Norway

Patent litigation in Norway continues to step up the pace: while the larger law firms are invariably instructed on must-win suits, agencies are increasingly picking up smaller cases. Filings are on the rise too, with domestic enterprises placing greater importance on the protection of their intellectual property. Despite this healthy uptick in activity, firms have had to become increasingly flexible and transparent on pricing to capture greater market share, as budgets remain tight across the board. Though the jurisdiction will not participate in the Unified Patent Court system, its impending introduction is prompting service providers to think long and hard about how best to advise clients with EU interests.

Firms: litigation and transactions

1
Advokatfirmaet Grette DA
BA-HR
Wikborg Rein
2
Advokatfirmaet Thommessen AS
Schjødt
3
Advokatfirmaet Haavind AS
Arntzen de Besche Advokatfirma AS
Bryn Aarflot AS
Kvale Advokatfirma DA

Firms: prosecution

H
Acapo AS
Bryn Aarflot AS
Håmsø Patentbyrå ANS
Protector IP Consultants AS
Tandbergs Patentkontor AS
Acapo AS
Bustling boutique Acapo is a first port of call for innovators seeking assistance with a range of non-contentious matters, including patent searches, applications, drafting and administrative proceedings. The fish farming and offshore oil industries are a particular focus for this set, which boasts ample national coverage: its Oslo head office is supported by boots on the ground in Bergen and Trondheim, with all three locations seamlessly connected by state-of-the-art electronic management systems. Head of patents Gunnar Nilsen Søndersrød has been in the IP business for over 45 years. Having previously served as an examiner at the Norwegian Industrial Property Office and as in-house counsel, Søndersrød views briefs from all angles to secure optimal results.
Advokatfirmaet Grette DA
The “skilful, experienced and observant” IP team at Grette stands out from the crowd for its sterling track record in patent litigation. With strength across all areas of commercial law, it is also a star performer on high-rolling transactional mandates. Major pharmaceuticals players turn to it for support in cases relating to biosimilars and supplementary protection certificates (SPCs) which push the patent law envelope; the firm also has a solid foothold in the oil and gas and fish farming industries. First among equals is Ida Gjessing, “a key IP counsel who can get complicated issues across to judges in an elegant and pedagogic way”; the top-tier litigator is a versatile practitioner who can also get signatures on the bottom line of IP-rich transactions and licensing agreements. Drawing praise from all corners, Amund Brede Svendsen “absolutely knows his stuff in disputes”; while Svein Ruud Johansen’s astute approach to IP protection reaps immediate rewards for clients.
Advokatfirmaet Haavind AS
The IP squad at full-service outfit Haavind is dedicated to adding value for clients through shrewd management and exploitation of their intangible assets. Notwithstanding the recent loss of a couple of key practitioners, the set remains a persuasive contender on the Norwegian IP scene, particularly when it comes to life sciences and food and beverage mandates. Leading the patent charge is the “eminently capable” Håkon Bleken: “A creative operator, he never ceases to impress with new ways of arguing and can easily use case law for clients’ advantage.”
Advokatfirmaet Thommessen AS
With a phalanx of talented associates supporting highly experienced partners, business law firm Thommessen provides IP clients with contentious services of the highest calibre. It blazes a trail in the life sciences and oil and gas sectors and, with a busy Bergen base augmenting its Oslo operations, is carving a growing niche in the fish farming industry. Captaining the IP division, the “extremely capable” Camilla Vislie knows what it takes to prevail in hard-fought multinational clashes. She recently spearheaded a team representing Idenix Pharmaceuticals in the Norwegian part of a major invalidity case relating to a new cure for flaviviridae viruses – one of the first invalidity disputes in Norway to focus on grounds such as insufficiency and plausibility. Bergen office chief Eirik Raanes enters the IAM Patent 1000 for the first time this year: his decisive defence of the SPC covering a viral vaccine developed by Intervet International was a recent highlight.
Arntzen de Besche Advokatfirma AS
The deep industry knowledge amassed by Arntzen de Besche’s erudite lawyers makes it a fine choice for clients seeking expert guidance on transactional and licensing mandates. It has a real flair for value creation for embryonic start-ups; oil and gas and life sciences are particularly happy hunting grounds. Having recently assisted on Entekhab Group’s acquisition of expandable polystyrene technology company Averis and provided vital insight on employee inventions to agricultural industry leader Animalia, Espen Sandvik is the set’s standout IP man.
BA-HR
Commercial heavyweight BA-HR’s flagship IP practice pulls no punches in bringing fraught litigation to a favourable end and maximising profits for rights holders through multifaceted deals. A staunch defender of pharmaceutical and biotechnology innovators, the set recently achieved a significant victory for Genentech in a dispute relating to monoclonal antibody cancer treatment Herceptin – the first case in Norway to address the validity of a combination therapy patent. It also saw Gilead through a protracted patent revocation suit against Idenix – a battle which featured multiple parallel litigations. Taking the lead on both of these matters was Are Stenvik. Head of the department and perhaps Norway’s foremost IP professional, Stenvik “is the key counsel, and really the only person worth using, for pharmaceutical clients on the originator side tackling litigation in Norway. There is no one above and no one besides him”. Forming a formidable team with Stenvik on the Gilead matter, and masterminding lawsuits in the oil and gas industries for the likes of Baker Hughes, the “skilful and knowledgeable” Gunnar Sørlie has chalked up a string of ground-breaking wins throughout his distinguished career.
Bryn Aarflot AS
Storied IP specialist Bryn Aarflot has all technical disciplines on lock, while an extensive network of alliances gives it real global reach. Perhaps best known for its prosecution prowess, the set has also been cutting a dash on the contentious scene of late and is the only firm to feature in both the prosecution and litigation and transaction listings. It recently came through with flying colours for Amer Sports, Salomon and Atomic in a crucial dispute concerning the launch of a new ski boot product which allegedly infringed two patents. Head of patents Kristine Rekdal typifies the set’s meticulous yet creative approach to IP protection. She provides shrewd strategic counsel and is a familiar face at the Norwegian Industrial Property Office and the European Patent Office (EPO).
Håmsø Patentbyrå ANS
Operating from a base in the coastal city of Sandnes, Håmsø “has a strong presence on patent prosecution within oil and gas”. More recently, it has also been focusing its attentions on the fisheries and green energy sectors – a move which is paying handsome dividends. The star of this burgeoning outfit remains firmly on the ascendant, and it has hired a further four patent attorneys and extra support staff to cope with heightened demand. Warmly applauded manager and head of legal Gunnar Håmsø is the fulcrum of the practice.
Kvale Advokatfirma DA
Commercial law outfit Kvale has earned a distinguished reputation for the results it consistently secures for domestic heavyweights in the thorniest disputes and is also a preferred choice for myriad international clients with Norwegian interests. Its potent litigation squad was further bolstered with the 2016 arrivals of highly regarded duo Anne Marie Sejersted and Marie Vaale-Hallberg. Sejersted heads the IP team: “A dedicated counsel with an impressive record, she is quick to understand and identify the most important technical aspects of patent cases. She is a star individual.” Vaale-Hallberg is an authority on all things relating to food law and life sciences and, alongside Sejersted, has also helped to take the firm’s transactional practice to the next level. With a mission to gain and maintain competitive advantage for rights holders through the judicious management of their intellectual property, Onsagers has a laser business focus and positions itself as a true partner throughout all stages of IP development. The rapidly expanding team performs particularly adroitly in the pharmaceutical, oil and gas and fisheries sectors. A “thorough and experienced professional” whose “high competence, willingness, readiness and enthusiasm” are hailed by clients and peers alike, Kari Simonsen is “a sound expert witness during litigation; no one in the Norwegian market has anything close to her experience in that regard”.
Protector IP Consultants AS
Drafting, searches and analysis and technical assistance in court proceedings are meat and drink to IP consultant Protector. Though there are few instructions that its top-notch practitioners are not equipped to handle, peers particularly recommend them for their intuitive grasp of mechanical and electronics innovations. Physical chemistry ace Bjarne Coward brings over 20 years of IP experience to the set and excels on due diligence briefs, contentious support and the development of patent strategies.
Schjødt
Premier full-service law firm Schjødt casts a long shadow on the Norwegian IP landscape. Its redoubtable litigators are famed for their skill, stamina and tactical nous; drawing on expertise from ancillary practice areas, the team also effortlessly shepherds patent-heavy deals to successful close. Biotechnology, pharmaceutical and offshore oil and gas are all strongholds. Head of dispute resolution Halvor Manshaus is a leading light whose experience in big-ticket clashes is an invaluable asset. Challenging disputes are also in safe hands with Sigurd Holter Torp, a courtroom sharpshooter and savvy adviser.
Tandbergs Patentkontor AS
Dynamic boutique Tandbergs has won many fans for its pragmatic, easily implementable counsel, delivered at a sensitive price point. Routine prosecution is dispatched with minimum fuss, while freedom to operate analysis and contentious support in disputes before the Norwegian Industrial Property Office, the EPO and various courts of law are ably provided by the technically sharp team. Head of the patent department Biplab Kumar Datta is a useful point of contact.
Wikborg Rein
Over the last 15 years the IP offering of commercial player Wikborg Rein has evolved into one of the standouts on the market. A favourite of pharmaceutical companies, the firm recently acted for Teva in a dispute relating to Boehringer Ingelheim’s blockbuster drug Spiriva, successfully having the relevant patent revoked. Offshore work is another forte: its representation of Petroleum Geo-Services in a landmark multi-jurisdictional dispute relating to electromagnetic seabed surveys is another highlight. Tenacious litigator and seasoned transactional adviser Gunnar Meyer took the lead on both of these matters: “He is a highly experienced IP lawyer with an amazingly elegant way of getting the right answer from the expert witnesses of the opposing party.” Working in tandem with Meyer on a host of complex cases, Ingvild Hanssen-Bauer “never stops impressing in her capacity to understand complex technical issues and to get the message across in court in an easily understandable way”. With 25 offices across four countries, Nordic titan Zacco boasts a unique regional footprint. Strength in depth ensures that on-point expertise is always on hand for each individual instruction, while heavy investment in its information security and innovation technology capabilities proves a further draw. Oslo-based regional director Thor Mosaker is a strategic sage whose stints at the Norwegian Industrial Property Office and in-house have given him a 360-degree perspective. An aeronautical engineer by trade, Hans Langan confidently tackles all manner of prosecution briefs in the oil and gas arena, while the percipient Anne Sønstevold is a go-to consultant for drafting, prosecution and litigation opinions in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical sectors. A recent arrival from Bryn Aarflot, Steinar Lie has boosted the set’s contentious capabilities: “His advice is always to the point and he reacts quickly and diligently to new situations.”

Individuals: transactions

Ida Gjessing - Advokatfirmaet Grette DA
Inga Kaasen - NORDIA LAW
Halvor Manshaus - Schjødt
Gunnar Meyer - Wikborg Rein
Rune Opdahl - Advokatfirmaet Wiersholm AS
Espen Sandvik - Arntzen de Besche Advokatfirma AS
Anne Marie Sejersted - Kvale Advokatfirma DA
Are Stenvik - BA-HR
Marie Vaale-Hallberg - Kvale Advokatfirma DA

Individuals: prosecution

Bjarne G Coward - Protector IP Consultants AS
Gunnar Håmsø - Håmsø Patentbyrå ANS
Gunnar Nilsen Søndersrød - Acapo AS
Kristine Rekdal - Bryn Aarflot AS
Kari Simonsen - Onsagers AS

Individuals: litigation

Ida Gjessing - Advokatfirmaet Grette DA
Halvor Manshaus - Schjødt
Gunnar Meyer - Wikborg Rein
Gunnar Sørlie - BA-HR
Are Stenvik - BA-HR
Ingvild Hanssen-Bauer - Wikborg Rein
Anne Marie Sejersted - Kvale Advokatfirma DA
Amund Brede Svendsen - Advokatfirmaet Grette DA
Camilla S Vislie - Advokatfirmaet Thommessen AS
Håkon Bleken - Advokatfirmaet Haavind AS
Sigurd Holter Torp - Schjødt
Svein Ruud Johansen - Advokatfirmaet Grette DA
Eirik W Raanes - Advokatfirmaet Thommessen AS
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Issue 87