France

When the Unified Patent Court comes into force, the French IP community will undoubtedly endeavour to make Paris the venue of choice for multinational rights holders – over and above Dusseldorf, Munich and London. Will this be successful? It is possible. Paris is known to have a host of judges who are extremely skilled in handling IP disputes, and what’s more, they have been turning heads lately by granting strikingly high damages. A notable number of non-practising entities are now entering the market and bringing litigation against household names. On the prosecution side, business confidence in President Emmanuel Macron’s economic plans and substantial investment in corporate start-ups from venture capital funds are generating plenty of work for agencies and keeping examiners at the National Industrial Property Institute busy.

Firms: transactions

H
Allen & Overy LLP
August Debouzy
Bird & Bird AARPI
Dentons
Gide Loyrette Nouel AARPI
Jones Day
LAVOIX
Marks & Clerk France

Firms: prosecution

Highly recommended
98
Cabinet Beau de Loménie
Cabinet Plasseraud
Recommended
H
CASALONGA
Germain & Maureau
LAVOIX
Marks & Clerk France
Novagraaf
REGIMBEAU

Firms: litigation

1
Allen & Overy LLP
August Debouzy
2
Bird & Bird AARPI
Cousin & Associés
Duclos, Thorne, Mollet-Viéville & Associés
Gide Loyrette Nouel AARPI
Hogan Lovells
Jones Day
Véron & Associés
3
Armengaud Guerlain
CASALONGA
Dentons
LAVOIX
Allen & Overy LLP
The “excellent” Allen & Overy is on a rocket ride in France – recent highlights include obtaining the full dismissal of an action brought by Ono Pharmaceuticals, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Professor Honjo against its client, Merck, in one of the first cases in the country to consider antibodies. Despite the fact that both the European Patent Office (EPO) and a UK court had ruled against Merck, so innovative and inarguable was the line of reasoning pursued by Laëtitia Bénard and David Por that the French judge felt compelled to side with them. Left truly stunned by this case, peers shower Bénard with praise: “She’s an extremely hard worker with a tremendous reputation. Her importance in the IP scene is unquestionable.” While the team is clearly most famous for its pharmaceuticals activity, Por is also raising its visibility in the electronics space. Working hand in hand with colleagues in Germany, he recently aided Archos on infringement actions brought by Philips regarding the UMTS/LTE standard, an extremely complex fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) matter with parallel litigation in three countries.
Armengaud Guerlain
The pragmatic, hands-on lawyers at Armengaud Guerlain know all the enforcement tricks in the book. Fazed by nothing, they take to the courtroom with poise and put in sublime performances time and time again. However, this does not mean that they are loath to negotiate; if settling makes commercial sense for a client, they will turn on the charm with opposing counsel. Stéphane Guerlain should be the first port of call for interested parties.
August Debouzy
August Debouzy’s stellar contentious offering is fronted by François Pochart and Grégoire Desrousseaux, but also undergirded by a team of in-house engineers, who provide top-notch technical assistance on abstruse disputes in the healthcare and telecoms sectors. This synergy results in steadfast courtroom support that ticks all the right boxes. “Pochart is one of the best practitioners in France, if not the best.” He recently led Teva to a commercially crucial victory against Warner Lambert and Pfizer in a second medical use claim. Desrousseaux is “someone who never wastes time. He gets straight to the point; everything he says and does is crystal clear”. Orange and Peugeot Citroën are two household names that swear by him. Outside of the courtroom, Pochart and Desrousseaux also maintain a thriving transactional practice; their business savvy and interpersonal skills ensure that lucrative contracts are inked with minimal fuss.
Bird & Bird AARPI
Comprising 18 astute IP practitioners, Bird & Bird’s practice is one of the largest in the country. What is more, it effortlessly straddles the contentious/non-contentious divide; wall-to-wall support is the name of the game, all applications are drafted with due consideration of how they might be attacked in court and cases fought with full knowledge of nitty-gritty details of the invention. Anne-Charlotte Le Bihan and Yves Bizollon are always the first names on the team sheet. Le Bihan’s straight-up, sharp-shooting licensing and enforcement counsel has earned her the patronage of Technicolor, Unibeton and Edwards Lifesciences. Her comrade-in-arms Bizollon recently showcased his sharp analytical skills representing Actelion Pharmaceuticals on a case against Icos Corporation – this brokenew ground in France by considering the application of the time limitation period to patent revocation actions.
Cabinet Beau de Loménie
The first IP firm to create a comprehensive index of patents, Cabinet Beau de Loménie has been ahead of the curve since 1930 – and it shows no signs of letting up. The side now has offices in Paris, Lille, Lyon and Marseille, as well as two in Germany and one in the United Kingdom, enabling it to handle multi-jurisdictional matters with aplomb. The team files approximately 2,000 French and European patent applications annually for a highly diverse clientele, ranging from innovative start-ups to Asian titans. Didier Intes, Pierre Balesta and Philippe Hubert are all safe bets. Intes and Balesta dispatch even the most challenging mechanics mandates effortlessly, while Hubert is committed to the cost-effective prosecution of elaborate chemistry patents.
Cabinet Plasseraud
Synthesising impeccable technical knowledge with a modern, down-to-earth outlook, Cabinet Plasseraud has won favour among waves of national and international rights holders, especially start-ups. It has a special team dedicated to innovative, early-stage companies and relishes building its clients' portfolios brick by brick, providing close analysis of the competition and any potential obstacles. Didier Boulinguiez is a cogent choice.
CASALONGA
With its headquarters in Paris supported by impressive offices in Munich and Alicante, CASALONGA serves up a supreme suite of services; filing, right transfers and high-profile litigation are all handled with the utmost flair and finesse. Gerard Dossmann and Francis Zapalowicz lead the way for prosecution and portfolio management. Their appreciation of the pressures clients face and constant availability allow for easy, effortless collaboration. Having spent six years assisting with the training of examiners at the EPO, Dossmann knows exactly what makes an airtight application, while Zapalowicz’s experience as a research and development engineer in the aerospace industry immediately endears him to inventors. Arnaud Casalonga picks up the bat on contentious matters – and really lets swing. Having spent 25 years at the IP coalface, his practice has been sharpened to a razor’s edge. Supplementary protection certificate issues are one of his notable fortes.
Cousin & Associés
Over the last few years nimble IP litigation boutique Cousin & Associés has been on a roll, notching up a string of landmark victories that belies its four-partner size. The unassailable team has the out-of-the-box thinking and encyclopaedic case law knowledge to take anyone on. Not shy of entering uncharted territory, name partner Pierre Cousin really plies his trade at the frontier of patent law. He gets to grips with the intricate facts of a case in no time at all and nets results that seemed impossible when the issue first surfaced. His dedication and enterprising spirit are shared by teammate Sandrine Bouvier-Ravon, another fearsome fighter who is afraid of no one. She lectures and publishes widely, sharing her wisdom with the legal community.
Dentons
The global capabilities that Dentons brings to the party on top of intimate sector knowledge and hands-on customer service makes for an offer that is hard to refuse. Even when under the sort of pressure that would cripple others, the Dentons team produces flawless work on budget and on time. Captain David Masson leads by example. Knowing exactly what will cut the mustard in a critical telecoms case, he maintains a hotline to major multinationals; standard-essential patent issues are bread and butter for him. Having spent a lot of time in the firm’s Dubai office, Isabelle Leroux knows precisely what rights holders in the Middle East and Asia want from outside counsel. She always finds the time to conduct face-to-face meetings with clients and never loses sight of their wider objectives. New recruit Marianne Schaffner can be relied on to contrive incisive, informed litigation strategies in the healthcare and chemistry spaces.
Duclos, Thorne, Mollet-Viéville & Associés
For over 50 years, Duclos, Thorne, Mollet-Viéville & Associés has been listening carefully to clients and reworking its service accordingly. It is hard to imagine a team that better understands business reality; to ensure that all advice makes commercial sense, its IP whizzes routinely seek out a second opinion from their corporate colleagues. Thierry Mollet-Viéville and Thomas Cuche form the spine of the patent practice. The shrewd, tactically astute Mollet-Viéville is among the most distinguished pharmaceutical litigators in the country. He has the nifty footwork to outwit even the most steadfast of defenders and find the back of the net against all odds. Cuche always gets right into the thick of the action too. His powers of recall are the talk of the town; even the most experienced opposing counsel do not dare to contradict him on hard facts.
Germain & Maureau
Founded in 1849, Germain & Maureau has a rich history. Its “extremely professional” IP squad has helped thousands of clients – from start-ups through multinationals to government bodies – secure their inventions and then go on to monetise them. With five offices across the country (in Grenoble, Marseille, Lyon, Paris and Saint-Etienne), not to mention three abroad, it really knows the lay of the land and is never more than a stone’s throw from the domestic operations of its clients. A pleasure to work with, prosecution pro Frédéric Gaillarde has a natural ability for explaining things clearly and concisely. He has a particular affinity for deciphering civil engineering conundrums.
Gide Loyrette Nouel AARPI
Business law firm Gide Loyrette Nouel never disappoints the diverse array of rights holders that come from far and wide to sample its finely calibrated IP support. Portfolios are expertly optimised with contracts that keep on giving by the likes of Arnaud Michel. He has the transactional shrewdness to secure outstanding licensing terms. When the call comes with news of a conflagration, Grégoire Triet is the first on the scene. He is second to none in terms of enforcement experience. Fellow litigators Emmanuel Larere and Raphaëlle Dequiré-Portier are not wet behind the ears either. Both have a complete command of life sciences issues and the sort of drive and determination that earns them respect from everyone they meet, whether friend or foe.
Hogan Lovells
Hogan Lovells’ global IP practice is home to approximately 400 fee earners – a number reflecting just how committed the firm is to this practice area – with 22 of these based in Paris. A typical day sees the squad preparing watertight pleadings, bouncing ideas off each other and liaising with colleagues in foreign offices to give clients the edge in touch-and-go multi-jurisdictional battles. Stanislas Roux-Vaillard is currently involved in one such case for Eli Lilly in London. A generic attack on its oncology product Alimta, it is the first to have a single EU court decide the fate of foreign patents. When not working on this, he has been skilfully representing SNF, Hollister and Bristol-Myers Squibb. “Stanislas has deep knowledge of domestic IP legislation and foreign case law, which he obviously follows very carefully. He is widely regarded as one of the most prominent attorneys at law of his generation – he didn’t become the head of Hogan Lovells’ Paris patent practice by chance.” “Rights holders like to work with HOYNG ROKH MONEGIER because all its lawyers are reliable and well informed about the law and work extremely quickly. It’s apparent how much in-house counsel appreciate their attitude and how convenient they make things.” Having offices abroad in Germany, Spain, the Netherlands and Belgium, the firm has the wherewithal to take on sprawling cross-border cases without breaking a sweat. Denis Monégier du Sorbier has certainly laid the smack down on opposing counsel in his fair share of pharmaceutical and telecoms cases. “He has outstanding patent litigation experience and pitch-perfect knowledge of complex technical issues. The way he presents issues in writing as well as orally in court hearings is incredible.” His teammate Benoît Strowel comes in for reams of praise too. “He’s incredibly impressive – especially in regard to French pharmaceutical marketing approvals and the pricing and reimbursement process and the interplay that has with litigation.” Du Sorbier and Strowel recently stepped in and took over a FRAND case for Core Wireless from another firm after it lost at first instance. It is no surprise that the telecoms giant turned to these two hard-hitting litigators to take the reins to try to save the day.
Jones Day
The December 2016 signing of Thomas Bouvet was a huge coup for Jones Day. Over the last 12 months he has taken the firm’s patent practice to a whole new level. Not one to waste time, he got stuck in straight away and has already handled sensitive cases for Coloplast, Star Fruits and the Department of Agriculture and Food of Western Australia and Naos. “Thomas is a top-notch litigator whose courtroom presentations are incredible.” He was warmly welcomed by longstanding anchor of the practice Emmanuel Baud, who has seen nearly everything there is to see in the courtroom. His calendar features pending Supreme Court proceedings for the BCPE bank consortium. With these two working under one roof – and assistance from allies in the firm’s 44-office network only a phone call or email away – the future looks bright for Jones Day.
LAVOIX
The only firm to feature on all three tables in the France section of the IAM Patent 1000 for 2018, LAVOIX offers a cradle-to-grave service covering all phases of the patent lifecycle and is known for handing matters exquisitely. A suite of innovative software tools – IPDATA², EasySTAMP, EasyPATENT and EasyINFORM – make things a breeze for clients, enabling them to consult portfolios online in a totally secure environment and effortlessly prove prior existence and integrity in the event of litigation. Having worked for four years as an examiner at the EPO, Gérard Myon has an intimate understanding of the nuances of proceedings. Philippe Blot dazzles in the mechanical and electrical areas, and Stéphanie Michiels brings in-house experience at a major pharmaceuticals company to the table.
Marks & Clerk France
Established in 2005 by former heads of the IP team of a well-known electronics group, Marks & Clerk prides itself on marrying unique industry and R&D experience with hands-on, highly personalised customer service. In its salient area of expertise – electronics, IT and telecoms – it has filed a staggering 3,500 European patent applications. Co-managing partner Christian Nguyen-Van-Yen is particularly prolific. He is a safe pair of hands who manages to make something of even the most ambitious applications.
Novagraaf
Novagraaf is a whirlwind force in prosecution and portfolio management. Its 35 shrewd, commercially minded patent practitioners work hand in glove with clients to create incisive, informed strategies that reap long-term results. With 16 offices across Europe, it is particularly well-positioned to handle matters before the EPO. Entrepreneurs, start-ups and multinationals have all sent work Novagraaf’s way; dedicated life sciences, mechanics and electronics teams ensure that everyone receives the red-carpet treatment. Adrien Metivet is an ever-reliable choice.
REGIMBEAU
REGIMBEAU never fails to impress with its fleet-footed, precise and business-minded IP support. Pooling their vast collective expertise, its patent pros successfully frame applications so as to sidestep competitors’ existing rights and devise far-sighted portfolio management strategies. The “seriousness and immense experience” of life sciences stars Francis Ahner and Frédérique Faivre Petit is particularly appreciated. An honorary president of the International Federation of Intellectual Property Attorneys, Ahner is a distinguished member of the global IP community. Having worked for a major pharmaceutical group, Petit is familiar with the industry’s unique pressure points. She is approachable, responsive and always on top of the latest developments. Santarelli puts its clients first, with well-wrought, commercially sound assistance at a flexible price. The menu of services runs from filing through licensing all the way to enforcement – and head honcho Luc Santarelli is comfortable handling the lot. His spell as a telecoms engineer still shapes the way he sees the world; unlike some litigators, he is more than happy to chew over the technical minutiae of a cutting-edge invention with clients. His partner Thierry Caen is an “exceptional” patent attorney with “real expertise” in the pharmaceuticals area. He savours the challenge of getting a patent for a potentially game-changing biotech invention. Beyond these two old hands, the firm also has an administrative wing with over 20 paralegals who tackle routine tasks so that Santarelli and Caen can focus all their attention on testing issues.
Véron & Associés
“Véron & Associés is unquestionably a top firm with impressive visibility in the market and some superb patent lawyers. Competitors appreciate having it on the other side; it’s always a redoubtable opponent.” The much-acclaimed litigation boutique has a feel for how to provide judges with a clear understanding of the subject matter at hand; working closely with scientific experts and graphic designers, it produces clear visual aids, such as charts and animations, that adeptly highlight the essential issues. Sabine Agé is one of the best-known contentious stars in the country. “She is an absolutely excellent lawyer – top in her field. There aren’t many individuals as comfortable considering the international elements of complex cases as she is.” Amandine Métier joins her in the IAM Patent 1000 for 2018. “Having deep knowledge of the French legal system, she handles cases with great aplomb.” She is not one to pull punches in the courtroom, but is totally at home handling arbitration proceedings too.

Luminaries

Pierre Véron - Véron & Associés

Individuals: transactions

Emmanuel Baud - Jones Day
Grégoire Desrousseaux - August Debouzy
Antoine Gautier-Sauvagnac - Foucaud Tchekhoff Pochet et Associés
Emmanuel Gougé - Pinsent Masons
Julien Horn - De Gaulle Fleurance & Associés
Anne-Charlotte Le Bihan - Bird & Bird AARPI
Bertrand Liard - White & Case LLP
Arnaud Michel - Gide Loyrette Nouel AARPI
Christian Nguyen-Van-Yen - Marks & Clerk France
François Pochart - August Debouzy
Marianne Schaffner - Dentons

Individuals: prosecution

Francis Ahner - REGIMBEAU
Pierre Balesta - Cabinet Beau de Loménie
Philippe Blot - LAVOIX
Thierry Caen - Santarelli
Anne Desaix - Ernest Gutmann - Yves Plasseraud SA
Gerard Dossmann - CASALONGA
Frédérique Faivre Petit - REGIMBEAU
Renaud Fulconis - Bandpay & Greuter
Frédéric Gaillarde - Germain & Maureau
Philippe Hubert - Cabinet Beau de Loménie
Didier Intes - Cabinet Beau de Loménie
Stéphanie Michiels - LAVOIX
Gérard Myon - LAVOIX
Fabienne Orsini - Coralis Harle Phelip
Luc Santarelli - Santarelli
François Tanty - Nony & Partners
Francis Zapalowicz - CASALONGA

Individuals: litigation

Sabine Agé - Véron & Associés
Laëtitia Bénard - Allen & Overy LLP
Pierre Cousin - Cousin & Associés
Grégoire Desrousseaux - August Debouzy
Thierry Mollet-Viéville - Duclos, Thorne, Mollet-Viéville & Associés
Denis Monégier du Sorbier - HOYNG ROKH MONEGIER
François Pochart - August Debouzy
Denis Schertenleib - Cabinet Schertenleib
Grégoire Triet - Gide Loyrette Nouel AARPI
Yves Bizollon - Bird & Bird AARPI
Thomas Bouvet - Jones Day
Arnaud Casalonga - CASALONGA
Marina Cousté - Simmons & Simmons LLP
Anne-Charlotte Le Bihan - Bird & Bird AARPI
Arnaud Michel - Gide Loyrette Nouel AARPI
David Por - Allen & Overy LLP
Stanislas Roux-Vaillard - Hogan Lovells
Benoît Strowel - HOYNG ROKH MONEGIER
Cyrille Amar - Amar Goussu Staub
Emmanuel Baud - Jones Day
Celine Bey - Gowling WLG
Sandrine Bouvier-Ravon - Cousin & Associés
Alain Cléry - Cléry Devernay
Thomas Cuche - Duclos, Thorne, Mollet-Viéville & Associés
Emmanuel de Marcellus - Cabinet de Marcellus & Disser
Pauline Debre - Linklaters LLP
Raphaëlle Dequiré-Portier - Gide Loyrette Nouel AARPI
Julien Fréneaux - BARDEHLE PAGENBERG SELAS
Jean-Frederic Gaultier - Taliens
Antoine Gautier-Sauvagnac - Foucaud Tchekhoff Pochet et Associés
Florent Guilbot - Guilbot Avocat
Jean-François Guillot - Guillot de Haas
Julien Horn - De Gaulle Fleurance & Associés
Francois Jonqueres - Reed Smith LLP
Emmanuel Larere - Gide Loyrette Nouel AARPI
Isabelle Leroux - Dentons
David Masson - Dentons
Amandine Métier - Véron & Associés
Stefan Naumann - Hughes Hubbard & Reed
Jean-Yves Plaçais - Cabinet Netter
Luc Santarelli - Santarelli
Marianne Schaffner - Dechert LLP
Dariusz Szleper - Szleper Henry Avocats
Frank Valentin - Atlana Law
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Issue 91