Norway

Norway’s patent litigation surge persists, driven by an intensified desire among actors in the country’s major industries to defend their IP rights following a downturn in day-to-day business. Rights holders in the oil and gas, and fish farming sectors are engaging in more and more contentious encounters, while the already healthy market for pharmaceutical litigation is on an upward trajectory. In prosecution, most new applications still emerge from the oil and gas sector despite its slump. Yet this decline is also driving a shift among investors toward biotechnology, green technology and pharmaceuticals, with these industries accounting for a surprising proportion of firms’ non-contentious workload. An increasing volume of patent undertakings are international in origin. Validations of European patents are a notable source of income for smaller outfits, while inbound work from players across Europe, the United States and Asia continues to grow. Competition for all aspects of patent work is tough, with smaller firms having to offer more services and take on more instructions to stay competitive with larger outfits; a challenge made greater by the prospect of the implementation of the Unified Patent Court (UPC). While Norway is not party to the UPC, its lawyers are still trying to prepare for the effects of its introduction, however undefined it may currently be.

Firms: litigation and transactions

1
Advokatfirmaet Grette AS
BAHR
Wikborg Rein
2
Advokatfirmaet Thommessen AS
Kvale Advokatfirma
Schjødt
3
Advokatfirmaet Haavind AS
Arntzen de Besche Advokatfirma AS

Firms: prosecution

H
Acapo AS
Håmsø Patentbyrå AS
Onsagers AS
Protector IP Consultants AS
Tandberg Innovation
Acapo AS
Acapo’s profound IP knowledge and hands-on customer service make for an-ever popular option. From its base camp in Oslo and two further offices in Bergen and Trondheim, its patent whizzes provide round-the-clock attention and 24-carat non-contentious support. The firm’s dedicated offshore, oil and gas group has made it a favourite among international companies in a fast-moving industry. Having served as an examiner at the Norwegian Industrial Property Office (NIPO), Gunnar Nilsen Søndersrød knows precisely what makes an airtight application.
Advokatfirmaet Grette AS
“Grette has a longstanding history of excellence in intellectual property, especially when it comes to pharmaceutical litigation.” It boasts unique experience enforcing biosimilar patents and supplementary protection certificates (SPCs) but can switch gears at a moment’s notice to get great results in all manner of cases. The “fantastic” Ida Gjessing is the talk of the town. Her courtroom craft is finely calibrated and she has the interpersonal skills to put an end to third-party reluctance when it comes to getting a signature on the bottom line of a contract. Svein Ruud Johansen and Amund Brede Svendsen provide further contentious firepower. Excellent at building close relationships with senior business executives, Johansen is a super-safe pair of hands. Svendsen gets nitty-gritty technical details locked down without losing sight of the bigger picture and the narratives he presents to judges never fail to amaze.
Advokatfirmaet Haavind AS
Distinguished business bureau Haavind serves up a stellar suite of IP services – from filing through technology transfers to courtroom representation – with an unfaltering focus on the long-term commercial objectives of its clients. Life sciences and food and beverages are two particularly strong provinces. Leading by example, Håkon Bleken is a “brilliant litigator” who comes to cases as well as prepared as anyone. When scrutinising materials, he lets nothing, regardless of how minor, go unconsidered.
Advokatfirmaet Thommessen AS
Advokatfirmaet Thommessen has been making waves in Norwegian intellectual property – highlights include representing Intervet International BV/MSD Animal Health on the first SPC case to be tried in the country and supporting offshore companies Nexans and Enhanced Drilling on major infringement proceedings. Eirik Raanes and Camilla Vislie are always the first names on the team sheet. Raanes’ straight-up, sharpshooting counsel inspires confidence in clients from the get-go. Another fan favourite, Vislie has the sort of drive and determination that earns her respect among even the most hostile competitors.
Arntzen de Besche Advokatfirma AS
There are not many firms that understand business realities like Arntzen de Besche; to ensure all its advice is well received in the C-suite, its IP whizzes routinely seek out a second opinion from their corporate colleagues and read up on the latest developments in client markets every day. The transactional brilliance of Espen Sandvik is particularly appreciated. “Sandvik has a natural talent for instantly getting to grips with new technologies and an extremely clear understanding of the implications various strategic choices would have, as well as a complete command of how to word documents.” He recently assisted Nabors Industries – which owns and operates the world’s largest land-based drilling rig fleet – on its extremely valuable acquisition of Robotic Drilling Systems. His teammate Tommy Dahlen makes his debut in the IAM Patent 1000 for 2018. “He appreciates that start-ups need different things in different phases of their development. He ensures that they get exactly what they need to grow with savvy portfolio management. A lot of lawyers fail to consider intellectual property in the context of clients’ overall business – not him. He always thinks commercially.”
BAHR
“BAHR is a vastly experienced firm known for its top-notch litigation practice; its representation of originator companies specialising in generic drugs really is superb. The lawyers there have a complete command of the legislation and case law and do a great job of keeping clients apprised of the status of their cases every step of the way.” Regarded as “one of the top IP practitioners in Norway” by peers, Are Stenvik is the obvious choice. He has been busy supporting Biogen on an important patent dispute against Celltrion and Sandoz surrounding its breakthrough antibody drug MabThera. The battle-hardened Gunnar Sørlie also maintains a thriving enforcement practice working for oil and gas giants such as Statoil and Baker Hughes. He is known for his magnificent powers of recall and eloquent argumentation abilities. The only Norwegian firm to feature on both the prosecution and litigation and transactions tables in the IAM Patent 1000 2018, Bryn Aarflot is a veritable IP emporium; it renders every service imaginable. Pooling their collective experience, its army of patent aces file with finesse, exploit portfolios masterfully and extinguish infringement flames efficiently and effectively. Wearing the captain’s armband, Kristine Rekdal is an exceptional patent attorney with an affinity for electronics issues. Her appreciation of the unique day-to-day pressures of the industry and constant availability allow for seamless collaboration with clients.
Håmsø Patentbyrå AS
When it comes to clean technologies and fisheries, the Sandnes-based Håmsø Patentbyrå is as good as it gets. Its cosmopolitan, forward-looking lawyers know these markets inside out and ooze experience and common sense in every move they make; their shrewd prosecution and portfolio management makes all the difference for clients struggling for elbow room. Gunnar Håmsø is the star of the show. He goes out of his way to make things simple for business executives and is always available for a phone call or face-to-face meeting. The number of applications he has had approved at the European Patent Office (EPO) is remarkable.
Kvale Advokatfirma
The recruitment of Anne Marie Sejersted and Marie Vaale-Hallberg in June 2016 followed by Ingvild Hanssen-Bauer in September 2017 has transformed Kvale into a prime address for the commercialisation and enforcement of patents. Sejersted puts her business hat on in consultations with clients to confect licensing strategies that reap long-term results and never pulls punches in the courtroom. The time Vaale-Hallberg spent working in-house at TINE continues to inform her transactional practice. She intuits what clients are most concerned about and facilitates dazzling deals. Courtroom maven Hanssen-Bauer has the impressive ability to dig into all manner of technical issues, something that puts her in a very strong position when it comes to the cross-examination of highly skilled expert witnesses. “She is one of the most experienced IP litigators in Norway, especially regarding pharmaceutical patents.”
Onsagers AS
Onsagers hits the sweet spot when providing copybook service at a competitive rate. Its customer-focused lawyers listen carefully, chew over the options available and then devise strategies that make commercial sense. The diversity of technical specialisms within the practice means clients of all stripes are well catered for – but pharmaceuticals is a forte. With over 20 years of experience, drafting dynamo Kari Simonsen has “in-depth knowledge of both Norwegian and European patent law. She’s creative, proactive and able to provide understandable explanations of complex technical concepts. There’s no question that she’s one of the best patent attorneys around for pharmaceutical or life sciences issues.”
Protector IP Consultants AS
Rights holders entrusting Protector IP Consultants with their patents can rest assured that they will receive sharp, succinct and commercially informed counsel on budget and on time. The firm has special experience prosecuting electronic and mechanical engineering patents but knows a thing or two about monetisation as well. Bjarne Coward manages to make headway with the EPO where others would simply sink in the mud. He is precise and far-sighted in all he does.
Schjødt
Full-service titan Schjødt comes recommended for its “efficiency, straightforwardness and remarkable knowledge of clients’ industries – all advice is clear, well-founded and exact”. It has the expertise and experience to advise on all phases of the patent lifecycle, but really leaves competitors standing in infringement and invalidity proceedings. Leading the dispute resolution practice, Halvor Manshaus has a deep enforcement playbook. “He’s the best IP lawyer in Norway – maybe even the best lawyer pure and simple. There are two reasons for this. The first is the sheer breadth of his expertise. He knows the ins and outs of procedural law, case law and loads of different technologies. The second is the way he frames his advice in the context of clients’ business strategies. He really is brilliant.” His colleague Sigurd Holter Torp receives similarly effusive praise. “Torp always does a fantastic job – working very efficiently to get things done at short notice while maintaining excellent quality.” Like Manshaus, his workload features mandates from a striking array of industries.
Tandberg Innovation
Not the sort of firm that simply reacts to problems, Tandberg Innovation proactively monitors its clients’ markets, keeping communication channels open 365-days a year and routinely bringing exciting new opportunities to their attention. From filing to courtroom enforcement, everything is handled cost-effectively with flair and finesse. Department head Biplab Kumar Datta is the key name to note.
Wikborg Rein
Wikborg Rein is a trail-blazing firm with an impressive track record handling cases in all the major Norwegian industry sectors – namely oil and gas, renewables and shipping – but is no stranger to the pharmaceutical space, where lately it has been representing Teva on key infringement proceedings against Novartis and Boehringer Ingelheim. Handling these weighty matters, Gunnar Meyer is an “extremely skilled patent litigator who is always very pleasant to work with. He has a remarkable capacity for understanding complex technical issues in no time at all. Even his rivals recognise that he is one of the stars of the IP scene”. Having pleaded cases in every kind of venue, including the Supreme Court, he is fazed by nothing. With 28 offices in Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Germany and the United Kingdom – not to mention an outpost in India – Zacco has the wherewithal to provide single-source support across Northern and Western Europe; product launches are managed masterfully and cross-border enforcement campaigns waged with dogged determination. Hans Langan, Thor Mosaker and Anne Sønstevold make up the spine of the non-contentious practice. Having started his career as a project engineer in the development department at Kongsberg, Langan possesses the technical knowledge to speak to inventors in their own language. Mosaker stands out for his intimate understanding of examination proceedings at the NIPO, where he once worked, while the scientific sagacity of Sønstevold has made her a go-to practitioner in the pharmaceutical industry. Steinar Lie picks up the bat when things turn contentious. His pleadings are easy on the eye, and his oral advocacy is second to none.

Individuals: transactions

Tommy Dahlen - Arntzen de Besche Advokatfirma AS
Ida Gjessing - Advokatfirmaet Grette AS
Halvor Manshaus - Schjødt
Gunnar Meyer - Wikborg Rein
Rune Opdahl - Advokatfirmaet Wiersholm AS
Espen Sandvik - Arntzen de Besche Advokatfirma AS
Anne Marie Sejersted - Kvale Advokatfirma
Are Stenvik - BAHR
Marie Vaale-Hallberg - Kvale Advokatfirma

Individuals: prosecution

Bjarne G Coward - Protector IP Consultants AS
Gunnar Håmsø - Håmsø Patentbyrå AS
Hans Langan - Zacco
Thor Mosaker - Zacco
Gunnar Nilsen Søndersrød - Acapo AS
Kristine Rekdal - Bryn Aarflot AS
Kari Simonsen - Onsagers AS

Individuals: litigation

Ida Gjessing - Advokatfirmaet Grette AS
Halvor Manshaus - Schjødt
Gunnar Meyer - Wikborg Rein
Gunnar Sørlie - BAHR
Are Stenvik - BAHR
Ingvild Hanssen-Bauer - Kvale Advokatfirma
Svein Ruud Johansen - Advokatfirmaet Grette AS
Anne Marie Sejersted - Kvale Advokatfirma
Camilla Vislie - Advokatfirmaet Thommessen AS
Håkon Bleken - Advokatfirmaet Haavind AS
Sigurd Holter Torp - Schjødt
Steinar Lie - Zacco
Eirik W Raanes - Advokatfirmaet Thommessen AS
Amund Brede Svendsen - Advokatfirmaet Grette AS
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Issue 91