Finland

According to WIPO, Finland sits comfortably among the top 10 innovative countries in the world. It is home to a vibrant start-up community and continues to foster innovation and growth through government initiatives and funding. For instance, Business Finland and Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation, offer services for early-stage companies across different phases of their business development. It thus comes as no surprise that patenting activity is currently the healthiest it has ever been; the low cost of filing and fast-track options at the Finnish Patent and Registration Office have much to do with that. On the litigation front, pharmaceutical, technology and energy skirmishes still account for a significant portion of the caseload, which has also remained steady of late. Meanwhile, Finland will shortly be conducting a review of its national IP strategy with a view to making processes even more efficient and enhancing general awareness of the importance of intangible assets.

Firms: litigation

  • Borenius Attorneys Ltd
  • Roschier, Attorneys Ltd
  • Castrén & Snellman
  • Hannes Snellman Attorneys Ltd
  • Heinonen & Co Attorneys-at-Law Ltd
  • Backström & Co
  • Krogerus
  • Merilampi Attorneys Ltd
  • Waselius & Wist

Firms: prosecution

  • Berggren Oy
  • Boco IP 
  • Heinonen & Co Attorneys-at-Law Ltd
  • Kolster Oy Ab
  • Papula-Nevinpat
  • Espatent Oy
  • Laine IP Oy
  • Primrose OY

Firms: transactions

  • Borenius Attorneys Ltd
  • Roschier, Attorneys Ltd
  • Castrén & Snellman
  • Hannes Snellman Attorneys Ltd
  • Heinonen & Co Attorneys-at-Law Ltd
  • Bird & Bird LLP
  • Inventio Attorneys Ltd
  • Krogerus

Backström & Co

A highly regarded boutique with a specialisation in patent litigation, Backström & Co makes astute use of its contentious capabilities and strong international ties to navigate challenging cross-border disputes with ease. It is regularly sought out by pharmaceutical companies: as an example, practice leader Petri Eskola has recently been assisting Sandoz before the Market Court in two separate proceedings against AstraZeneca and Roche, as well acting for Krka in an infringement matter brought by Gilead. The “skilled and professional attorney” produces “excellent results without any unnecessary bells and whistles”.

Berggren Oy

At Berggren, innovators receive wraparound support courtesy of its dedicated patent, design, legal and brokerage teams. One of the largest firms on the market, it has 170 experts on deck to tend to the needs of some 4,000 clients; and it continues to refine its offering by developing its own in-house software, such as IP management tool Greip. Standout patent attorney Sakari Värilä has “an excellent understanding of difficult technologies, especially software. He is skilled in the art of patenting the impossible and has a gift for relaying complex issues in a simple way”. Biotechnology ace Pirta Tiiro is “absolutely brilliant and really knows her stuff”. She capitalises on knowledge gained from in-house positions at pharmaceutical and food companies when conducting patentability analyses. Joining them in the guide this year is Fu-Chia Aspelin, a qualified European, Chinese and Finnish patent attorney with a flair for the life sciences. She plays an active role in China-Finland dialogues, heads up Berggren’s China desk and cultivates fruitful relationships with international clients.

Bird & Bird LLP

The market at large is unanimous in its praise for Bird & Bird, a global titan with 300 full-time IP lawyers operating across 29 offices. In Helsinki, the side benefits from deep local know-how, sweeping geographical reach and the technical chops to handle even the trickiest briefs for some of the world’s leading technology companies. At the helm of the practice is Henri Kaikkonen, who recently moved over from Krogerus.In the words of one peer: “Henri is on track to become one of Finland’s leading practitioners. He works efficiently, is great with clients and translates complex legal issues into actionable business advice.”

Boco IP 

“The number one firm in Finland for prosecution work”, Boco IP “consistently delivers top-quality work and excellent customer service”. The past 12 months have seen new clients come on board, an increase in opposition and appeal work at both the local and European level, and a slew of new instructions from attorneys at law seeking the assistance of technical experts in court proceedings. The diversity of its talent base is reflected in the inclusion in the listings this year of chemists Karri Leskinen and Jonna Sahlin; life sciences sage Jaana Hämäläinen; mechanical engineer Christian Westerholm; and telecommunications and computer-implemented inventions maestros Marja Liisa Autti and Anu Keinänen. “A brilliant practitioner”, Leskinen is “extremely well regarded” for pharmaceutical instructions and regularly provides astute strategic advice in contentious proceedings. “Jonna’s excellent technical knowledge, precision and problem-solving attitude are highly appreciated”; while Hämäläinen’s flexible, client-centric approach resonates with top names in the food process industry. An authority on plant variety rights, she is also highly sought after as a technical expert in litigation proceedings. Oppositions are the metier of Westerholm: “His efficiency and timeliness ensure that nothing gets missed. He also has the ability to find a way forward in seemingly difficult situations.” Formerly a senior IP manager at Nokia, IAM Patent 1000 newcomer Liisa Autti is a discerning choice for strategic R&D matters. Keinänen is “exceptionally talented at drafting applications. She understands the core technical ideas, formulates a well-planned claim and is always extremely diligent and insightful in her work”. She comes recommended for demanding instructions in the high-tech industry. The group recently welcomed industrial machinery specialist Sini-Maaria Mikkila to the fold. “She defines complex technical concepts clearly and concisely, resulting in solid patent protection and the potential for strong arguments in opposition proceedings. Sini-Maaria is a big-picture thinker and her honest opinions keep businesses on track.”

Borenius Attorneys Ltd

A prime destination for major generic pharmaceutical companies and industry leaders generally, Borenius Attorneys is home to technology specialists and crack litigators who regularly prevail in commercially consequential cases. It has lately been representing Mylan in revocation, infringement and preliminary injunction proceedings against Gilead relating to the interpretation of the SPC Regulation – a matter that is being widely considered by several European courts. Another highlight is its work for Teva, which saw stalwart Ben Rapinoja team up with Dutch and German colleagues in cross-border litigation against InterMune, a biotechnology company acquired by Roche. “One of the most experienced and talented litigators in Finland, Ben comes out on top even when faced with formidable opponents.” Fellow contentious star Lasse Laaksonen also attracts warm plaudits from patrons: “He is practical and shrewd, but also a strong-minded fighter. Lasse has never let me down in the decade I have worked with him.” At the helm of the technology, media and telecommunications team, Samuli Simojoki brings impressive transactional capabilities to the mix; complex ICT licensing deals are a forte.

Castrén & Snellman

“Castrén & Snellman is a brilliant firm: it builds relationships based on mutual trust and is great to collaborate with,” enthuses one peer. Its IP practitioners make light work of complex instructions and draw judiciously on colleagues’ expertise in commercial, competition and regulatory law to deliver stellar results in litigation and licensing scenarios. Sakari Salonen and Hanna Paloheimo drive the practice forward. The pair recently linked up to carry the day for leading cement manufacturer Finnsementti in multifaceted proceedings before the Market Court. “Well on his way to the forefront of the Finnish patent scene, Sakari has more than earned his place among the country’s top litigators.” Another joint highlight includes involved advising iLOQ – a developer and manufacturer of high-security locking solutions – on the sale of its shares to funds managed by Nordic Capital. Paloheimo’s combination of legal qualifications with a masters in genetics is of utmost value to heavy hitters in the life sciences: she regularly assists Merck, Boehringer Ingelheim and Johnson & Johnson with their contractual matters.

Espatent Oy

A technically dextrous and dynamic partner to start-ups and multinationals alike, Espatent provides a meticulous prosecution and counselling service. It takes a strategic approach to patent procurement, analyses competitive landscapes with a hawkish eye and identifies commercialisation opportunities along the way. Founding partner Sanna Kalliola, Sampsa Söderholm and Samu Lamberg have a complete command of the high-tech, computer and mechanics fields. CEO Kalliola is rigorous on quality control – whether leading the firm, assisting clients or translating technologies into perfectly drafted applications. Asset protection, exploitation and litigation support all come naturally to Söderholm, who “prepares well-argued statements, manages tight schedules and consciously considers budgetary limits”. The passion of former Nokia man Lamberg for innovation and commercial thinking translates into superb results at the patent office. The life sciences industry is the happy hunting ground of Kirsikka Etuaho, who works wonders across an array of technical fields.

Hannes Snellman Attorneys Ltd

One of the premier transactional outfits in the Nordics, Hannes Snellman is the architect behind myriad high-value patent-rich deals. For example, the firm recently assisted YIT with the multimillion-euro sale of its paving and mineral aggregates businesses in Finland, Sweden, Norway and Denmark to Peab. The group has also had a red-letter year in litigation, playing a lead role in several local and international high-profile matters in the pharmaceutical sector. Department captain Panu Siitonen sets the tone from the top. A seasoned negotiator and eloquent orator, he puts in polished performances both in the courtroom and at the deal table. By his side, IAM Patent 1000 newcomer Sarita Schröder brings comfort to telecommunications companies thanks to her industry insight, proficiency in major disputes and ability to pack commercial value into the agreements she brokers.

Heinonen & Co Attorneys-at-Law Ltd

Companies seeking on-point IP advice and access to the vast commercial resources of an international firm should look no further than Eversheds subsidiary Heinonen, an outfit that assists companies in virtually any sector across the patent lifecycle. Zooming in on its non-contentious practice, Sampo Ylätalo, Juhani Kupiainen, Regina Pudas and Akseli Von Koch acquit themselves with distinction on all manner of prosecution instructions. Distinguished physicist Ylätalo has several stints at prestigious research institutions on his CV; he has a knack for translating ideas into well-drafted claims with a broad scope of protection. “Effective communicator” Kupiainen “makes the patenting process absolutely effortless” for clients such as listed power system producer Enedo Plc. Pudas – a veritable encyclopaedia of European patent law and chemistry ace – regularly assists pioneering entities such as Picosun, which developed the atomic layer deposition film coating method. For players in the fields of emerging digital technologies such as Internet of Things and artificial intelligence, Von Koch is a crucial business partner. He also has a keen strategic eye and has recently been helping local healthcare company Icare Finland to maintain its competitive edge. The ensemble’s contentious offering is anchored by Petteri Häkkänen. A brilliant legal mind and persuasive advocate, he always keeps clients’ commercial interests front and centre.

Inventio Attorneys Ltd

Highly attuned to the diverse needs of its discerning clientele, Inventio Attorneys makes understanding business rationales a priority and offers a service aligned with the impeccable standards it sets for itself. Its transactional talents are relied upon by high-tech companies such as Gasera and Spectral Engines, which both received strategic, hands-on guidance on their technology licensing and R&D agreements. At the helm is results-driven negotiator Topi Lusenius, whose extraordinary technical faculties were sharpened during his time as senior legal counsel with Tieto Corporation, the largest ICT service supplier in the Nordics.

Kolster Oy Ab

The experience that Kolster has gained over its 146-year history is “a massive confidence boost – clients know that matters will be handled in an excellent manner. It is a valuable partner and the service is always professional, yet friendly”. “It is full of experts from different technical fields and their combined knowledge enhances the results obtained. The firm also stands out for the transparency of its reporting and invoicing practices.” Its strength in depth is reflected in seven individual listings in the IAM Patent 1000 – more than any other firm ranked in the prosecution table. Robust leadership is supplied in abundance by power electronics applications whizz Ari Parta, “a technically savvy attorney with a warm and customer-oriented approach, which makes him easily approachable and a delight to work with”. He is joined by Kati Leinonen, the ICT and electrical engineering head and a former senior IP specialist at Nokia. She knows how to draft and identify patents that generate business value. The “super-experienced” Tapio Äkräs “can be counted on for solid advice” in the high-tech realm. He has over three decades in the game and understands how to get rights on the register on a domestic and global level. Telecommunications specialist Marjut Honkasalo has her finger on the pulse of emerging technologies and is actively involved in international associations to develop EPO practices. Licensing is one of the many fortes of Hannes Kankaanpää, whose stint as legal counsel at the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland stands him in good stead when doing heavy lifting on R&D agreements. Previously an in-house counsel and IP rights manager in the oil refining industry, Krister Karlsson takes the lead on all things biotech and chemistry; his holistic view of patent protection ensures that IP strategies are embedded in clients’ business models.

Krogerus

Intellectual property is a central focus at commercial firm Krogerus, and its patent practice has been going from strength as dynamic innovators queue up to enlist its litigation and transactional services. It enjoys a terrific reputation in the media and telecommunications sectors, where it has lately been representing cable compensation solutions provider KKM Power in proceedings involving one of its key products against a leading global technology company. Taking the reins on this matter is Kalle Hynönen, “a true professional who always tries to find a solution, even in the most trying of circumstances. His advice is practical, mitigates risk and takes into consideration the various challenges posed by different jurisdictions, which is highly appreciated. He communicates clearly, replies promptly and never beats around the bush”.

Laine IP Oy

At Laine IP, instructions are handled “with utmost professionalism by attorneys with an exceptionally high level of knowledge”. The prosecution dynamo assists inventors in the life sciences, medical technology and electronics industries in many meaningful ways. For example, it has an exceptionally strong EPO practice, with 17 European patent attorneys on deck; and when mandates take them across the pond, its in-house team of US patent attorneys stands ready to take the lead. Electrical engineer Jarkko Tiilikainen “readily makes himself available and is enjoyable to work with. Collaborative and effective, he always makes you feel at ease”. Senior partner and chemistry maven Christoffer Sundman prosecutes with dexterity, devises made-to-measure strategies and effortlessly handles the pressure when sitting as a court-appointed expert.

Merilampi Attorneys Ltd

Merilampi Attorneys struck gold when it brought “highly skilled lawyer” Henrik af Ursin into the fold in 2018; since then, its IP practice has been on an upwards trajectory and instructions are flying in. “Henrik manages cases with a personal touch. He is always available and provides updates on any new developments along with detailed and clear opinions, as well as efficient and strategic recommendations.” The side has lately been representing multinationals such as packaging company DS Smith, as well as top local players such as Suominen Corporation and Katko. It brings added value through its Merilampi Diagnostics tool, which provides clients with recommendations on how best to develop their portfolios.

Papula-Nevinpat

The extensive reach of Papula-Nevinpat is a real USP: alongside its Helsinki headquarters, it maintains a longstanding presence in Russia and has additional outposts in Belarus, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Munich. Start-ups and Fortune 500 companies alike enjoy instant access to a comprehensive patent toolkit that encompasses everything from prosecution to enforcement. Managing director Markku Simmelvuo has a finely cultivated international network and can adroitly navigate procedures at Eurasian patent offices. He also makes regular contributions to the development of Finnish law through his work in various industry associations. The “super-experienced and personable” Folke Johansson heads the patent department: “Folke is great at explaining complex technologies to lawyers and a pleasure to collaborate with. He is highly sought after.” Fellow ex-Nokia patent attorney, Tomi Konkonen leads the ICT and electrical engineering squad. One peer reports: “He continues to excel at technology-related prosecution work, and you can truly rely on both his legal and technical knowledge.” Joining the trio in the guide this year are electronics and 5G specialist Matti Brax and chemistry maven Satu Lehesranta. “Matti is an experienced attorney with excellent skills in the art of dispute strategy and tactics. His service quality and turnaround times are also excellent.” Lehesranta is hailed as “brilliant, super-responsive and amazing to team up with. Satu can translate long, complex pages into easily digestible information and is an absolute superstar”.

Primrose OY

While Primrose may be a relative newcomer to the Finnish legal market, its “enthusiastic professionals and exceptional standards” have already made its presence known. The outfit is lean in size and keeps overheads low and pricing transparent to provide a cost-conscious, streamlined service – an approach valued by the likes of Beneq, one of Finland’s most active patent applicants. The engines of this tight-knit team are Toni Korelin, Marjukka Nuppola and Oli Pekkonen. “Highly recommended as co-counsel in any patent dispute”, Korelin has “a superb strategic mind. Through his well-reasoned technical arguments, he can muddle an adversary’s case and get favourable results for his clients”. Extensive industry insight allows Nuppola to slot easily into in-house teams and deliver advice that gets right to the heart of business. Former research engineer and in-houser Pekonen is the resident licensing whizz: “He is as sharp as they come and has a terrific sense of humour.”

Roschier, Attorneys Ltd

“Roschier is the number one service provider in Finland. Its industry knowledge – especially in pharmaceuticals – is unparalleled and in enforcement, few, if any firms can match up. It does a phenomenal job across the board and the lawyers really get to know their clients from a business and personal perspective, which brings value that simply cannot be measured.” High-powered litigator Rainer Hilli leads the charge. “He is someone I look up to”, enthuses one client. “His experience, wisdom and legal knowledge are things you cannot deny”. Hilli and Mikael Segercrantz recently combined to superb effect to represented Gilead Sciences in two invalidation actions against Teva/Actavis and Mylan in relation to its SPCs, while also taking on three parallel infringement and preliminary injunction proceedings at the same time. Segercrantz’s regulatory nous gives the contentious practice a boost; as does Johanna Lilja’s fine-grained understanding of the telecommunications industry. “You can put all your faith and trust in Rainer, Mikael and Johanna. They know exactly what to do, with minimum instruction, and exceed expectations every time. They are incredibly intelligent and great fun to work with too.” On the transactional side of the practice, Mikko Manner, Niklas Östman and Johanna Flythström are “thorough and systematic, and handle each matter with utmost professionalism and to an exceptional standard”. One peer dubs Östman “the most experienced patent professional on the planet”. He recently advised Autoliv Inc on several global licensing deals and numerous R&D collaboration projects. Heading up the digitalisation, TMT and outsourcing practices, Arto Linnervuo is a safe pair of hands for tech companies looking to hit the ground running and an adept coordinator of cross-border business process development projects.

Waselius & Wist

Waselius & Wist took its patent offering to the next level in 2020 with the recruitment of former Borenius star Åsa Krook. The move has enhanced its already robust practice, while giving it an edge in handling sophisticated commercialisation agreements. An authority on licensing deals and distribution agreements, Krook also showcases sparkling advocacy skills. Division spearhead and contentious ace Bernt Juthström “acts with speed and accuracy. He is supportive and reliable, and communicates in a way that is inclusive and gets everyone on the same page”.

Other recommended experts

At TRUST, Jan Lindberg partners with telecommunications, high-tech and pharmaceutical players to drive business value through meticulously drafted and negotiated contractual agreements. Transactional maven Tomas Lodenius instils developers of technology-driven businesses with confidence; he recently departed Inventio to set up Vestra Advisors.

Individuals: litigation

  • Rainer Hilli - Roschier, Attorneys Ltd
  • Ben Rapinoja - Borenius Attorneys Ltd
  • Petteri Häkkänen - Heinonen & Co Attorneys-at-Law Ltd
  • Lasse Laaksonen - Borenius Attorneys Ltd
  • Johanna Lilja - Roschier, Attorneys Ltd
  • Mikko Manner - Roschier, Attorneys Ltd
  • Hanna Paloheimo - Castrén & Snellman
  • Sakari Salonen - Castrén & Snellman
  • Mikael Segercrantz - Roschier, Attorneys Ltd
  • Panu Siitonen - Hannes Snellman Attorneys Ltd
  • Petri Eskola - Backström & Co
  • Kalle Hynönen - Krogerus
  • Henri Kaikkonen - Bird & Bird LLP
  • Sarita Schröder - Hannes Snellman Attorneys Ltd

Individuals: prosecution

  • Kirsikka Etuaho - Espatent Oy
  • Folke Johansson - Papula-Nevinpat
  • Krister Karlsson - Kolster Oy Ab
  • Toni Korelin - Primrose OY
  • Karri Leskinen - Boco IP 
  • Jonna Sahlin - Boco IP 
  • Sampsa Söderholm - Espatent Oy
  • Pirta Tiiro - Berggren Oy
  • Sakari Värilä - Berggren Oy
  • Tapio Äkräs - Kolster Oy Ab
  • Fu-Chia Aspelin - Berggren Oy
  • Marja Liisa Autti - Boco IP 
  • Matti Brax - Papula-Nevinpat
  • Jaana Hämäläinen - Boco IP 
  • Marjut Honkasalo - Kolster Oy Ab
  • Sanna Kalliola - Espatent Oy
  • Anu Keinänen - Boco IP 
  • Tomi Konkonen - Papula-Nevinpat
  • Juhani Kupiainen - Heinonen & Co Attorneys-at-Law Ltd
  • Samu Lamberg - Espatent Oy
  • Satu Lehesranta - Papula-Nevinpat
  • Kati Leinonen - Kolster Oy Ab
  • Sini-Maaria Mikkila - Boco IP
  • Marjukka Nuppola - Primrose OY
  • Ari Parta - Kolster Oy Ab
  • Oli Pekkonen - Primrose OY
  • Regina Pudas - Heinonen & Co Attorneys-at-Law Ltd
  • Markku Simmelvuo - Papula-Nevinpat
  • Christoffer Sundman - Laine IP Oy
  • Jarkko Tiilikainen - Laine IP Oy
  • Akseli Von Koch - Heinonen & Co Attorneys-at-Law Ltd
  • Christian Westerholm - Boco IP 
  • Sampo Ylätalo - Heinonen & Co Attorneys-at-Law Ltd

Individuals: transactions

  • Henrik af Ursin - Merilampi Attorneys Ltd
  • Johanna Flythström - Roschier, Attorneys Ltd
  • Kalle Hynönen - Krogerus
  • Bernt Juthström - Waselius & Wist
  • Henri Kaikkonen - Bird & Bird LLP
  • Hannes Kankaanpää - Kolster Oy Ab
  • Åsa Krook - Waselius & Wist
  • Jan Lindberg - Attorneys-at-Law TRUST Ltd
  • Arto Linnervuo - Roschier, Attorneys Ltd
  • Tomas Lodenius - Vestra Group
  • Topi Lusenius - Inventio Attorneys Ltd
  • Mikko Manner - Roschier, Attorneys Ltd
  • Ella Mikkola - Bird & Bird LLP
  • Niklas Östman - Roschier, Attorneys Ltd
  • Hanna Paloheimo - Castrén & Snellman
  • Sakari Salonen - Castrén & Snellman
  • Panu Siitonen - Hannes Snellman
  • Samuli Simojoki - Borenius Attorneys Ltd
  • Akseli Von Koch - Heinonen & Co Attorneys-at-Law Ltd