Finland

Finland’s Patent and Registration Office has seen an uptick in registrations over the past 12 months, which is at least partly due to the country’s thriving start-up scene and robust economy. The Finnish IP authorities have been hard at work over the past year, implementing some interesting new measures to streamline patent processes and make the jurisdiction more attractive to innovators. One of these measures is the release of a chatbot – PatRek – to provide budding inventors with advice on their rights and brand building. The service, which is available in English, is being trialled until June 2019. Rights holders have also been buoyed by the August 2018 enactment of the country’s new Trade Secrets Act, aimed at encouraging enterprises to consider the most appropriate methods of protection for their inventions. In other news, talk of the UPC’s potential impact on the European landscape continues, as the Finnish patent community eagerly awaits the end of Brexit negotiations to bring more clarity on the scheme’s eventual shape. For its part, Finland is ready for the system to come into place, despite some uncertainty as to what it would mean for the country’s patent market. On the one hand, the UPC may intensify litigation in the Nordics, where numbers are currently relatively low. However, there are also concerns that patent litigation activity might become concentrated in Germany and France, with Finnish practitioners losing out.

Firms: litigation

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

Firms: prosecution

  • Highly recommended
  • Boco IP 
  • Heinonen & Co Attorneys-at-Law Ltd
  • Papula-Nevinpat
  • Recommended
  • Berggren Oy
  • Espatent Oy
  • Primrose OY
  • Seppo Laine Oy 

Firms: transactions

  • Highly recommended
  • Borenius Attorneys Ltd
  • Roschier, Attorneys Ltd
  • Recommended
  • Castrén & Snellman Attorneys Ltd
  • Hannes Snellman Attorneys Ltd
  • Heinonen & Co Attorneys-at-Law Ltd

Backström & Co

Backström & Co is endorsed by contemporaries for its smart, strategic and efficient handling of patent litigation. While proficient in all technical areas, its track record of success in pharmaceutical cases is especially striking; recent highlights include successfully defending a top generic drug manufacturer in preliminary injunction and infringement proceedings. “Very convincing in court and a tough opponent who is nonetheless a pleasure to fight against”, Petri Eskola mans the frontline. The mere presence of unassailable luminary Peter Backström brings comfort to clients.

Berggren Oy

With its dedicated patent, legal, consulting and IP commercialisation teams, richly resourced Berggren provides wraparound support to innovators; from its multiple offices in Finland and its branch in the United States, it can do so internationally, too. Singled out as a proficient prosecutor and “leading expert on software and telecoms”, Sakari Värilä is “well versed in the art of rights protection”. His responsibility is to realise the commercial value of clients’ intangible rights and he fulfils it marvellously. Fellow European patent attorney Pirta Tiiro is Värilä’s counterpart in the life sciences; time spent as a patent engineer in a pharmaceutical company and a food company makes her a strongly empathetic external counsel. In addition to prosecution, Tiiro handles infringement proceedings with a deft touch. Hugely experienced in European patent litigation, senior IP adviser Kim Finnila is also at his best on the contentious side of the practice. “He digs deep for his clients and has a brilliant technical mind.”

Boco IP 

Boco IP has perfected patent prosecution over many decades – but it is so much more than just a filing shop; it partners closely with clients at the initial ideation stage, helping them to identify what might be patentable and then, down the line, it defends and enforces their rights if necessary. Steady growth has been the story of the past year for a group that collectively covers all technical bases. Chemistry, though, is a forte, as shown by the inclusion of three chemists in the IAM Patent 1000 listings – Karri Leskinen, Jonna Sahlin and Annika Hakkila. As managing director, Leskinen is a linchpin of the firm’s success; expertise in litigation gives him an edge as a practitioner. “Jonna is a true professional who is always looking for ways to add value and get maximum protection. She is easy to communicate with because she is so fluent in the technology.” “Annika is by far one of the best Finnish patent attorneys in the chemistry field. Her prior art analysis is as deep as it gets, and her recommendations are always crystal clear and relevant. Inventors love working with her because of her calm and professional attitude.” A top expert in the mechanical arts, Christian Westerholm has “an excellent track record in opposition proceedings”. “His dedication to clients is deeply impressive and he provides a first-rate service.” Anu Keinänen is the ensemble’s leading information technology connoisseur.

Borenius Attorneys Ltd

Illustrious full-service firm Borenius houses an exceptional team of IP and technology attorneys and more than earns its top placings for litigation and transactions. A force to be reckoned with in disputes, the set has been incredibly busy lately, as the many highlights on its IAM Patent 1000 submission make clear. Two stand-outs include acting for ratiopharm in the successful defence before the Supreme Court of an earlier Helsinki District Court and Helsinki Court of Appeal win in a compensation claim filed by Merck Sharp & Dohme on the basis of a supplementary protection certificate infringement; and winning damages for Orifarm arising out of an unnecessary preliminary injunction sought by Novartis. The mastermind behind these and many other victories was Ben Rapinoja, a “creative advocate with an excellent knowledge of the pharmaceutical industry and a talent for risk identification and mitigation”. He is not the only star litigator here – Lasse Laaksonen comes highly praised, too: one source comments, “Lasse has never let me down – we have won every case together – and he is one of my favourite patent litigators in Europe. I trust him completely for major pharmaceutical actions and use him to develop case theories and tactics that I can then export to other jurisdictions. Lasse is tenacious, articulate, focused, practical and thorough.” On the transactional side of things, Samuli Simojoki and Åsa Krook acquit themselves with distinction. Simojoki understands what makes technology, media and telecoms businesses tick; Krook is an authority on brands and patents. Across all areas of the practice, senior statesman Seppo Kemppinen is a guiding light and vital strategic sounding board for colleagues and clients.

Castrén & Snellman Attorneys Ltd

By judiciously drawing on the wider firm’s expertise in commercial, competition, regulatory and tax law, Castrén & Snellman’s IP team offers an extremely well-rounded support package to its innovative patrons. Patent litigation and monetisation are the order of the day for Sakari Salonen, Hanna Paloheimo and Kimmo Rekola *et al* and the practice has been lively on both fronts lately: Experienced litigators Salonen and Paloheimo are currently handling pharmaceutical marketing authorisation matters, patent infringement preliminary injunction proceedings, multifaceted IP enforcement actions, utility model invalidations and employee invention disputes; while on the commercial IP side, Salonen is acting for Takeda in connection with manufacturing, marketing, licensing and distribution agreements, and Paloheimo is negotiating deals for Boehringer Ingelheim, Merck and Johnson & Johnson. Drawing special praise from contemporaries, head of the IP group Salonen “really understands the business side of intellectual property and anticipates what his clients need. He’s brilliant on the law and very easy to work with, too”. Paloheimo leads the life sciences practice and is an industry insider with a blend of patent and regulatory expertise. Rekola captains the private equity and venture capital practice and has overseen numerous sales and acquisitions between Finnish and international parties.

Espatent Oy

Matching technical dexterity with commerciality, Espatent is a dynamic agency which supports clients’ business development in many meaningful ways; in addition to prosecution, it conducts strategic reviews of portfolios, analyses competitive landscapes, maps white space and identifies licensing opportunities. Founding partners Sanna Kalliola, Sampsa Söderholm and Samu Lamberg form a close-knit, flexible team of European patent attorneys operating in the high-tech, computer and mechanics fields. CEO Kalliola ensures the smooth running of the firm but never gives less than 110% for her exciting telecoms, software and electronics clients. Söderholm has cracked the code of successful rights protection and monetisation and is also recommended for the pitch-perfect technical support he provides to litigators. Lamberg’s obvious passion for innovation translates into excellent results working with patent office examiners. The chemical and life sciences industries are also well served by Espatent and partner Kirsikka Etuaho. Much of her recent work has involved assisting a top law firm in major European pharmaceutical litigations.

Hannes Snellman Attorneys Ltd

As one of the top corporate and M&A firms in Finland – one with a well-built and business-focused IP team – Hannes Snellman is in pole position to handle major technology-driven transactions orbited by complex IP considerations. It also assuredly handles the most challenging litigations and has an excellent win rate representing multinational pharmaceutical companies. Setting the tone of excellence is Panu Siitonen, who combines the best traits of a seasoned litigator, strategist and deal broker. In the words of one of Europe’s undisputed leading patent lawyers, “Panu is my favourite patent litigator in Finland. He is responsive, creative, tough and extremely versatile.” He makes light work of multi-party cross-border disputes.

Heinonen & Co Attorneys-at-Law Ltd

Companies seeking to benefit from highly specialised IP advice while gaining easy access to the resources and wider commercial perspective of a general practice law firm need look no further than Eversheds subsidiary Heinonen. Recommended on all three tables – prosecution, litigation and transactions – it is a true one-stop shop for rights holders in any industry. As a testament to the group’s sterling recent performance, many of its leading individuals garner enthusiastic feedback from the market: Petteri Häkkänen is hailed as “an experienced patent litigator with a really keen eye for strategy”. As managing partner, he does a terrific job getting all parts of the firm pulling in the same direction. Sampo Ylätalo is “customer-focused at all times and a flexible solution seeker who really understands the long-term strategic needs of his clients”. He focuses on high-tech prosecution alongside electronics and telecoms maven Juhani Kupiainen, who handles patent, trademark and design portfolios with equal proficiency. Vital for a specialist in emerging technologies such as blockchain and AI, “true professional” Akseli Von Koch is “quick to react to new issues and developments in the international market”. “Efficient and persistent, Regina Pudas navigates applications through to successful grant very effectively” in the chemistry field.

Papula-Nevinpat

Papula-Nevinpat’s stand-out quality is its international capability; headquartered in Helsinki, the firm has maintained a longstanding presence in Russia and has additional offices in Belarus, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Munich. It provides a wide range of pre-registration, prosecution and IP enforcement services, making it effective as a single point of contact for IP owners. “The firm is well managed and is more business-oriented than other agencies”, credit for which goes to managing director – and president of the Association of Finnish Patent Attorneys – Markku Simmelvuo. He is a master of protection in the Eurasia region and is extremely well connected internationally – a good choice, then, for cross-border instructions. Highlighted by some of Finland’s leading lawyers, Folke Johansson is an authority on innovation in the telecoms industry. The former Nokia man is “extremely service minded and great to work with as a technical expert”. Tomi Konkonen, who is also an ex-Nokia dynamo, helms the electrical engineering practice.

Primrose OY

“Primrose is a newly established boutique which is specialised in patent prosecution. Its attorneys are rather exceptional; great to work with in litigation, they deep-dive into complex technology and then make it understandable and relatable for judges in a way that is very efficient.” Managing director Toni Korelin is an ingenious problem solver with a broad technical compass – he easily wraps his agile mind around cutting-edge energy, nanotech, construction and industrial process innovations. Similarly, Marjukka Nuppola, whose experience as a patent engineer in industry gives her a first-hand knowledge of the innovation process, is a safe pair of hands.

Roschier, Attorneys Ltd

Considered by many to be the leading patent litigation firm in Finland, Roschier fights the good fight for many world-beating life sciences and technology companies. The set is in a very healthy groove right now; Rainer Hilli is currently acting for Merck Sharp & Dohme against Sandoz and for Gilead Sciences against Teva and Actavis. Hilli is inspirational as leader of the IP team and a “uniquely authoritative litigator” who garners the most individual recommendations of any patent practitioner in Finland. In many cases – most notably the numerous litigations he has handled for Nokia against Apple – he gains an edge from the support provided by data protection and pharmaceutical law ace Johanna Lilja. A top regulatory, marketing and consumer law expert, Mikael Segercrantz is another vital contributor to the group’s contentious success. On the transactional side of the practice, “Mikko Manner, Niklas Östman and Johanna Flythström all have superb experience drafting global patent licensing agreements, as well as deep expertise regarding SEP matters”. Head of the technology, media and telecoms and outsourcing practices, Arto Linnervuo also deserves a shout-out; he is a top choice for cross-border digital transformation and business process development projects.

Seppo Laine Oy 

“Well known and respected patent agency” Seppo Laine is commended for its swift and efficient prosecution service and transparent, business-relevant advice on patent protection and strategy. It is notable as the only Finnish firm capable of directly handling matters at the USPTO; it also works before the Swedish, German and Austrian patent offices without the need for intermediaries. Commentators put the spotlight on Christoffer Sundman, a “very clever chemist who quickly gets to the heart of matters”. “His presence by your side in litigation makes you feel really secure.” Also in the chemistry group, Tord Langenskiöld has unbeatable pharmaceutical industry experience. CEO Jarkko Tiilikainen is the go-to for electronics. Few if any practitioners in Finland are as up to date on EPO case law and practice as he is.

Other recommended experts

A charming, down-to-earth lawyer with excellent people and communication skills, Henrik af Ursin of Merilampi Attorneys is thoroughly committed to his clients and the realisation of their goals. Whether procuring, enforcing or commercialising IP rights, he does a top job. Bernt Juthström engages in sophisticated IP work at Waselius & Wist. His litigation experience brings comfort whenever trouble brews. Krogerus senior associate Henri Kaikkonen presides over a broad IP practice. Active across the IP spectrum, he advises on IP protection and strategy but is at his best in contentious scenarios. Jan Lindberg of TRUST is a transactional IP aficionado and technology M&A expert with pristine negotiation skills. Topi Lusenius is a deft negotiator of IP contracts. With extensive in-house experience on his résumé, the Inventio partner has sharpened commercial instincts. Ella Mikkola runs the IP show in Bird & Bird’s Helsinki office and co-captains the firm’s Nordic IP group. International expertise, pharmaceutical regulatory knowledge and litigation prowess are the qualities that distinguish her. Though especially well known for their trademark work, Properta Attorneys’ Marja Tommila and Kukka Tommila are masters of all IP trades. Marja channels almost 40 years of experience into presenting unbeatable arguments in the courtroom, whilst Kukka is a perspicacious counsellor with ample litigation experience who can solve any patent conundrum.

Individuals: litigation

  • Rainer Hilli - Roschier, Attorneys Ltd
  • Ben Rapinoja - Borenius Attorneys Ltd
  • Petri Eskola - Backström & Co
  • 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 Attorneys Ltd
  • Sakari Salonen - Castrén & Snellman Attorneys Ltd
  • Mikael Segercrantz - Roschier, Attorneys Ltd
  • Panu Siitonen - Hannes Snellman Attorneys Ltd
  • Henri Kaikkonen - Krogerus
  • Ella Mikkola - Bird & Bird Attorneys Ltd
  • Kukka Tommila - Properta Attorneys Ltd

Individuals: prosecution

  • Kirsikka Etuaho - Espatent Oy
  • Annika Hakkila - Boco IP 
  • Folke Johansson - Papula-Nevinpat
  • Sanna Kalliola - Espatent Oy
  • Anu Keinänen - Boco IP 
  • Tomi Konkonen - Papula-Nevinpat
  • Toni Korelin - Primrose OY
  • Juhani Kupiainen - Heinonen & Co Attorneys-at-Law Ltd
  • Samu Lamberg - Espatent Oy
  • Tord Langenskiöld - Seppo Laine Oy
  • Karri Leskinen - Boco IP 
  • Marjukka Nuppola - Primrose OY
  • Regina Pudas - Heinonen & Co Attorneys-at-Law Ltd
  • Jonna Sahlin - Boco IP 
  • Markku Simmelvuo - Papula-Nevinpat
  • Sampsa Söderholm - Espatent Oy
  • Christoffer Sundman - Seppo Laine Oy
  • Jarkko Tiilikainen - Seppo Laine Oy
  • Pirta Tiiro - Berggren Oy
  • Sakari Värilä - Berggren 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
  • Bernt Juthström - Waselius & Wist
  • Henri Kaikkonen - Krogerus
  • Åsa Krook - Borenius Attorneys Ltd
  • Jan Lindberg - Attorneys-at-Law TRUST Ltd
  • Arto Linnervuo - Roschier, Attorneys Ltd
  • Topi Lusenius - Inventio Attorneys Ltd
  • Mikko Manner - Roschier, Attorneys Ltd
  • Ella Mikkola - Bird & Bird Attorneys Ltd
  • Niklas Östman - Roschier, Attorneys Ltd
  • Kimmo Rekola - Castrén & Snellman Attorneys Ltd
  • Panu Siitonen - Hannes Snellman Attorneys Ltd
  • Samuli Simojoki - Borenius Attorneys Ltd
  • Akseli Von Koch - Heinonen & Co Attorneys-at-Law Ltd

Luminaries

  • Peter Backström - Backström & Co
  • Kim Finnila - Berggren Oy
  • Seppo Kemppinen - Borenius Attorneys Ltd
  • Marja Tommila - Properta Attorneys Ltd