The United Kingdom continues to be regarded as one of the leading jurisdictions for patent litigation, with the quality of the courts’ decisions held in high regard. However, the cost of patent litigation is particularly prohibitive, which is a deterrent for many patent owners, particularly small to medium-sized businesses. The judiciary and wider legal community have attempted to remedy this by revamping the Patents County Court rules: potential damages will be limited to £500,000 and legal costs recoverable from the losing party limited to £50,000. It is hoped that these caps will allow for lower-value patent disputes to be taken to court. Another response to the issue of costs is the increasing prevalence of third-party funding, where investors foot some of the bill for litigation in return for a proportion of the potential damages. Life sciences continues to account for the bulk of top-end patent cases and disputes between originators and generics are still common. However, with novel technologies such as biologic treatments flourishing, litigation involving originators against other research and development concerns is also growing. Actions involving supplementary protection certificates (SPCs) are also on the up, although current legislation is still somewhat rudimentary and open to interpretation. SPCs are sought by pharmaceutical and chemical engineering companies, as they effectively grant an extension to the lifetime of a patent. The dawn of smartphone technology has led to a boom in telecommunications litigation, which often involves a considerable number of disputed patents.
A global player in intellectual property, this “tremendous outfit” is home to “a raft of superb practitioners”. It fields one of the largest patent litigation teams in London and has handled some of the most high-profile cases of recent times. The “highly respected” Trevor Cook is a “brilliant patent litigator and an accomplished veteran of the scene”. Standing “head and shoulders above the rest”, he has worked on some of the leading patent lawsuits of the last decade, including appeals before the House of Lords. “Seasoned professional” Morag Macdonald co-heads the IP department. “An obvious and longstanding leader in the field”, she recently acted for Electromagnetic Geoservices ASA in a case involving patents for oil and gas prospecting technology, and for Edwards Lifesciences in its dispute with Cook Biotech over replacement heart valve technology. “Highly experienced and highly competent litigator” Neil Jenkins specialises in life sciences cases, particularly for generic manufacturers; recent clients include Actavis and Teva. “We would not hesitate for one millisecond to refer clients to him,” say commentators. Jane Mutimear recently acted for Nokia in its various patent ownership disputes with IPcom in the United Kingdom, Germany and Italy. Lauded for “her unique and effective approach to proceedings”, she conducts cases across a broad spectrum of technologies. Joint head of the practice Katherine Stephens also represents Nokia in its cross-border disputes. “An excellent practitioner”, she focuses on patent cases involving electronics, mechanical engineering and information technology.Bristows
“One of the biggest on the block”, Bristows is “a leading force” in patent litigation. It offers an astonishing level of scientific and technical expertise and is “absolutely top quality”. Partner Edward Nodder is “a steadfast favourite on the patent litigation scene” and “an astute and sensible litigator”. He enjoys particular renown for his work in the life sciences sector; pharmaceutical clients include Novartis, which he advises on crossborder patent protection strategies. Nodder has also conducted key litigation in other technical fields and has represented technology colossus 3M and telecommunications manufacturer Siemens in patent cases. “Leading individual” and senior partner Philip Westmacott has a practice focused on electronics and information technology, handling landmark cases in these fields. The “highly regarded” Brian Cordery primarily serves clients from the pharmaceutical and mechanical engineering industries, as well as the consumer electronics sector; he is “not to be underestimated”. The “widely respected” Sally Field has a broad IP litigation practice and has worked with clients at all levels in the English courts. She also has extensive experience of coordinating crossborder patent litigation.Herbert Smith LLP
With a large team of expert litigators at hand, the patent litigation practice at this full-service firm offers “the complete package”. The team features strength and depth in both legal and technical expertise, providing “an ensemble of sensible lawyers that leaves no stone unturned.” Sophie Rich specialises in life sciences cases and heads the firm’s practice in this sector. “An absolutely top-notch litigator”, she has built up a reputation through her work in some of the most scientifically complex patent cases, including groundbreaking disputes regarding biologics and small molecules. A number of worldleading pharmaceutical companies retain her services, including Abbott Laboratories, AstraZeneca and Roche. “A leading life sciences specialist”, David Wilson has an impressive history of casework involving pharmaceutical and chemical engineering patents, and has handled contentious issues for a host of prestigious clients including Daiichi and Pfizer. “Solid and veracious practitioner” Nick Gardner focuses on a broad range of electronics and IT-related disputes. Highlights include litigating for Nokia in the UK chapter of its global patent dispute with Qualcomm and advising Unilever on a range of patent-related matters. “A highly dependable lawyer with very loyal client base”, Mark Shillito concentrates on trademarks and copyright and has handled some of the firm’s largest patent litigation cases, including representing AkzoNobel in a prominent biotechnology patent dispute. Shillito works alongside “excellent up-and-coming litigator” Sebastian Moore to advise pharmaceutical innovator Eisai on various contentious patent matters. Moore is comfortable with a wide array of technologies – at the other end of the spectrum, he has acted for Italian shoe manufacturer Geox regarding its breathable waterproof material patents.Powell Gilbert LLP
This IP litigation boutique’s “remarkable rise” is no surprise considering the abundant quality evident in its roster of litigators – a set of “clever attorneys who offer excellent value for money”. “Top-quality practitioner” Timothy Powell receives praise for his marriage of sophisticated technical and legal skills with a client service mindset. “Adept at translating arcane legal concepts into plain English”, he conducts litigation across various areas of technology and has extensive experience of coordinating multi-jurisdictional patent litigation. Recent clients have included pharmaceutical producer Yeda and Fri-Jado, a manufacturer of food display and merchandising solutions. “Leading life sciences litigator” Penny Gilbert is “a particularly outstanding individual”. With an academic background in biochemistry, she recently represented Eli Lilly and Company in a biotechnology patent case, the upcoming appeal of which will be the first patent case to be heard in the new UK Supreme Court. Simon Ayrton handles a broad range of contentious IP matters and is hailed by peers as “a familiar and effective opponent in patent litigation”. He recently advised Nokia in the high-profile action brought by Apple over smartphone technology patents. “An astute litigator who is becoming more and more visible” in the patent scene, Zoë Butler can shift seamlessly across a broad range of technologies: in addition to the aforementioned smartphone case, she provided counsel to BSN Medical in its dispute with Mölnlycke Health Care over wound dressing technology.
“A serious player with a record of performing exemplary work in the field”, Hogan Lovells occupies an enviable spot in the London patent litigation market, handling cases across various technologies. Head of intellectual property Robert Anderson conducts cases in hard and soft intellectual property and is particularly reputed for his work in pharmaceutical, medical devices and biotechnology patent disputes. “Good, solid worker” Stephen Bennett focuses on litigation in the pharmaceutical, medical devices and telecommunication sectors. He represented Qualcomm in its recent global dispute with Nokia regarding telecommunications industry standards; other well-known telecommunications clients include HTC, as well as Eli Lilly and Company and Merck in the life sciences sector. Consultant Nicholas Macfarlane is one of the bestrenowned and longest-serving practitioners on the patent litigation scene. “A respected authority in the patent world and an excellent all-rounder”, he has diverse expertise across a wide range of technologies.Marks & Clerk
“A continually growing presence”, the sixpartner patent litigation practice at this “very effective outfit” boasts broad technical expertise, enabling it to serve a wide array of clients from various industry sectors. It also benefits from a close working relationship with major patent and trademark attorney agency Marks & Clerk. The “clever and enthusiastic team” includes partner Gregor Grant – “a seasoned and charismatic litigator”, he has years of experience running patent litigation in fields including life sciences, information technology and mechanical engineering. He recently acted for Occlutech in a prominent medical devices case. “A dynamic lawyer who is utterly dedicated to his clients”, William Cook advises in consumer electronics, telecommunications and IT industries, among others. Recent clients include SanDisk Corporation, Virgin Media and Riemser. “Confident and knowledgeable litigator” Mike Gilbert gains recognition for his work in contentious life sciences patent cases in particular; notable clients include MedImmune, Tercica and Smartrac. Graham Burnett-Hall has a broad contentious IP practice, but concentrates his attention on litigation in the pharmaceutical and medical devices sectors. He also acted for Cook Biotech in its recent patent disputes with Edwards Lifesciences.Simmons & Simmons LLP
This full-service firm has an established presence in the patent litigation market. A “seriously strong player” in the field, it is well placed to handle litigation across the technological and scientific spheres, although both clients and peers highlight its “eminently competent life sciences practice”. Partner Rowan Freeland has experience of conducting patent litigation involving a broad spectrum of technologies, but is best known for his work for pharmaceutical innovators and medical device manufacturers. A “supremely able and discerning lawyer”, he recently represented Conor Medsystems Inc in its dispute with Angiotech Pharmaceuticals concerning stent technology. Marc Döring is picked out as “a brilliant up-and-coming patent litigator”. Recent work includes various pharmaceutical patent actions on behalf of Bayer. In other areas, he has acted for Kraft Foods on a number of multi-jurisdictional patent disputes regarding coffee products. A recent recruit from Howrey, Marjan Noor has a particular focus on life sciences patent matters and “is a great addition to the Simmons & Simmons team”. Veteran practitioner Kevin Mooney features in our “Luminaries” table, in recognition of his extensive experience in the field. He is considered “one of the greatest and longestserving patent litigators around”.Taylor Wessing LLP
This general practice firm is “a major patent litigation competitor”. Renowned for its work in the life sciences field, the team has built an outstanding reputation through its work for pharmaceutical generics manufacturers. Clients are attracted by the scientific expertise of its practitioners, noting: “It is understandable why they are the generics’ people of choice.” Partner Simon Cohen is “an impressive and tenacious litigator”, who specialises in cases relating to pharmaceutical and biotechnology patents. He has acted for Canadian generics producer Apotex in various patent disputes and represented Cargill in litigation regarding genetically modified food patents. James Marshall also garners praise as “a brilliant lawyer and a pleasure to work with”. He conducts litigation for clients from a broad range of sectors, including pharmaceuticals, consumer electronics and telecommunications.
Recent hirings should propel Allen & Overy even further up the echelons of the patent litigation scene – its IP team is now “a comprehensively resourced ensemble”. Practitioners have the technical expertise and commercial awareness to advise clients from a diverse range of industrial backgrounds and can work closely with colleagues in other departments to provide a tailored service. “Keen and sensible practitioner” Nicola Dagg receives plaudits for her “vivacious style of lawyering”. She is capable of conducting litigation in various areas of intellectual property and has acted for some of the world’s bestknown companies in patent cases. Recent work includes high-profile litigation on behalf of BlackBerry manufacturer Research In Motion. She also provides counsel to semiconductor producer Micron Technology, as well as several leading pharmaceutical companies. “Organised and practical litigator” Neville Cordell gains warm accolades for the technical and legal understanding which he displays in his work for clients such as LG Electronics and Michelin. “His broad scientific background was indispensable in solving our problems,” offers one client; “it allows him to grasp the issues which are really in dispute and concentrate upon these.”Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP
This full-service firm features a two-partner IP team in London, representing clients drawn from a diverse range of industry sectors. Some of the world’s leading manufacturers are attracted by its exceptional levels of client service, in addition to its global reach and ability to handle multi-jurisdictional litigation. The “superb” Justin Watts wins kudos for his “diligent and analytic approach” to litigation. He focuses largely on handling cases involving patents in the electronics, IT, mechanics and medical device arenas. His technical credentials are outstanding; as well as being a solicitor, Watts is a chartered mechanical engineer and holds a PhD in optoelectronics. “Without doubt a leading individual in this line of work”, he has recently defended Johnson & Johnson in highprofile pan-European infringement claims brought by Novartis regarding contact lens technology. Other clients include Abbott Laboratories, Ericsson and Texas Instruments.Linklaters LLP
“An ever-present force in the patent litigation market”, the contentious practice at this fullservice firm garners respect for its extensive experience across a broad array of technologies. The firm is instructed by companies at the forefront of the global pharmaceutical industry, as well as householdname manufacturers of consumer electronics, IT and other products. “Excellent” leading patent litigator Ian Karet is “consummate in his understanding of technology”. He handles work across a broad range of technical fields, including key cases in the biotechnology, pharmaceutical and IT sectors, among others. Recent clients include Playtech and Tate & Lyle. Nigel Jones focuses largely on life sciences work, where he has handled prominent litigation involving biotechnology, pharmaceutical and medical device patents. “A respected practitioner in the field”, he additionally undertakes regulatory and transactional work for life sciences clients.SJ Berwin LLP
This general practice firm boasts an “established and excellent reputation”. The three-partner team is well known for handling patent litigation in the life sciences field, with a particular focus on generics drugs. Its lawyers are also experienced in contentious matters involving other technologies. “Serious and sensible player” David Rose heads the IP practice, as well as leading the firm’s life sciences and healthcare group. While particularly renowned for representing leading manufacturers from the pharmaceutical industry, he has also conducted patent litigation for major IT and consumer goods producers and handled contentious work in other areas of intellectual property. Chris Thornham, who recently made partner, is lauded as “a very impressive lawyer with an expanding reputation in the patent litigation field”. He has acted for top companies in the pharmaceutical and medical devices industries, among others.Wragge & Co LLP
The IP team at this general practice firm is a key player in the patent litigation market. Its practitioners are “experienced opponents”, capable of handling contentious matters involving a broad range of technical fields, with a particular focus on information technology, telecommunications and mechanical engineering. Team leader Gordon Harris is “an outstanding practitioner”; he represented Cinpres in a dispute involving gas injection moulding technology that became one of the longest-running patent cases in the United Kingdom. Other high-profile clients include Delta Air Lines and Dyson. Harris also heads the firm’s recently established China office. Paul Inman recently joined the practice from Howrey, bringing with him extensive patent litigation experience, especially in the life sciences sector. He has advised some of the world’s pharmaceutical giants, including GlaxoSmithKline and Lundbeck.
Although best known for its non-contentious work, the IP practice at this full-service firm is “effectively strengthening its patent litigation practice” through a series of recent hirings. The firm has “an outstanding profile in life sciences”, though it also handles cases involving other technologies. Working across a broad range of IP matters, Ian Kirby gains recognition for “successfully gravitating his practice towards patent litigation” and for his skills as “an increasingly frequent and formidable opponent”. His diverse clientele includes renowned names such as Gates Corporation, GlaxoSmithKline and Micron Technology. David Perkins garners “an awesome amount of respect” for his lengthy career in the patent litigation market. He currently advises Aerocrine, Danisco and Orthofix on UK and international patent litigation strategy.DLA Piper
This general practice firm is noted for its capabilities in both contentious and noncontentious patent-related matters. Partner George Godar advises on a wide array of IP issues and conducts patent litigation primarily in the areas of electronics, telecommunications and pharmaceuticals. “An accomplished and affable litigator”, he assists in coordinating multi-jurisdictional patent actions – particularly throughout central and eastern Europe, where the firm has an extensive presence.McDermott Will & Emery
This full-service firm has become a stalwart of the London patent litigation scene. A twopartner team works closely with overseas colleagues to provide a host of prestigious international clients with a comprehensive IP service. “Strong and highly knowledgeable patent litigator” Gary Moss heads the IP group. Moss has handled contentious patent matters for clients hailing from a variety of industries, including pharmaceuticals, medical devices and mechanical engineering, and has also gained extensive experience in coordinating multijurisdictional patent litigation. Undertaking work across a wide spectrum of technical fields, Hiroshi Sheraton has a particular focus on the life sciences. “A solid and client-focused litigator who is on the rise”, he has recently acted in several prominent cases involving pharmaceutical patents and supplementary protection certificates.Olswang LLP
This general practice firm has conducted patent litigation in a diverse array of sectors, including life sciences, consumer electronics and energy. Its client roster features innovative companies and research institutions such as Boston Scientific, Lonza Biologics and the University of California. The inclusion of inhouse patent attorneys provides the IP team with further technical expertise. “Well-known standout litigator” Michael Burdon handles contentious matters across various technologies and specialises in litigation involving pharmaceutical and medical devices patents. He recently acted for Kinetic Concepts, Inc in its disputes with Smith & Nephew and Mölnlycke Health Care over negative pressure therapy technology.Redd Solicitors LLP
This three-partner team commands a broad practice in intellectual property, but gains recognition for its niche offering in contentious patent work. “You won’t find a better smallsized firm in the patent litigation market,” insist commentators. Practitioners handle important cases across a wide spectrum of technologies. “Excellent litigator” Sara Ashby receives plaudits for her contentious patents expertise and works on many soft IP disputes, as well as contractual and transactional matters. “A doyen of the IP world”, Charters Macdonald-Brown has conducted a wide variety of patent litigation for his clients, ranging from high-value disputes between multinational companies to lower-key affairs involving small local businesses.Rouse
Although best known for its work in brand protection and anti-counterfeiting, Rouse’s patent litigation practice is growing in exposure, thanks to its “up-and-coming, energetic team led by renowned practitioners with proven experience”. The “truly excellent” Diana Sternfeld focuses on life sciences patent disputes, with recent clients including Medeva, B&Q and Merck. She is commended for her “rapid and high-quality advice” and her “calm and collected approach” to litigation. “Highly knowledgeable” partner Richard Willoughby recently joined the firm from Howrey. He has experience of handling patent litigation involving a broad range of technologies, with a “masterful understanding of litigation strategy” and a “fair and realistic approach to cases”.
“Star of the profession” Mark Hodgson recently joined Field Fisher Waterhouse from Howrey. He has handled patent litigation concerning a range of different technologies, with a particular emphasis on life sciences patents. Marquee clients include Eli Lilly & Company, which he has worked with in various disputes with generic drug companies. “A brilliant rival with a fabulous record”, Hodgson also notably advised Angiotech Pharmaceuticals in its high-profile dispute with Conor Medsystems regarding stent technology. Alastair McCulloch of Jones Day has a broad practice in IP litigation. On the patents front, he has acted for companies from the life sciences, energy and chemical, electrical and mechanical engineering sectors. “An excellent patent litigator”, he also has a focus on non-contentious patent matters. Pinsent Masons’ recent recruit Clare Tunstall is recognised for her “outstanding reputation in representing generics manufacturers”. She has also worked with pharmaceutical innovators, demonstrating her level of expertise in the field, and has been involved in numerous cross-border patent litigation cases. Commentators suggest that the firm’s life sciences practice will “undoubtedly grow in profile with her arrival”. Campbell Forsyth is principal partner at IP boutique Forsyth Simpson. He conducts patent litigation on behalf of generic pharmaceutical manufacturers, but has also handled recent cases relating to mechanical and IT patents. “He can provide cost-effective advice and can mobilise quickly to take care of his clients’ needs,” commentators enthuse. Formerly of DLA Piper, Gareth Morgan has recently joined the IP department of Winston & Strawn LLP. His broad IP practice is focused on serving clients from the life sciences sector, encompassing a range of contentious and noncontentious matters. He gains recognition for his experience in conducting patent cases and advises clients on multi-jurisdictional patent litigation strategy.