JUVE Patent

Rankings UK 2023

Simmons & Simmons – UK 2023

JUVE Comment

Successfully integrating litigators, patent attorneys, and a strong transactional practice, the strongly positioned London team of this international full-service firm is making an impression on the market. Although the focus is somewhat mixed in patent prosecution and advice, on the litigation side it has been historically strong in life sciences. Under the direction of senior partner Michael Burdon, this trend shows no signs of abating, with the firm landing work for clients in major cases such as multiple instructions for Samsung Bioepis. One case, against Fresenius, involved advice in the pre-litigation stage, with the firm coordinating proceedings in the UK, the Netherlands, and at the EPO in opposition. Alongside co-claimant Biogen, advised by Powell Gilbert, the firm demonstrated its flexibility in working across a case involving multiple firms in multiple jurisdictions. However, the firm’s younger litigation partners are increasingly in the spotlight in this area. For example, young partner Andrew Hutchinson is working on two instructions for Bayer against Teva: one over oncology drug Nexavar, with the other concerning a testosterone replacement therapy. Elsewhere, Scott Parker takes the lead for a new US client regarding its European strategy.

Away from its solid base of originator pharmaceutical clients, the practice is increasingly demonstrating its skill in medical devices through multiple instructions from Boston Scientific, such as against Cook over endoscopic clips. It also worked for UCB in the now-settled dispute with Genentech and Novartis.

However, the Simmons & Simmons practice still lacks convincing involvement in leading telecommunications cases in the UK. This hinders its efforts to establish a tech practice to rival its life sciences practice in strength and visibility. While core client Xiaomi retains the practice in the UK and Germany for litigation, for example at the High Court against Philips, the case settled before the team could flex its muscles in issues covering technical patents and FRAND. On the other hand, the Simmons team is retained by a major telecommunications client for advice, especially in relation to litigation strategies for the upcoming UPC. With the Dutch arm of the firm harnessing strong connections to Samsung, the possibility to cement future links between such clients and the UK team is there.

Strengths

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

European set-up

Of all the large, pan-European patent litigation practices, it is perhaps that of Simmons & Simmons that is most often underestimated. The work for Xiaomi, Bayer and Samsung Bioepis showed that the firm is a force to be reckoned with in pan-European litigation – in both the pharma and mobile communications sectors. Litigation for Boston Scientific against Cook is also ongoing in Germany and the Netherlands, although here the Simmons team has been overlooked in favour of Vossius and Brinkhof respectively.

The expansion of the London and Amsterdam teams was followed by a spectacular reorganisation of the German practice with the hiring of a large patent attorney team specialising in life sciences from Isenbruck. The Munich patent attorneys will work closely with those in Amsterdam and London in the future. Munich and Amsterdam specialise in life sciences patents, while London also has a focus on electronics and mobile communications.

With the recent investments in laterals, Simmons & Simmons has made it clear that it wants to play a substantial role in the UPC. With offices at all key UPC locations, the firm does indeed have a good starting set-up. The fact that the firm is growing its patent attorney team in Amsterdam, London and now also in Munich points in the right direction. Moreover, in London of counsel Kevin Mooney, Simmons & Simmons still has one of the influential architects of the UPC in its ranks.

With such success behind it, Simmons & Simmons is shaping up to be a real European powerhouse for both pharma and mobile communications cases. Market leaders like Hogan Lovells and Bird & Bird will have to keep a watchful eye on Simmons & Simmons if they do not want to lose market share once the UPC arrives.

Recommended individuals

Michael Burdon (“our go-to lawyer in the UK for medical-related patent cases”, competitor), Andrew Hutchinson (“Andrew knows his stuff”, competitor), Scott Parker (“hardworking, responsive and client focused; offers very high quality advice”, competitor); patent attorney: Kevin Cordina (digital communication and computer technology, electronics)

Team

24 lawyers, 4 patent attorneys

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) against Philips over SEPs for telecommunications (settled in 2022); Whoop against competitor over fitness tracker technology; UCB (claimant) against Genentech/Novartis regarding revocation and EPO oppositions against psoriasis product bimekizumab; Bayer (defendant) against Teva over cancer treatment drug Nexavar; Bayer (defendant) against Teva over testosterone drug; Samsung Bioepis (claimant) against Novartis over eye disease drug; Samsung Bioepis (defendant) against Fresenius and AbbVie on biosimilar version of Humira; Samsung Bioepis (claimant) against Gedeon Richter over biosimilar adalimumab; Intex (claimant) against Bestway over inflatable product technology; Boston Scientific (defendant) against Labcoat on royalties concerning drug-eluting stent; Boston Scientific (claimant) against Cook over endoscopic clips. Advice: Institute of Cancer Research on strategic collaborations; GSK, Amgen, AstraZeneca, Merck Sharp & Dohme, Johnson & Johnson, Alnylam, Roche and Regeneron on collaboration with Our Future Health; Ascendis Pharma on licensing and collaborations; EVTG on brand acquisition of MOKE.

Location

London