Denmark

Denmark has a thriving start-up scene, as the country’s driven entrepreneurs strive to make their mark on the Nordic market. Investor confidence is also high and the economic momentum is expected to continue in 2020. The pharmaceutical industry is still generating much of the contentious work, with biosimilars the topic of the moment: novel cases are now arising which make a change from the usual originator versus generic skirmishes and present opportunities for new faces to gain a piece of the action. Meanwhile, as clients become increasingly IP aware, attorneys at law with a focus on the life sciences are playing a more prominent role in licensing and M&A deals. The legal market had a significant shake-up this year, with the departure of several partners from Horten to establish IP-focused boutique Bugge Valentin – a change which is reflected in the rankings.

Firms: litigation and transactions

  • Bech-Bruun
  • Kromann Reumert
  • Plesner Advokatpartnerselskab
  • Accura Advokatpartnerselskab
  • Gorrissen Federspiel
  • Bugge Valentin
  • Lundgrens

Firms: prosecution

  • COPA Copenhagen Patents
  • Guardian IP Consulting I/S
  • Inspicos P/S
  • Plougmann Vingtoft
  • Aera 
  • AWA 
  • Zacco 
  • Budde Schou A/S
  • HØIBERG

Accura Advokatpartnerselskab

Partnering up with the businesses it serves, Accura aligns its advice with their wider commercial objectives and seeks to achieve mutual goals. The full-service firm is renowned for its work in the transactional space: from M&A to R&D agreements, the set consistently gets signatures on the bottom line. For example, it recently assisted multinational pharmaceutical company Leo Pharma in its worldwide acquisition of a portfolio from Bayer. The man of the hour Morten Bruus also packs a punch in litigation, having lately tackled a biosimilar patent dispute on behalf of Merck Sharp & Dohme. “His theoretical knowledge is superb and he applies it in practice to really get things moving. Pragmatic and hands-on, Morten is an excellent attorney at law.”

Aera 

“Aera is one to watch and its team has definitely made its mark on the patent landscape.” Since opening its doors in 2018, the prosecution outfit has gone from strength to strength: it has expanded into Sweden with a new Stockholm office, secured several new client wins, grown its headcount and gained two new entries in the IAM Patent 1000 this year to boot. Managing partner Nicka Kirstejn instils the troop with robust leadership. A biologist by training, he understands the needs of start-ups – having run one of his own – as well as those of multinational organisations. Kirstejn, Anders Sandgaard and Hanane Fathi Roswall “are more than just external counsel. They have a shrewd commercial mindset and their advice considers what is best for the company they are assisting as well as its bottom line”. The Sony Corporation and GN Hearing rely on electronics gurus Sandgaard and Roswall for top-drawer filings. “A meticulous style and drive to provide work of the highest standard make Per Larsen a pleasure to work with. He is really sharp and has a great network of international contacts that he can rely on if necessary, too.” Biotechnology and medical inventions ace Ylva Skoglösa injects portfolios with life and helps to hammer out lucrative licensing deals; she thrives in particular in an international setting. Recently moving her trade from Chas Hude, Marianne Johansen packs over two decades of experience and knows everything there is to know in the life sciences, as evidenced by her position as a technical judge at both the Maritime and Commercial High Court and the Western High Court. The unit struck gold when it brought Henrik Skødt on board. The former principal patent attorney at Novartis “devises winning arguments thanks to his bright mind, detail-oriented approach and clear communication”.

AWA 

With over 350 practitioners flying the AWA flag across 21 offices in six countries, the cosmopolitan ensemble is well equipped to handle multi-jurisdictional instructions. Locally, it is one of the top 10 Patent Cooperation Treaty filers – not least thanks to the efforts of its hyper-focused industry groups in the mechanics, high-technology and pharmaceutical sectors. Spearheading the Danish unit, Sidsel Hauge promotes a collaborative environment and produces work that can withstand the test of time. Colleague Eva Carlsson drafts immaculate applications for some of the world’s largest building and construction and medical technology companies. “The pair have an excellent business understanding and can advise on any situation, from invention disclosures to litigation support. They dig into the details and give clients exactly what they need to achieve the best results while remaining succinct in their communications.” Court-appointed expert and a technical judge at the Danish Maritime and Commercial High Court for mechanical IP matters, Mikkel Roed Trier is a font of wisdom when it comes to freedom to operate analyses. Making their debut in the IAM Patent 1000 are Helle Friis Svenstrup, Michael Bech Sommer and Kim Garsdal Nielsen. Svenstrup oversees the smooth operation of the biotechnology and life sciences team and utilises her research background to file and prosecute supplementary protection certificates (SPCs). Previously counsel at Lundbeck, Sommer “impresses with his in-depth knowledge of the sciences and ability to maximise the applicability of the data presented to him when drafting applications and searching for prior art”. Formerly a search examiner at the European Patent Office (EPO), Nielsen drafts watertight applications, with an emphasis on electrical engineering and renewable energy.

Bech-Bruun

“The first choice for pharmaceutical disputes in Denmark”, Bech-Bruun has a stronghold in the market: its phalanx of battle-hardened litigators emerge victorious from even the toughest of cases. A testament to its prowess is the litany of industry leaders it assists – which has recently included Samsung Bioepis, on an unprecedented biosimilar preliminary injunction matter; Orifarm in proceedings that are set to make their way to the Supreme Court; and Sandoz in spats with AstraZeneca and Eli Lilly. Playing a hand in all four matters is one of the sharpest litigators in town, Klaus Ewald Madsen. “He exceeds expectation in every brief and when he aims for the target, he never misses. Klaus thinks on his feet and is not afraid to try new things; simply put, he is unstoppable.” Life sciences and healthcare practice co-head Martin Draebye Gantzhorn’s “knowledge of legal procedures and regulatory law is astonishing. He is always able to answer complicated questions on the spot and provides thoughtful advice. To top it off, he has a great sense of humour and is a genuine pleasure to collaborate with”. Another tenacious courtroom advocate is Johnny Petersen, whose “terrific technical and commercial understanding make him a winner in tricky disputes”. When renewable energy giants need someone to fight their corner or smoothly broker a licensing deal, they call on Dan Bjerg Geary: “He consistently operates on a high level and succeeds in delivering services that reflect his in-depth experience and knowledge of the industry, all while demonstrating an understanding of the overall business.” A star on the rise and IAM Patent 1000 newcomer, Søren Chr Søborg Andersen “brings added value with his team-building and management skills. He works hard, thinks realistically and does a fantastic job”.

Budde Schou A/S

“One of Denmark’s most renowned patent attorney firms”, Budde Schou has been resolutely focused on pushing out applications of the highest quality for over a century. It takes its time to understand the companies whose assets it protects and forges meaningful relationships which translate into the strategies it devises. It also has a base in Sweden, allowing it to efficiently tackle instructions with a pan-Nordic focus. Biotechnology whizz Steen Wadskov-Hansen and life sciences guru Henriette Damsgaard are two of its leading lights. A former research fellow and R&D specialist at Chr Hansen Holding, “Wadskov-Hansen is super-prepared, always on the ball and one of the best in the business”. SPC instructions come flooding in to Damsgaard, “a sharp and hardworking team player you want to have by your side.”

Bugge Valentin

A fresh face on the Danish landscape, Bugge Valentin is generating a real buzz in the legal market. Laser focused on intellectual property, technology and marketing law, the boutique was founded by a tight-knit team of former Horten heavy-hitters who can engineer optimal results on the trickiest of briefs. “A leading litigator, Anders Valentin is always on top of his cases and approaches them with a creative mind. He is a phenomenal strategist and one of the most convincing lawyers the courts have seen to date.” Valentin and of counsel Ole Damsbo recently went out to bat on behalf of Illumina; and also supported generics company Chemo in the rollout of its new product. Damsbo has been a key figure on the patent scene for over three decades and acts as a vital sounding board for colleagues.

COPA Copenhagen Patents

“Always ready to innovate and come up with incredible strategies, the dynamic and devoted group at COPA never fails to impress.” Although the nimble boutique set up shop only a few years ago, it has since become impossible to discuss the Danish prosecution market without mentioning its name. Heading up the life sciences team, Mikkel Bender “opts for a more informal approach and really levels with his clients. He is more than happy to brainstorm and comes up with solutions that make sense”. Post-grant proceedings are a speciality, and an area in which Steven Richard Kitchen and Axel Heimann shine. Oral proceedings at the EPO are dealt with flawlessly by Kitchen, who heads the mechanics, electronics and software unit. “Heimann gets into the nitty-gritty of each matter and prepares both himself and his clients for every legal process they are about to embark on”; fluency in German is an added bonus.  A technical judge at the Danish Eastern High Court and the Maritime and Commercial High Court, Peter Kim Jensen has an intimate understanding of engineering technologies and is a crucial ally when it comes to litigation support. Medical devices maestro Jacob Karstad Meyland acquits himself with distinction whether drafting applications or conducting freedom to operate analyses for both start-ups and multinational corporations.

Gorrissen Federspiel

“A first-rate and prominent firm, Gorrissen Federspiel is undoubtedly brilliant.” The commercial law outfit has over 260 lawyers standing by to fight infringement fires as and when they crop up across a multitude of sectors. It prides itself on its versatility and can draw on a wealth of resources across the firm to ensure that clients receive thoughtful, holistic advice. Kenneth Kvistgaard-Aaholm and Jacob Ørndrup are fundamental cornerstones of its contentious offering. “Solutions oriented and responsive, Kenneth is extremely professional and sophisticated. His knowledge of IP law spans to the United States and he understands the technical issues in each matter on a deeper level. He also builds strong relationships with patrons and makes each task a priority.” Life sciences sage “Ørndrup has a keen sense for assessing key risks and identifying easily applicable solutions to mitigate them. He is a great and diligent business partner”. Licensing and technology transfer arrangements come naturally to Søren Høgh Thomsen, who enters the IAM Patent 1000 on the back of his ineffable ability to draw up intricate agreements.

Guardian IP Consulting I/S

Celebrating its tenth anniversary this year, “Guardian IP continues to be a vision of stability and delivers top-quality services time and time again. It has made a name for itself in the software and technology sectors”; but with 28 IP gurus – including 14 European patent attorneys and four European design attorneys – under one roof, it can pull off any instruction in style. Electronics aficionado Henrik Bagger Olsen has an incredible résumé, which includes several in-house managerial positions. “His advice is well thought out and he is always easy to get hold of, which is perfect for the attorneys at law he links up with.” Former R&D scientist Holm Schwarze brings a physics twist to his practice, helping organisations to incorporate robust strategies into their everyday operations and preparing astute infringement opinions.

HØIBERG

“When you need to understand technology and get an analysis of your targeted patent position, HØIBERG is the one to call. It brilliantly combines technical ability with commercial skills and provides thorough analyses in business lingo, ensuring clients have what they need to make correct decisions.” Firm founder Susanne Høiberg is a favourite among those with interests overseas and can dispense savvy advice in seven languages, including Chinese. She and Claus Elmeros have been appointed as technical judges before the Danish courts. A mechanical engineer by trade, Elmeros also spent five years as an examiner at the EPO. “A fantastic choice for biosimilar matters”, Louise Aagaard is the resident life sciences star; whereas Peter Borg Gaarde knows robotics like the back of his hand. Having spent seven years at Lucent Technologies working at optical fibre R&D, he “has a good grasp of commercial realities. Peter adapts his approach to suit the needs of his clients and explains everything from the legal landscape to the strength and quality of the patent portfolio”.

Inspicos P/S

“A go-to for prosecution services in Denmark, Inspicos is renowned for its thoroughness, deep expertise and the fact that every practitioner there consistently produces work of a high standard.” Physics, computer science, biotechnology and chemistry are all happy hunting grounds for the talented team. Exclusively focused on the former, Jakob Pade Frederiksen, Jan Simonsen and Peter Hertling always come up with solutions that are outside the box. “Frederiksen is in a league of his own” and often acts before the EPO; Simonsen is the trusted partner of start-ups keen to pump up their portfolios before seeking investment; and Hertling’s versatility makes things smooth sailing for clients with diverse needs. In thorny enforcement scenarios, Ulla Klinge’s pharmaceutical know-how puts both clients and their litigators at ease. European patent attorney and firm CEO Peter Koefoed acts at the intersection of IT and medical technology; he always keeps his eye on the prize and never compromises on quality.

Kromann Reumert

Companies looking to protect and monetise their assets on an international scale flock to full-service firm Kromann Reumert. With offices in Copenhagen, Aarhus and London, it is also the exclusive Lex Mundi firm in Denmark, meaning it can seamlessly work across borders to ensure that clients achieve their goals. The set enjoys potent contentious firepower with Nicolai Lindgreen at the helm – “a bright litigator who is among the very best in the country”. This year, he is joined by Nicolaj Bording, “another driving force of the practice. He is clear sighted, never drops the ball and is certainly very impressive. Together they make up an incredibly strong and sharp duo who are actively engaged within their field”.

Lundgrens

A shrewd operator in the life sciences, biotechnology and offshore industries, Lundgrens can be relied on to work its magic in hard-hitting disputes and IP-rich licensing mandates alike. A key success of the year was its staunch defence of Oestergaard in a widely publicised preliminary injunction case relating to the utilisation of trade secrets and formerly patented technology; Rasmus Vang was instrumental in the clean-tech giant’s victory. Exceptionally skilled in technology-intensive sectors – particularly mechanics and biometrics software – Vang’s passion for his chosen fields shines through in the pleadings he puts together.

Plesner Advokatpartnerselskab

“The Plesner team works cohesively and is always three steps ahead – there is no denying that they are brilliant at what they do.” The litigation powerhouse has a stellar track record in pharmaceutical disputes, where it acts for some of the biggest names in the world. It recently prevailed for Eli Lilly in separate injunction proceedings against Sandoz and Mylan; and also chalked up a win for Teva in the first Danish judgment concerning the plausibility criteria for inventiveness. Leading the charge is Mikkel Vittrup, a life sciences and regulatory law sage who has a bird’s-eye view of the landscape and knows which doors to open to find viable solutions. He often links up with Jeppe Brinck-Jensen, a Supreme Court-admitted advocate who turns even the most complex technical brief into a walk in the park. The dynamic duo are equally adept at negotiating labyrinthine licensing agreements. “Always willing to go the extra mile, Sture Rygaard is vastly experienced, thinks strategically and can easily digest tricky issues without forgetting even the tiniest detail. He consistently delivers results that hit the nail on the head and is comfortably one of the most high-profile patent litigators in Europe.” Rounding off the battalion is Kasper Frahm, whose versatile IP practice makes him a pillar of support for players in the pharmaceutical and mechanical arenas. The firm would not be where it is today without both the inspiration and hard graft of luminary Peter-Ulrik Plesner; he has paved the way for the next generation of star practitioners.

Plougmann Vingtoft

With 80 dedicated staff – including 41 patent attorneys – manning desks in Copenhagen, Aarhus, Oslo, Munich and Madrid, it comes as no surprise that Plougmann Vingtoft has won itself a legion of high-calibre fans, including Arla Foods, Abacus Medicine and Bayer. It “delves into the deepest details, oversees complex processes and delivers succinct advice in quick turnaround times”. “Experienced in the art of oppositions and appeals at the EPO, Kim Wagner always comes prepared and is sensitive to clients’ needs. A great strategic thinker with immense case law knowledge, collaborating with him is smooth and efficient.” Peter Sørensen and Per Jørgen Nygreen oversee the technology and software unit. Post-grant guru Sørensen pushes the envelope and has recently been tackling the minutiae of artificial intelligence (AI) patents; whereas Nygreen has cultivated a knack for creating long-lasting strategies from his time as a researcher at the Von Karman Institute for Fluid Dynamics in Belgium. A prominent lecturer and member of the Standing Advisory Committee before the EPO, Katja Sørensen is unanimously hailed as an authority in the food, agriculture and chemistry fields. IAM Patent 1000 newcomer Jakob Schwalbe Lohmann navigates the same industries and has several patents under his name as a co-inventor. He speaks the language of clients and knows what they are looking for in a patent attorney. “Agile, helpful and proactive” is the verdict on electrical engineering virtuoso Michael Friis Sørensen, who has carved out a niche in audio processing and communication systems. From filing and prosecuting SPCs to drafting freedom to operate analyses and oppositions, Jan Mondrup Pedersen has it covered. The pharmaceutical whizz has a wealth of knowledge and has co-authored over 13 papers on the subject.

Zacco 

Never one to rest on its laurels, full-service consultancy firm Zacco is always seeking new ways to grow and innovate. It is currently home to more than 500 dedicated practitioners across 32 offices in six countries, all of whom have been grappling with some of the world’s hottest trends relating to global digitalisation and AI. The set has one of the deepest, most technically diverse prosecution benches in the country: its A-star line-up this year includes Michael Schandorf Sørensen, Casper Struve, Pernille Thorsboe, Camilla Rendal Nielsen, Thomas Sundien, Jens Jørgen Schmidt, Johan Nyander and Hans Christian Nielsen. Molecular biologist Schandorf Sørensen has a decade of industry experience behind him, including a stint at Novozymes, and “is the go-to person for legally challenging questions on European law. He finds creative solutions to tricky cases and is wonderful to work with”. Litigation support is one of Struve’s specialities, considering his “outstanding knowledge of scientific and legal issues. He knows how to spot a problem from a mile away and thoroughly considers all possible scenarios that may influence the case at hand”. Another pharmaceutical ace, Thorsboe comes warmly recommended for her “responsiveness, flexibility and ability to keep cool under pressure”. Electronics and ICT group leader Rendal Nielsen capitalises on her experience as a patent attorney at Audi to draft impeccable applications. A technical judge at the Danish Eastern Appeal Court and the Copenhagen Commercial and Maritime Court, Sundien has an unparalleled understanding of oil drilling technologies; he is also a familiar face before the EPO. “Thanks to his refined skillset, experience in court proceedings and fruitful cooperation with attorneys at law, Schmidt is among the very best when it comes to dispute resolution support in mechanics.” A chemical engineer and formerly group director patents at the Volvo Group, Nyander has been in the business for almost three decades and has an intimate understanding of patent proceedings on an international level. Nielsen has a keen eye for extracting maximum value from clients’ assets and brings a transactional spin to the table.

Other recommended experts

“The super-bright” Peter Indahl is the one to call for support in knotty disputes involving marine engineering conundrums. He can be found at Indahls. Recently making the switch from Lundgrens to Horten, “superb litigator” Jakob Krag Nielsen relishes the cut and thrust of major life sciences and pharmaceutical lawsuits.

Individuals: litigation

  • Nicolai Lindgreen - Kromann Reumert
  • Klaus Ewald Madsen - Bech-Bruun
  • Sture Rygaard - Plesner Advokatpartnerselskab
  • Anders Valentin - Bugge Valentin
  • Jeppe Brinck-Jensen - Plesner Advokatpartnerselskab
  • Morten Bruus - Accura Advokatpartnerselskab
  • Martin Draebye Gantzhorn - Bech-Bruun
  • Dan Bjerg Geary - Bech-Bruun
  • Kenneth Kvistgaard-Aaholm - Gorrissen Federspiel
  • Jakob Krag Nielsen - Horten Law Firm
  • Mikkel Vittrup - Plesner Advokatpartnerselskab
  • Søren Chr Søborg Andersen - Bech-Bruun
  • Nicolaj Bording - Kromann Reumert
  • Kasper Frahm - Plesner Advokatpartnerselskab
  • Jacob Ørndrup - Gorrissen Federspiel
  • Johnny Petersen - Bech-Bruun
  • Rasmus Vang - Lundgrens

Individuals: prosecution

Individuals: transactions

  • Jeppe Brinck-Jensen - Plesner Advokatpartnerselskab
  • Martin Draebye Gantzhorn - Bech-Bruun
  • Dan Bjerg Geary - Bech-Bruun
  • Kenneth Kvistgaard-Aaholm - Gorrissen Federspiel
  • Per Larsen - Aera 
  • Nicolai Lindgreen - Kromann Reumert
  • Klaus Ewald Madsen - Bech-Bruun
  • Jacob Ørndrup - Gorrissen Federspiel
  • Søren Høgh Thomsen - Gorrissen Federspiel
  • Anders Valentin - Bugge Valentin
  • Mikkel Vittrup - Plesner Advokatpartnerselskab

Luminaries

  • Ole Damsbo - Bugge Valentin
  • Peter-Ulrik Plesner - Plesner Advokatpartnerselskab