For some years now, the French courts have been increasingly busy with patent cases. JUVE Patent’s France ranking 2023 reflects how French firms are gearing up for the UPC – whether by bolstering their teams with patent attorneys or lawyers, or by forming cooperations abroad. After all, Paris will be one of the major hubs of the new court. JUVE Patent journalist Konstanze Richter and co-editor Mathieu Klos present a detailed overview in the latest ranking video.
8 March 2023 by Konstanze Richter
In JUVE Patent’s France ranking 2023, Konstanze Richter and Mathieu Klos present the latest developments in the French patent market.
France’s first-instance court, the Judicial Court Paris (Tribunal Judiciaire), again saw a rise in newly filed patent cases in 2022. It also issued a number of decisions, some in high-profile cases such as Intellectual Ventures vs. several opponents, Ferid Allani against Apple and Google, or more recently in Lufthansa vs. Astronics and Thales.
The Supreme Court also attracted a great deal of attention with an important decision in the case of Hutchinson vs. Tyron Runflat and Global Wheel. Here it asserted French jurisdiction in patent disputes outside France, while some parties are based in France. At the same time, the nomination of five French judges to the UPC has led to a reshuffle among the judges’ benches.
The law firms have also been keeping busy. With their experience in cross-border litigation, international teams such as Allen & Overy, Bird & Bird and Hogan Lovells are already well positioned for the UPC. Recently, however, smaller teams such as Dentons, Reed Smith and Pinsent Masons have also significantly increased their visibility. This is likely to benefit the firms once the new court opens.
On the other hand, the majority of traditional French law firms and small national boutiques are taking a wait-and-see approach with regards to UPC strategy. Although some, like August Debouzy, Gide, Casalonga, Aramis, and Loyer & Abello, boast experience in the French parts of cross-border disputes, many remain especially cautious when it comes to committing to exclusive partners in France and abroad.
With regards to the UPC, so far only a few firms have engaged in formal cooperations. These include Amar Goussu Staub joining with British-German-Swedish outfit EIP, and the Santarelli Group cooperating with German firm Meissner Bolte. The latter has led to the launch of a new litigation network.
On the other hand, traditional French law firms mostly prefer to maintain their independence and stick to cooperations in non-exclusive networks. But this strategy could prove problematic for small IP boutiques at the UPC, where, due to the court’s strict deadlines, defendant clients may quickly require large teams.
Overall, litigators and patent attorneys are moving closer together as mixed teams become more popular. Established patent attorney firm Plasseraud, for example, further strengthened its litigation team with another lawyer. By adding a patent attorney from Regimbeau to its patent practice, Allen & Overy also took a step towards a mixed team. Lavoix, which took on lawyers several years ago, is also carving out a solid position in patent infringement suits.
Whether cautiously waiting or full steam ahead, this year the patent market in France is all about the UPC.
For further analysis, read JUVE Patent’s France rankings 2023. This includes top patent litigation firms and top patent prosecution firms in France, and our Ones to Watch category. In addition, this Friday read a detailed overview of changes at the French courts in a report by JUVE Patent.
Find further detailed information on the JUVE Patent research criteria here.