JUVE Patent

Rankings UK 2023

Taylor Wessing – UK 2023

JUVE Comment

As part of an integrated European practice predominantly known for its life sciences work for generics, the challenge for the UK patent team at Taylor Wessing has been two-fold. Firstly, it must differentiate itself from those competitors with equally solid life sciences practices but perhaps more diverse client offerings; secondly, it must retain high-profile tech clients to demonstrate the team’s varied capabilities. It is now fair to say that over the past few years, the practice has done just that, with its partners litigating for several clients that are making global headlines.

On the life sciences side, a clear standout is an instruction for long-term client Pfizer, which has retained a team led by “practical and knowledgable” partner Simon Cohen to litigate, alongside BioNTech, against Moderna and CureVac over COVID-19 vaccines. The Taylor Wessing patent teams in Germany and the Netherlands are also instructed for this case, which is against heavyweights such as Powell Gilbert and Bird & Bird in the UK, and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in the Netherlands. Pfizer is a long-term client of the practice, but the firm’s involvement in one of the major cases in Europe should cement the already well-regarded life sciences practice as a go-to firm for developing areas of technology. Indeed, with the legal, technical and commercial intricacies of this case set to dominate the patent landscape in the coming months, for Taylor Wessing it is the perfect chance to underline the firm’s solid reputation while demonstrating closer links between its European practices.

In other pharmaceutical proceedings, the firm acted for Glenmark alongside other generic drug companies against Novartis in proceedings concerning fingolimod, and for Viatris against Neurim and Flynn in the wide-ranging dispute over insomnia medication. Although now at the damages stage, the latter case afforded the Taylor Wessing team a high amount of visibilty in the UK courts. For Abbott, Taylor Wessing again demonstrates its ability to convert prior litigation into new client instructions. The company retains the team for vast litigation involving numerous patents against Dexcom; fresh from work for the medical devices company concerning heart valves, the latest case over continuous glucose-monitoring technology is for an emerging area with a vast market potential.

On the mobile communication side, the firm’s instruction for Ericsson against Apple is finally allowing the firm’s tech specialty to shine through. Here, the London team is led by recommended partner James Marshall. “He pays attention to every detail and aligns the arguments with the international strategy,” says a competitor. The team works alongside its Dutch and Belgian counterparts in proceedings concerning 4G/5G technology and FRAND. Elevation of several key younger players in the firm has certainly helped cement this visibility, with partner Michael Washbrook involved in or leading the teams for Ericsson. For a firm which has historically been most visible for life sciences clients, the work for Ericsson across Europe demonstrates that Taylor Wessing is finally emerging as a leader across a spectrum of technical areas.

On the other hand, the advisory list remains overwhelmingly on the life sciences and biotech side, although it has two new clients in more technical fields. If the firm can retain its increased visibility in mobile communication technology, this will demonstrate the practice’s flexibility. There is no reason why this will not translate into instructions in other emerging areas in the future.

Strengths

Pharmaceutical litigation for generics as well as originator companies. Mobile communication and FRAND.

European set-up

At Taylor Wessing, the UK and German teams have historically been well-coordinated, with its patent practices in these countries benefitting from being in the important patent jurisdictions of London, Munich and Düsseldorf. An example of ongoing litigation involving all three offices is the stand-out instruction for Pfizer against CureVac and Moderna, which lends the firm ample opportunity to show its strengths in litigating a commercially-sensitive patent matter. On the other hand, while the Amsterdam and Eindhoven offices have historically had stronger ties with the Benelux region, the firm’s work for Pfizer and Ericsson across the UK and Dutch offices indicates the connections here are developing.

Taylor Wessing’s European offices are not fully financially integrated, and its teams develop joint work between offices less frequently than some of the European market leaders, such as Hogan Lovells and Allen & Overy. Nevertheless, the patent team’s setup in all major jurisdictions is well presented for more cross-border work, an asset given an impending UPC. However, unlike some of the market leaders, Taylor Wessing has not yet built up its own patent attorney practice.

Recommended individuals

Simon Cohen (“practical and knowledgeable”, competitor), James Marshall (“pays attention to every detail and aligns the arguments with the international strategy”, “a sensible litigator who puts up a good defence”, competitors), Matthew Royle (“really good to work with, quality person”, competitor), Nigel Stoate, Michael Washbrook

Team

25 lawyers

Specialties

Broad range of patent litigation activity, especially in the life sciences sector. Experienced in SEP and FRAND cases. Advisory work, for example SPC regulation and transactions.

Clients

Litigation: Pfizer (co-defendant with BioNTech) against CureVac and Moderna over COVID-19 vaccine patents; Ericsson (claimant) against Apple over implementation and standard essential patents, including FRAND; OPPO, OnePlus and Realme (defendants) against InterDigital over licence portfolio and FRAND; Shenzhen Senior Technology (defendant) against Celgard over breach of confidence and misuse of trade secrets relating to lithium ion battery technology; Abbott (claimant) against Dexcom over glucose-monitoring devices; Lupin (defendant) against Chiesi over asthma inhalers; Viatris (defendant) against Neurim and Flynn over insomnia drug Circadin, including damages enquiry; Glenmark Pharmaceuticals (defendant) against Novartis over fingolimod; Noco (claimant) against Ring Automotive over infringement and validity. Advice: Apollo Therapeutics over licence agreement with Avalo Therapeutics and rights to camoteskimab; Hilton Foods Group regarding investment in CellAg; various university and academic institute spin-offs over spin-off process; IP Group in relation to development of an inhaled lentiviral vector-based gene therapy product for the treatment of cystic fibrosis; early stage biotech company on settlement of an IP entitlement dispute; multinational antibiotics manufacturer in relation to dispute with research collaboration partner; US IT/telecom company on planned acquisition of part of a European-headquartered IT services company.

Location

Cambridge, London