure a stronger visibility for the UK team in SEP litigation in the future. Here, the two teams in London and Munich are advancing hand-in-hand and can count on the strong presence of the Amsterdam team, which boasts an excellent relationship with the world’s largest mobile communications manufacturer Samsung.

The patent attorneys at the London practice have worked for some time in patent prosecution and drafting for big names like Apple and TCL. In litigation before the UK courts, however, tech companies have so far relied on competitors like WilmerHale and Kirkland & Ellis.

Simmons has invested heavily in growing its practice at various offices of late, especially its patent attorney team. In London, it welcomed patent attorney Lawrence King to the team. He brings experience in pharmaceuticals and biotechnology from litigation at the EPO, as well as in prosecution and above all patent transactions. He therefore complements the patent attorney team’s focus on electronics and mobile communications in the London office. Kevin Cordina has an excellent name in the London market for patent prosecution work in these two fields.

Simmons also nurtures superb contacts in the financial sector, which has allowed a headstart on patent issues surrounding fintech products, including AI and blockchain applications. Clients here include investors like Blackrock or banks like Citibank, often in connection with transactions. Increasing cooperation among research institutes and pharma companies is ensuring a steady deal flow and a rise in demand for advice related to licences and IP due diligence.

Strengths

Life sciences litigation, especially pharmaceuticals and medical devices. Growing patent attorney practice with strong well-known focus on digital communication and electronics.

European strategy

Of all the large, pan-European patent litigation practices, it is perhaps that of Simmons & Simmons that is most often underestimated. Following significant staff turbulence over the past five years, it is now demonstrating the potential of its international network in impressive fashion.

The firm is already well 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. And with the recent work for Xiaomi and Oppo/OnePlus in several SEP battles, the newly formed German team has quickly been able to harness this network potential and at the same time count on the office in Shanghai.

With such success behind it, Simmons & Simmons is shaping up to be a real European powerhouse for both pharma and mobile communications cases. But there is still some way to go until it draws level with the market leaders Bird & Bird and Hogan Lovells. The (mostly young) partners, however, are working together in a very coordinated manner to build on their market positions, as otherwise only seen at Allen & Overy and Hogan Lovells.

The pan-European team is not only well positioned with teams in London, Amsterdam, Düsseldorf and Munich, but has also strengthened its position in Milan and Paris in the past. The teams at these two offices, however, could be bolstered further.

With offices at all key UPC locations, the firm does indeed have a good starting setup for when the court launches. The fact that the firm is growing its patent attorney team in Germany, London and Amsterdam also points in the right direction.

Recommended individuals

Michael Burdon, Andrew Hutchinson (“impressive, a real technician”, competitor”), Scott Parker (“very well established, impressive in pharma cases”, competitor); patent attorney: Kevin Cordina (digital communication and computer technology, electronics)

Team

20 lawyers, 4 patent attorneys

Partner moves

Lawrence King (from AA Thornton)

Specialties

Strong focus on litigation in life sciences. Exceptionally strong relationships to financial institutions. A broad transactional practice. Patent prosecution across a wide technical spectrum. Integrated into a wider full-service practice for clients from the same industry.

Clients

Litigation: Xiaomi (defendant) alongside Bristows against Philips over SEPs for telecommunications (public knowledge); Aixtron (claimant) against Paragraf and Dr Thomas regarding ownership over patent portfolio on graphene technology; Insulet (claimant) against Roche Diabetes Care over infringement on insulin pumps; UCB (claimant) against Genentech/Novartis regarding revocation and EPO oppositions against anti-IL-17 psoriasis product bimekizumab; Bayer (defendant) against Teva and others in revocation case over cancer treatment drug Nexavar; 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; 3M (defendant) against Smith & Nephew, Paul Hartmann, and BSN on EPO opposition regarding medical devices for wound treatment; Serenity Pharmaceuticals (defendant) against Ferring on EPO oppositions regarding nocturia treatment drug Noctiva; Fontem (defendant) against Joyetech, InSmoke, Nicoventures, Philip Morris and others in EPO oppositions over heat-not-burn cigarette patents; Boston Scientific (defendant) against Synergy on royalties concerning drug-eluting stent.

Location

London