Irish law firms and businesses alike have welcomed indications from the UK government and the European Union that customs regulations will remain the same on both sides of the border post-Brexit. They are now increasingly optimistic that the economy will be able to withstand the effects of the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union – whatever they turn out to be. Dublin’s start-up scene continues to expand and is receiving impressive support from Enterprise Ireland; as a result, there is no shortage of patent applications for practitioners to draft. On the contentious side, things are also looking bright: multinationals see Ireland as a country of strategic importance and biosimilar litigation is booming.
Firms: litigation and transactions
- A&L Goodbody
- William Fry
- Arthur Cox
- DFMG Solicitors
- Mason Hayes & Curran
- McCann FitzGerald
- Hanna Moore + Curley
- Tomkins & Co
- Anne Ryan & Co
- MacLachlan & Donaldson
- PurdyLucey Intellectual Property
The first Irish law firm to open a US office, A&L Goodbody has always been outward-looking; it set up shop in New York in 1978, and now has bases in San Francisco and Palo Alto, which puts it in a fantastic position to take advantage of the flow of investment between the Emerald Isle and Silicon Valley. The Dublin-based John Whelan played a key role in the establishment and management of the San Francisco and Palo Alto offices from 2013 to 2016. Combining formidable business nous with first-rate legal knowledge, he excels in transactional and enforcement work and is a favourite among start-ups. His negotiating skills are simply sublime.
Anne Ryan & Co
Delivering timely, business-focused counsel that always hits the bullseye, Anne Ryan & Co is an eminently reliable prosecution house. Its patent practitioners keep their shoulders to the wheel to ensure that every conceivable outcome is figured into their calculations and their applications are as watertight as they possibly can be. This diligence and meticulousness has earned the team hordes of loyal clients and a stellar reputation among officials at the Irish Patents Office (IPO) and the European Patent Office (EPO). Founding partner Anne Ryan remains the standout star. She is a pharmaceuticals and biotechnology sage whose technical knowledge is unassailable.
Arthur Cox’s dynamic, innovative, fast-moving IP squad pulls out all the stops to further its clients’ interests. With the legal and commercial know-how to navigate uncharted territory, it manages to make headway where others would simply sink in the mud; technology transfers are sewed up efficiently and effectively and shrewd decisions are made on when to pursue litigation. Enforcement dynamo David O’Donohoe garners praise from interviewees for his approach to teamwork. “Working with him is a really collaborative experience. He makes things as seamless and comfortable as possible.” His life sciences expertise is the talk of the town.
ByrneWallace’s profound knowledge of patent law and hands-on customer service add up to a compelling package. The firm prides itself on delivering all support in a practical and personable manner that makes tricky contractual negotiations and thorny courtroom proceedings as painless as possible for rights holders. Colin Sainsbury embodies this client-oriented ethos in everything he does. As senior vice president of Élan, he played a pivotal role in the corporation’s restructuring, which involved the sale of assets worth over $1.8 billion. There are few patent practitioners in Ireland who understand business like him; he is the man to go to for significant international transactions.
Cruickshank marries airtight technical knowledge with around-the-clock availability and a modern, unstuffy atmosphere. Plugged in to how social media and the Internet are opening up new opportunities for entrepreneurs and multinationals alike, the squad provides extensive tech-savvy portfolio management counsel that misses nothing.
Businesses needing transactional and enforcement support will find a steadfast ally in DFMG Solicitors. Its hard-hitting, worldly wise practitioners have a nose for new commercialisation opportunities and a fantastic track record in the courtroom. As regards customer service, the team never stops looking at ways to improve the client experience; currently it is investing in sophisticated new IT technologies as part of a move to become as paperless as possible. Spearheading the practice, the “unmatched” Patricia McGovern has a reputation that precedes her. “Patricia is the go-to lawyer in Ireland for patent disputes. She has unrivalled infringement experience and is collaborative and responsive. It’s a real pleasure working with her.” Throughout her illustrious career she has always given 100% for her clients.
Having celebrated its 90th anniversary in 2017, FRKelly is a firm fixture on Ireland’s legal landscape. The IP powerhouse has a stellar reputation but is not one to rest on its laurels; it continues to expand its ranks with the recruitment of enterprising new talent. Sizable life sciences, engineering and electronics teams – featuring a striking number practitioners with PhDs – allow it to handle a substantial number of oppositions before the EPO. Recently the set has been especially busy supporting university spin-outs; alert to the differences between their needs and those of multinational companies, it furnishes them with holistic, far-reaching support to help them get off the ground. Managing partner Maura O’Connell has a complete command of life sciences issues – filing a tricky but potentially game-changing patent is the sort of challenge she loves. David Brophy is in his element advising on telecommunications and software-related inventions. Secretary of the Online Communications Committee of the European Patent Institute, he is au courant with all the latest developments in the Internet world. Philip Coyle is a physics whizz whose cool temperament always instils confidence in clients. He is as comfortable wearing an inventors’ hat as a lawyers’ one and carefully weighs up every option before suggesting the best way forward.
Hanna Moore + Curley is a compelling choice for innovative high-tech companies with interests across the globe. The firm has top-class offices in Dublin and Belfast, plus a thriving outpost in Beijing, and boasts plenty of technically astute, cosmopolitan practitioners. Barry Moore is a physicist with nearly 20 years’ experience under his belt. Having prosecuted countless mechanical patents, he has a sixth sense for what examiners are looking for. Fellow name partner Donnacha Curley brings valuable in-house experience to the table from a spell as an applications engineer for a US electronics entity. Programmers will also find astute counsel in Peter Hanna. He is a former vice chair of the software commission of the Union of Industrial Property Practitioners in Europe, not to mention having given lectures before the Silicon Valley Intellectual Property Law Association. Conor Boyce is another exemplary candidate to call on. His out-of-the-box thinking and canny business mind make him a nifty problem solver. Since joining in late 2017, Anna Hally has settled in well – and added a new dimension to the practice. Her life sciences expertise is proving a particular draw for pharmaceutical companies.
MacLachlan & Donaldson
For over half a century, MacLachlan & Donaldson has been serving up seamless IP counsel to an assortment of national and international entities. Its go-getting, spirited patent practitioners communicate complex legal concepts in easily digestible reports and respond to queries in the blink of an eye, something that has made them indispensable to time-pressed business executives. Filing before the IPO and the EPO is a key strength, but nothing is beyond this multitalented team. Denis McCarthy is an impressive prosecutor and has a formidable reputation in the community. His fleet-footed teammate Yvonne McKeown is another strategic whizz. She is at her best assisting clients in the life sciences, pharmaceuticals and medical devices sectors. “Her experience is invaluable. No one can say a bad word about her – she’s a veteran in the industry.”
Mason Hayes & Curran
Experienced on both sides of the contentious/non-contentious divide, Mason Hayes & Curran offers a stellar suite of services. Its versatile team has played a part in some of the country’s biggest patent cases as well as advising on significant cross-border IP restructuring and migration matters. Rights holders coming here can rest assured that they will receive theoretically robust advice with a distinctly commercial flavour. Of late the “fantastic” Gerard Kelly has been making headlines assisting Teva on momentous patent invalidity proceedings concerning a tiotropium bromide patent; this is the first Irish case to deal with the issue of confidentiality clubs as well as the first Irish patent revocation case to go to trial since 2010. He is a hard-hitting enforcement expert who knows all the tricks in the book.
A formidable force in intellectual property, McCann FitzGerald offers wall-to-wall patent support and has particular strength in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device sectors. Its shrewd, commercially minded lawyers prosecute with prowess and try to avoid costly enforcement proceedings where possible, but, when in the courtroom, pull no punches. Fiona O’Beirne has put in a plenitude of first-rate showings before the Commercial Court – cases for Bristol-Myers Squibb, Novartis and Eli Lilly all feature on her CV. She has an encyclopaedic knowledge of intellectual property and pleads with remarkable poise. Twenty-five years at the coalface have turned Roddy Bourke into a contentious doyen too. He is a medical devices hotshot with a complete understanding of commercial culture and the pressures of running a business.
PurdyLucey Intellectual Property
Hallmarks of the IP service at PURDYLUCEY are attention to detail and a resolutely commercial focus; every patent application – whether under the Irish, UK, European or Patent Cooperation Treaty systems – is drafted, filed and prosecuted with the utmost care and rigour. Telecommunications aficionado Michael Lucey has represented scores of high-tech US multinationals on proceedings before the EPO, and his excellent communication skills ensure that business executives are aware of what is happening every step of the way. His co-founder, Barry Purdy has a variegated client roster featuring Irish universities, US medical schools and European small and medium-sized enterprises. Thanks to a four-year stretch working in-house at Unilever, he appreciates C-suite priorities and adopts a panoramic perspective at all times.
Tomkins & Co
Some firms provide legal support in a vacuum – not Tomkins & Co. Its patent virtuosos put together transparent, accessible reports, framing advice in the context of wider commercial concerns and carefully outlining all foreseeable consequences. The firm’s sophisticated Bellamy platform means clients also benefit from 24/7 access to their files and a range of bespoke reporting tools. Managing partner Cathal Lane is at his best monetising valuable rights; he uses his interpersonal skills to seal lucrative licensing contracts. Christina Gates is also adept at getting a signature on the bottom line and making the most of patent portfolios. Her area of expertise is biotechnology. The charismatic, creative, scientifically curious Olivia Catesby takes the reins on all engineering mandates. Regardless of how busy she is, she finds the time for face-to-face meetings with clients and conducts thorough research into the activity of their competitors.
WhitneyMoore continues to make waves on the patent enforcement scene. Its masterly practitioners have the experience to know when to negotiate and when to keep pushing; their inarguable lines of reasoning repeatedly secure favourable results. Being the exclusive Irish member of Meritas – an international network of over 170 law firms – the team has the contacts and resources to extinguish flames wherever they arise. The seasoned Aoife Murphy is the first port of call for many interested parties. “She’s an extremely solid professional who definitely knows her stuff. You see her on the other side in litigation all the time.”
Comprising 20 solicitors, William Fry’s thriving IP team has the expertise and experience to handle large-scale patent enforcement matters with aplomb. “It’s the number one firm in Ireland when it comes to intellectual property. Everyone there is excellent, efficient and straightforward.” The side’s recent highlights include assisting Boehringer Ingelheim in the defence of significant Commercial Court proceedings brought by Teva Pharmaceuticals and representing GlaxoSmithKline on a hard-fought battle against Pfizer. Handling this latter case together, Carol Plunkett and Laura Scott are two highly respected litigators. Plunkett’s creativity and consummate professionalism have helped her to pull clients out of a slew of seemingly dead-end situations. Scott is co-head of the firm’s life sciences and healthcare practice and for good reason; she knows the sectors inside out. The team has also been blazing a trail in the transactional space thanks to commercial mavens David Cullen and Leo Moore. Cullen is in his element assisting on digital matters – the online world is a second home for him – while Moore has been busy handling notable licensing work for X-Celeprint, one of the world leaders in micro-LED printing.
Other recommended expertsLeading both BEAUCHAMPS’ IP and technology and data protection and freedom of information teams, Maureen Daly is a versatile and “extremely reliable” practitioner entrusted by start-ups, pharmaceutical titans and public sector bodies alike. She is an accomplished patent filer but really comes into her own enforcing them in a courtroom. Rights holders wanting partner-level attention at all times would be well advised to seek out Alistair Payne at Acuatus. Not one to palm work off to associates, he gets stuck into a file the second it lands on his desk. His ingenuity on the contentious side is beyond question.
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
- 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 - Hanna Moore + Curley
- 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
- Barry Purdy - PURDYLUCEY Intellectual Property
- Anne Ryan - Anne Ryan & Co