Ireland

Irish law firms and businesses have been following the fall-out from Brexit very closely. While it is feared that the country’s exporters may suffer initially, the hope is that foreign direct investment will increase and the economy will benefit significantly in the longer term. As Dublin’s thriving start-up scene continues to flourish and the pharmaceutical sector remains a rich source of work, there is considerable cause for optimism. The importance of international ties – across Europe and the United States – and a cosmopolitan ethos will likely become increasingly important.

Firms: litigation and transactions

1
A&L Goodbody
William Fry
2
Arthur Cox
Arthur Cox
ByrneWallace
DFMG Solicitors
Mason Hayes & Curran
McCann FitzGerald
WhitneyMoore

Firms: prosecution

1
FRKelly
Tomkins & Co
2
Anne Ryan & Co
Cruickshank
MacLachlan & Donaldson
PURDYLUCEY Intellectual Property
A&L Goodbody
A&L Goodbody has long had a resolutely global outlook: it was the first Irish law firm to set up a US office and now has three outposts across the Atlantic, in New York, San Francisco and Palo Alto. It is thus ideally placed to help US corporates to avail themselves of the many commercial opportunities in Ireland, and vice versa. In another forward-thinking move, it recently established a dedicated fintech team to position itself at the vanguard of this burgeoning field. The firm’s pharmaceutical practice is also going full throttle; highlights in this regard include defending Pfizer in the Irish leg of a multi-jurisdictional patent suit brought by GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals concerning meningitis B vaccine technology. Leading on this matter, the seasoned John Whelan heads the IP and technology group. A life sciences sage with keen transactional nous, he has also put in many a persuasive performance in the courtroom in his time.
Anne Ryan & Co
Pharmaceuticals and biotechnology are strongholds for the scientifically savvy Anne Ryan & Co, which serves up first-class patent filing and prosecution counsel to a panoply of industry heavyweights. Since its opened its doors in 1989, it has become a familiar sight at the Irish Patent Office and the European Patent Office (EPO); its encyclopaedic knowledge of the Patent Cooperation Treaty regime also proves invaluable for companies seeking to protect their rights overseas. Name partner Anne Ryan is a meticulous IP maven who drafts with finesse and keeps commercial objectives at the forefront of her mind.
Arthur Cox
“Arthur Cox is one of Ireland’s top law firms. It is especially strong in the tech space.” With over 100 partners in total, it has the necessary firepower to make light work of cross-border matters for some of the world’s biggest players. The highly respected patent team monetises portfolios with maximum impact and pursues litigation with tenacity and determination – but only when it is in the client’s long-term interests. David O'Donohoe is “extremely busy in the contentious space; he is doing fantastic work and has a proven track record dealing with medical devices disputes. His reputation is well known”.
ByrneWallace
“ByrneWallace has growing renown as a law firm of excellence in Ireland – and that’s well deserved.” Transactions are a forte: its practitioners take a no-stone-unturned approach to due diligence and are rigorous in their scrutiny of the fine print of licences, while their flair for negotiation clinches fantastic results for clients. They perform equally adeptly in the courtroom and never shy away from a sensible fight. Heading the life sciences team, Colin Sainsbury is “a pragmatic lawyer who delivers solutions cut to purpose and brings important regulatory advice to the table. He is strong in enforcement and transactional matters, commercially minded and really understands how best to advise companies”.
Cruickshank
Cost-effective boutique Cruickshank is a vibrant force on the Irish IP landscape. Advanced technical expertise translates into transparent, practical counsel. An intimate familiarity with the workings of the EPO has made the firm a popular choice among multinationals. Having chalked up some 40 years at the IP coalface, Donal O'Connor has served as president of the Licensing Executives Society UK and Ireland and also holds an MBA. Rights holders keep his number on speed dial so that they can pick his razor-sharp business brain in times of crisis.
DFMG Solicitors
DFMG’s ongoing success is due in no small part to the tireless efforts of the “excellent” Patricia McGovern, who heads its IP practice, as well as its corporate and commercial groups. She is “fantastic at what she does – very knowledgeable and extremely reliable”. Having assisted companies with scores of public listings and takeovers in her 27 years of practice, she now has a sixth sense on how best to extract greatest value from patent portfolios. She is current chair of the Irish Law Society to boot.
FRKelly
Over the past 80 years, FRKelly has cemented its status as a true IP powerhouse. It has a particular affinity for the needs of start-ups and research institutions, which appreciate its personable, personalised service delivered at a sensitive price point. Managing partner Maura O'Connell is a life sciences doyenne who deftly escorts clients through oppositions and appeals before the EPO. Internet whizz David Brophy counts telecommunications and software as key provinces; he served on the EPO’s Examination Committee for the European qualifying examination and so knows what makes for a top patent attorney. A physicist by training, Philip Coyle is a favourite of US entities with European interests, assisting them with briefs on both sides of the contentious/non-contentious divide. Clients regularly turn to Anna Hally to safeguard their innovations in the life sciences space; she is also an authority on supplementary protection certificates and plant variety rights. With an office in China, native Italian, German, French and Chinese speakers among its ranks, and a laser focus on software, robotics and mechanical engineering, Hanna Moore + Curley is a prime pick for international tech companies. It has lately been assisting with the development of exciting new technologies in the medical devices and pharmaceutical spaces. Since it commenced operations in 2003, it has prosecuted over 5,000 European patent applications and racked up a striking record of successes before the EPO Board of Appeal – many of which bear the fingerprints of Barry Moore. “Barry is top notch at dealing with the EPO. He stays on top of changes to the law and new trends, and his advocacy is very effective. He comes up with creative solutions to work through issues with specific examiners, managing to establish useful relationships with them while still being a valuable advocate for his clients.” A previous stint at IBM has given Conor Boyce unique in-house experience; his strategic nous and commercial insights are treasured by a slew of software companies. Donnacha Curley is an electronic engineering virtuoso with an international outlook and the technical know-how to put together watertight applications. He also has a gift for helping start-ups to achieve their exit ambitions; he recently assisted Movidius – which he has worked closely with since its founding more than a decade ago – on its €355 million acquisition by Intel. Peter Hanna has been an influential figure on the IP scene for three decades now; he lectures widely and, as a computer programmer in a past life, speaks the language of start-ups.
MacLachlan & Donaldson
Renowned for its hands-on, tailored service, MacLachlan & Donaldson comes up with on-point, on-budget solutions to non-contentious problems of all shapes and sizes. Its attentive, pragmatic members shepherd clients through all stages of the patent lifecycle with a sure hand to secure the optimal commercial results. Licensing and technology transfers are notable strengths. Denis McCarthy is a down-to-earth material sciences ace with a thriving EPO practice. Teammate Yvonne McKeown has a PhD in molecular biology and comes into her own drafting patent applications in the life sciences field.
Mason Hayes & Curran
Mason Hayes & Curran has been making headlines in the IP litigation arena with a wave of high-stakes cases for pharmaceutical titans. A standout is its representation of Teva in patent revocation proceedings against Boehringer Ingelheim International before the Commercial Court and the Court of Appeal – the first ever case in the country involving the issue of confidentiality clubs and discovery. The firm has also been busy in the transactional space, and counts M&A and joint venture creation as fortes. The recruitment of Gerard Kelly from Matheson in 2014 has proved a smart move and has considerably elevated the firm’s standing in the eyes of peers: “Gerard is phenomenal – a true sector specialist. To have focused and developed his expertise the way he has is remarkable.” With impeccable technical knowledge, he wows judges and rivals alike in the Irish Court of Appeal, the Commercial Court and the Supreme Court.
McCann FitzGerald
Intellectual property is a central pillar at celebrated commercial ensemble McCann FitzGerald, which is home to a superb patent litigation practice. “It’s a fantastic firm. Working with them, you know you will be in safe hands.” Pharmaceuticals aficionado Fiona O'Beirne has duked it out in cross-border battles for over 20 years. One peer comments: “She covers it all. She is an extremely strong professional, whom I would happily refer work to if I had a conflict.” Life sciences expert Roddy Bourke is another redoubtable litigator who also has a real facility for resolving heated disputes swiftly and painlessly through mediation.
PURDYLUCEY Intellectual Property
Lightning-fast turnaround times and percipient counsel are hallmarks of the service at PurdyLucey Intellectual Property. Life sciences, information and communications technology and medical devices are sectors of choice; co-founders Barry Purdy and Michael Lucey have won the enduring loyalty of players of all stripes in these industries. Having previously worked at Unilever, Purdy has first-hand insight into the needs of clients; while Lucey is equally at home devising shrewd filing strategies for high-potential start-ups as at representing household names before the EPO.
Tomkins & Co
Tomkins & Co has established itself as a potent presence on the non-contentious scene since it set up shop in 1930 and today its star remains firmly on the ascendant. The revered boutique is a polished performer before both the Irish Patent Office and the EPO, with a prestigious client roster drawn from a diverse spread of sectors. Its unique web portal, Bellamy, gives clients effortless 24/7 access to their portfolios. Cathal Lane takes a multi-disciplinary approach to intellectual property; communicating with clients’ tax advisers every step of the way, he excels at dreaming up lucrative portfolio management strategies. Entities with biotechnology and medical devices patents routinely call on Christina Gates for her famously rigorous drafting. The ingenious Olivia Catesby is a skilled physicist who marries a keen scientific mind with real business acumen.
WhitneyMoore
When companies find themselves facing down tricky litigation, they often call in the cavalry in the form of WhitneyMoore. The firm has a knack for securing favourable results before both the Commercial Court and the High Court. As the exclusive Irish member of the extensive Meritas network – which comprises over 170 law firms worldwide – it also has many friends to call on for assistance when multi-jurisdictional matters arise. The “top-tier” Aoife Murphy is a “fantastic professional” with abundant courtroom experience.
William Fry
“William Fry has been involved in loads of landmark cases. You can send work there and trust it will be in safe hands.” The much-respected commercial outfit has boots on the ground in London, New York, Silicon Valley and San Francisco, making it a fine choice for transatlantic corporations. Enforcement is the cornerstone of its patent practice, and responsiveness and creativity characterise its service. Commercial Court regular “Carol Plunkett is an extremely experienced patent litigator. She has been around for a very long time and absolutely knows her stuff”. Laura Scott co-heads the life sciences and healthcare practice. She has in-depth insight into the biotech and medical devices sectors, and recently represented Boston Scientific in vital patent infringement proceedings. Leo Moore is a software savant with a unique understanding of the fast-moving fields of e-commerce, cloud computing and fintech. The personable David Cullen is another online maven; he knows digital markets inside out and is a smooth operator at the negotiating table.

Individuals: prosecution

Conor Boyce - Hanna Moore + Curley
David Brophy - FRKelly
Olivia Catesby - Tomkins & Co
Philip Coyle - FRKelly
Donnacha Curley - Hanna Moore + Curley
Maureen Daly - BEAUCHAMPS
Christina Gates - Tomkins & Co
Anna Hally - FRKelly
Peter Hanna - Hanna Moore + Curley
Cathal Lane - Tomkins & Co
Michael Lucey - PURDYLUCEY Intellectual Property
Denis McCarthy - MacLachlan & Donaldson
Yvonne McKeown - MacLachlan & Donaldson
Barry Moore - Hanna Moore + Curley
Maura O'Connell - FRKelly
Donal O'Connor - Cruickshank
Barry Purdy - PURDYLUCEY Intellectual Property
Anne Ryan - Anne Ryan & Co

Individuals: litigation and transactions

Patricia McGovern - DFMG Solicitors
Aoife Murphy - WhitneyMoore
Fiona O'Beirne - McCann FitzGerald
Carol Plunkett - William Fry
John Whelan - A&L Goodbody
Roddy Bourke - McCann FitzGerald
David Cullen - William Fry
Maureen Daly - BEAUCHAMPS
Gerard Kelly - Mason Hayes & Curran
Leo Moore - William Fry
David O'Donohoe - Arthur Cox
Alistair Payne - Acuatus
Colin Sainsbury - ByrneWallace
Laura Scott - William Fry
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Issue 87