Home to a number of major patent owners and efficient, well-informed courts, the Netherlands takes its place alongside Germany and the United Kingdom as a leading forum for patent litigation in the European Union. As in those jurisdictions, the technologies most commonly at the centre of disputes are telecommunications and pharmaceuticals. Sophisticated products and cases require sophisticated representation – a demand which is met by the highly skilled community of Dutch patent litigators. It is relatively rare for practitioners in the Netherlands to have scientific educational backgrounds; instead, they offer advanced litigation expertise across a range of technologies.
With “a leading role in patent litigation”, this IP boutique’s three partners and counsel Jan Brinkhof focus in particular on work for generic drug manufacturers, alongside a busy innovator side practice. The firm recently represented Ratiopharm in nullity and infringement proceedings against H Lundbeck over its European patent escitalopram, demonstrating its ability to handle the Dutch aspects of major multi-jurisdictional litigation. “Flexible, client-oriented and with an excellent approach to cases”, the team took the lead in acting for Samsung in nullity and infringement actions against Sharp for liquid crystal display technology, coordinating its work with parallel proceedings in the United States, Germany, Korea and Japan. Commended for his “great advocacy skills”, Richard E Ebbink focuses on litigating life sciences cases; international peers rate him “among the very best – at the top of his game, highly intelligent and enthusiastic”. “Popular, eager and easy to work with”, Mark GR Van Gardingen leaves clients “very happy with his services”. He specialises in patent cases in the pharmaceutical, chemical, electrotechnology and mechanical engineering fields, working for names such as Boston Scientific and Novartis. Ruprecht Hermans is the firm’s electronics and IT specialist and is “a very highly respected player in the marketplace”.Hoyng Monegier LLP
Founded by former partners from Howrey’s European practice, this firm opened on January 1 2011 and has hit the ground running, with its large team of IP specialists continuing their practices under the Hoyng Monegier banner. Willem Hoyng is an “extremely well-known, experienced and tough” practitioner who shares, with Freshfields’ Peter Hendrick, the mantle of most esteemed patent litigator in the Netherlands. “Clients adore Hoyng’s knowledge of the practice area and his finely honed courtroom skills,” commentators confide. “Everyone is very impressed” with the “absolutely excellent” Bart Van Den Broek, who also arrived from Howrey. Formerly of De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek, Simon Dack has a diverse practice, with the emphasis falling on life sciences issues. His arrival to Hoyng Monegier is predicted to “seal the establishment of a very strong team”.
The Dutch office of this international firm focuses its attention on life sciences, electronics and telecommunications, in addition to energy, food and other sectors. It is currently working with Nestlé to fend off infringement of its Nespresso coffee capsule technology and with Merial in a multijurisdictional patent infringement and revocation action against Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health. The firm is also the go-to practice for generics giant Teva Pharmaceutical Industries for IP-related matters in the Netherlands, currently representing it in patent infringement and revocation proceedings against patent holder Janssen. Co-managing partner of the Dutch office Armand Killan is a “leading figure” at the firm, with a focus on international patent disputes in the life sciences industries. “A strong advocate, with great courtroom presentation skills”, Wouter Pors heads the office’s IP department and handles patent litigation for a wide range of industries. Marc Van Wijngaarden wins praise for his “thoroughness, attention to detail and comprehensive understanding of all the issues in a case”. He focuses on life sciences and leads the team in much of its work for Teva.Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP
Like rival De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek, Freshfields has seen some turnover in its patent litigation team in recent years, yet remains a noted presence in the marketplace. “Marvellous litigator” Peter Hendrick is one of the most visible players, with “a well-deserved reputation” for his “great client-handling skills, courtroom feel and quick thinking”. The “incredibly hard work” that Hendrick puts into each mandate ensures that “it is impossible to surprise him”, earning him “immense respect from judges”. Rutger Kleemans is a younger partner deemed to be “excelling in the practice”, with a “rapid, responsive and handson approach” to matters.Hogan Lovells
“An important presence and major competitor” in the market, this firm covers all types of patent litigation. Well-known partner Bert Oosting is hailed for his “deep knowledge and high degree of specialisation in pharmaceutical issues” for innovators. He has “an impressive following of clients and is excellent in the courtroom”. Klaas Bisschop is another “nononsense character who gets straight to the heart of a case and really knows how to present an argument”; he maintains a broad practice.
BarentsKrans serves clients’ patent litigation needs via its wider IP group, which in turn is part of a general practice firm. While it works with clients across all technological spheres, it devotes most of its time to pharmaceutical cases, in which it typically appears on behalf of generic manufacturers. The firm recently acted for Mylan in preliminary injunction proceedings commenced by Novartis against Mylan and Actavis. It is also representing Alfred E Tiefenbacher and Centrafarm in appeal proceedings against H Lundbeck, as part of the multi-jurisdictional, headline-grabbing escitalopram litigation. Highly respected patent litigator Marleen van den Horst has extensive experience of international matters and has acted for Japanese, US, UK, German and other clients. Praised for her “focus and her great technical and legal knowledge”, she is “a fighter for her clients”.De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek
Despite a number of departures from its IP group in recent years, this prestigious fullservice firm remains focused on significant cases. Gertjan Kuipers recently successfully defended Koninklijke KPN in a high-profile matter brought by High Point for alleged infringement of wireless technology patents. He also achieved a victory for Sharp in the European component of its worldwide patent litigation against Samsung involving liquid crystal display technology.NautaDutilh
This full-service practice fields a “well-respected, highly credible” IP group with a reputation for patent litigation that is growing to match that of its trademark practice. It focuses on cases involving pharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical device, telecommunications and mechanical patents. It is currently acting for AGA Medical at the appeal stage of a battle with Occlutech over AGA’s occlusion device patent. John Allen is “making a name for himself as a solid patent litigator”. His diverse practice covers biotechnology, medical devices, telecommunications and other technologies.Simmons & Simmons
This team has focused its efforts on life sciences and telecommunications and is picking up high-profile, high-value work, such as an instruction by Bayer HealthCare in proceedings against Abbott Laboratories to enforce Bayer’s patents on anti-tumour necrosis factor-alpha antibody technology. Notwithstanding these significant mandates, this is a relatively new and small group; while some commentators are reserving judgement on the practice, deeming it too early to assess its profile, others say that its two partners have “cool heads on their shoulders, a strong will to fight for clients and a commitment to high quality”. Furthermore, the ensemble’s “depth of knowledge, business perspective on cases and ability to handle matters spanning numerous jurisdictions” win admiration. The firm is “really moving up the field thanks to Bas Berghuis van Woortman,” say commentators; he is praised for his “skill in negotiation over difficult issues with potential infringers”. In addition to work for clients such as Ericsson, Nokia Siemens Networks, Biosensors and GlaxoSmithKline, he has recently been defending Microsoft in matters concerning its MS Word software and led the representation of Bayer in its fight against Abbott. András Kupecz is a “smart guy with a technical background in biochemistry that distinguishes him in the Dutch market”.
Otto Swens, a founding partner of Vondst Advocaten, has a noted practice focusing on the life sciences, chemistry and mechanical engineering industries.