Norway

Although the oil and gas industry still plays a prominent role both in the Norwegian economy and in the workload of the country’s IP practitioners, its key players are steadily shifting towards alternative energy sources, resulting in an uptick in instructions in that area. The global movement to go green has had a significant impact in Norway, with offshore wind power and hydropower gaining more traction than ever; but interestingly, fish farming and aquaculture were two of the trending industries of 2021. Pharmaceuticals still generate a significant proportion of the cases heard before the courts as innovators and generics continue to battle it out; and overall, there is no shortage of diverse and high-profile work for the country’s lawyers and patent attorneys. The Norwegian legal system, with its specialised court and expert lay judges, makes this a favourable jurisdiction for rights holders to enforce their rights and shore up their market positions.

Firms: litigation and transactions

  • Advokatfirmaet BAHR AS
  • Advokatfirmaet GjessingReimers AS
  • Advokatfirmaet Thommessen AS
  • Kvale Advokatfirma
  • Advokatfirmaet Haavind AS
  • Schjødt
  • Wikborg Rein
  • Arntzen de Besche Advokatfirma AS

Firms: prosecution

Acapo AS

“Time and time again, Acapo proves it is top of the line. It houses a team of experts who are brilliant at what they do: they look at clients’ companies as a whole, rather than just their assets, and guide them through prosecution processes while avoiding expensive and time-consuming conflicts.” The side enjoys a sterling reputation for its deft handling of biotechnology, aquaculture and electronics instructions, due in no small part to the hard graft of Bodil Sollie Hjelsvold and Stein Roar Gjøen. Sollie Hjelsvold acquits herself with distinction whether drafting applications or conducting freedom-to-operate analyses; while Roar Gjøen shines brightly in his capacity as an expert lay judge in infringement proceedings and when providing valuable litigation support. “He is always several steps ahead of the competition and outmanoeuvres any incoming threats in a smart and non-aggressive way. “Exceptionally skilled in the art of filing strategies”, Johan Nyander recently joined the group from Zacco. He holds valuable industry insight from director positions at the Volvo Group and AkzoNobel.

Advokatfirmaet BAHR AS

Mr Gunnar Sørlie “An outstanding firm with a formidable litigation practice”, BAHR tackles some of the biggest, most commercially consequential cases that come before the Norwegian courts. It recently assisted energy technology company Baker Hughes and GE Oil & Gas in proceedings that raised important questions regarding the scope of protection and validity of patents in the area of subsea technologies. The matter was spearheaded by Are Stenvik and Gunnar Sørlie. Department head Stenvik earns praise as “one of the strongest in Norway when it comes to patents. He is a tough and highly effective litigator with an immense knowledge base, as well as a leading academic author”. Tenacious advocate Sørlie is in his element tackling hotly contested pharmaceutical skirmishes, but is equally proficient across the industry spectrum. He and Stenvik recently went to the Supreme Court for Aker BioMarine, a biotechnology innovator and Antarctic krill-harvesting company. Also worthy of special mention is Eirik Basmo Ellingsen, a rising star on the Norwegian patent landscape. In the words of one client: “Eirik won our utmost appreciation and trust due to his thoroughness, knowledgeable assessments and creative advice. He is well prepared, sharp and communicative, making for a seamless workflow.”

Advokatfirmaet GjessingReimers AS

“An absolutely fantastic firm and one of the best in Norway, GjessingReimers is full of excellent litigators.” The boutique has been on an upwards trajectory since setting up shop in 2019 and there are no signs of it slowing down; it dispatches intricate mandates for major industry players, puts in polished performances in court and has a keen eye for lucrative licensing opportunities. Co-founder Ida Gjessing leaves peers and clients alike nothing short of impressed: “Ida is tremendously respected and the way she handles her cases is remarkable – she is calm, thorough and really gets her message across. Without a doubt, Ida is one of the best.” Sigrid Toft Fløystad is a force to be reckoned with in the life sciences. She brings deep regulatory knowledge to the mix, gained through a stint as general counsel for Norway’s largest dairy product cooperative TINE. The “super-experienced” Amund Brede Svendsen is “a highly skilled lawyer who is a pleasure to have on the opposite side”; oil and gas and biotechnology are his metiers.

Advokatfirmaet Haavind AS

Haavind is the first port of call for leaders in the life sciences, IT and marine industries, particularly when complex disputes are looming. For example, it recently prevailed for fish farming player STIM in proceedings concerning the validity of patents relating to its blockbuster product. Lead counsel on the matter, Vebjørn Iversen litigates with poise and is unfazed by the pressure of acting for heavyweights such as pharmaceutical company Orifarm – he and Håkon Bleken are duking it out in a cross-border dispute against Neurim Pharmaceuticals, which will also be heard in Denmark and Sweden. Supreme Court-admitted lawyer Bleken can be counted on to produce compelling arguments that carry the day.

Advokatfirmaet Thommessen AS

Norway’s booming business sectors – pharmaceuticals, aquaculture and energy – are finely tended to by cracking commercial outfit Thommessen; its sophisticated project management tools, refined use of technology and ongoing processing and operation improvements give it an edge on large-scale instructions. Recently, Camilla Vislie and Magnus Hauge Greaker went out to bat for Teva and Yeda in proceedings against one of the world’s largest generic companies, Mylan. “An incredibly experienced lawyer, Camilla takes an active interest in her client’s businesses”; while Hauge Greaker “has a great ability to get technical arguments across to the court. The pair are efficient and responsive, quickly understand the technology at hand and coordinate with teams in different jurisdictions very well”. Effusive feedback is also garnered by Eirik Raanes who “argues the most important and complex legal issues without getting bogged down or side-tracked. He is quick to respond and a pleasure to work with, and is not afraid to challenge others in the pursuit of getting an even better outcome”. He and Greaker successfully represented Enhanced Drilling, ensuring that its two patents were found valid in their entirety.

Arntzen de Besche Advokatfirma AS

Arntzen de Besche’s technology and innovation group has been in fine fettle of late: the commercially savvy guidance it provides to innovators in the oil and gas, life sciences and IT industries proves vital in helping companies to grow their market share. Its transactional capabilities are especially noteworthy, as illustrated by Andreas Nordby’s recent role assisting Shearwater Geoservices with the establishment of a new streamer technology joint venture. Counsellor to the stars, Nordby is the deputy chair of the dispute resolution committee at the Norwegian Directorate of Health; his deep playbook ensures that he has all the moves to triumph in make-or-break situations. Fellow department co-captain Tommy Dahlen is “a valuable adviser, due to his understanding of technology and ability to simplify complex processes to drive momentum and secure a successful outcome. He excels at devising strategies that ultimately lead to creative solutions that meet clients’ commercial needs. Tommy has a positive attitude and a customer-oriented approach, and delivers results swiftly and efficiently”.

Bryn Aarflot AS 

Storied boutique Bryn Aarflot has all the technical expertise you could wish for: its practitioners often serve as expert judges and witnesses, and the one-stop shop assembles multi-disciplinary teams of lawyers and patent attorneys who work hand in glove to tackle high-stakes briefs across every industry. First among equals is Kristine Rekdal, who leads the patent division. She has a flair for fostering innovation within the start-up community and a magnificent success rate before the EPO. Those faced with conundrums in the chemistry arena would be hard pressed to find better counsel than Marianne Weiby Wulff: “She is incredibly bright and diligent, and her advice is both clear and thorough.” Joining the pair in the IAM Patent 1000 this year are Cécile Hermansen and Jon D Heggstad, who both attract glowing reports. “Cecile’s deep biotechnology insight and brilliant communication have been crucial to our operations,” enthuses one client. “She has a tactical approach, and assesses any weak points in a patent and any discrepancies to ensure a successful outcome in each case.” Mechanical engineer Heggstad “makes life very easy for busy companies – he takes care of any changes and deadlines that may arise with utmost professionalism, and stakeholders feel comfortable leaving matters in his hands”.

Håmsø Patentbyrå AS

“A go-to firm in Europe”, Håmsø is a tremendous resource for Fortune 50 and 500 companies with large-scale research and development programmes: “Its highly skilled and thoughtful attorneys are responsive, technically brilliant and provide excellent counsel in a cost-effective manner, all while navigating the intricacies of regional legislation.” The outfit operates effortlessly across the technical spectrum, but is especially famed for its capabilities in the oil and gas sector – a particular forte for area squad captain Krister Mangersnes. From strategic advice to prosecution before the EPO and assistance in contentious proceedings, “Krister is a stellar practitioner and one of the best advisers in Norway by a long shot. He is clear, concise, legally and technically brilliant, and can see the big commercial picture too. Krister and his team are super-impressive and continue to stay ahead of the competition.” Ex-Phillips man Steven Van Dijk knows exactly what in-house counsel and C-suite execs are looking for, which means that “his feedback and guidance is excellent. He has a fantastic attitude, is easy to talk to and always fights for his clients’ best interests”. IAM Patent 1000 newcomers Richard Weaver and Kjell Arne Hoff boast refined skillsets in software-based modelling and aquaculture respectively. “Responsive and well informed, Richard understands business needs perfectly and has excellent technical knowledge. He is an efficient and insightful strategic adviser, as well as an excellent drafter.” Of Arne Hoff, one patron reports: “He is thorough, service minded and utterly devoted to his craft. Kjell produces excellent results, even in time-sensitive matters, and is a great team player”.

Kvale Advokatfirma

When life sciences titans clash with key competitors, Kvale can frequently be found in their corner. For example, it recently brought home a victory for Mylan and Sython against Teva and Yeda Research and Development Company after a six-day hearing at the court of first instance. A key architect to this success was Ingvild Hanssen-Bauer, “one of the most appreciated litigators in the country with an incredible ability to grasp complex technical issues. As a result, she elegantly counters questions from expert witnesses in cross-examinations and brings new angles of attack to each case”. Further contentious firepower is provided by Marie Vaale-Hallberg, “whose strong market status comes from her in-depth expertise, knowledge and in-house background. She presents her arguments most impressively and her knack for strategies only strengthens clients’ positions”.

Onsagers AS 

“Top-tier IP firm” Onsagers is “highly recommended on every level – it has excellent attorneys with strong scientific backgrounds across a range of industries, who all have a genuine interest in understanding the businesses they work with and provide advice tailored to match”. The life sciences provide a happy hunting ground, in which Kari Simonsen, Kim Livgard, Dorte Lajer and Edmund André Høydahl have earned glittering reputations. “An encyclopaedia of EPO case law and one of the best patent attorneys in the country, Kari gives creative, straightforward advice. She knows the best arguments to put forward from a technical standpoint and is, beyond comparison, the finest choice for litigation support in the pharmaceutical sector.” Also hailed as one of Norway’s best, Livgard is “super-intelligent and a great listener. He has deep technical understanding and can explain complex matters to legal judges in a pedagogical way”. Chemical engineer Lajer positions herself as a true business partner, finding ways to bring added value to clients’ internal infrastructure, and has all the answers to tricky questions on European practices – all of which makes her a fan favourite among small entrepreneurs and giant multinationals alike. A new face in the guide this year, Andre Høydahl brings a rare skillset to the table as a trained pharmacist. His wisdom and experience gained as senior engineer at the Norwegian Industrial Property Office (NIPO) stands him in good stead to handle any instruction that comes his way. Physics, energy generation and power electronics are strongholds for Per Reiner and Endre Woldsted. A former R&D engineer at ABB, Reiner is a familiar face before the EPO, with a pristine track record in opposition and appeal proceedings; while the “skilled and hands-on” Woldsted is in his element coordinating worldwide portfolios and devising shrewd strategies.

Protector IP AS

Sharp, succinct, commercially informed guidance that is easy on the pocketbook is the name of the game at Protector IP. The compact boutique has mastered the art of prosecution and has a technically diverse team of seasoned pros who go the extra mile as a matter of course.  Robust leadership is provided in abundance by Arild Tofting, who previously served as an examiner at NIPO and knows all the tips and tricks of getting patents through to grant. Inventors appreciate his patience and willingness to get to grips with the technology in order to create the most watertight application possible.  For complex searches and freedom-to-operate analyses, Bjarne Coward is the one to call. The mechanical engineer knows how to crunch the numbers quickly and efficiently, producing comprehensive, but not overwhelming, reports on a company’s market position. Resident EPO guru Anne-Gro Bildoe Imset knows the patent system like the back of her hand, ensuring that the applications she drafts in the mechanical field pass through unimpeded. Joining them in the guide this year are Krister Mindrebøe and Dag Thrane, who bring vast experience in the offshore and sensor technology sectors to the table. “From cost-effective strategies to complex drafting and strategic filing, you can always trust Krister to do a fantastic job.” Thrane has “a tremendous passion for the work he does. He has a great understanding of the subject matter, writes claims that are to the point and makes clients’ lives that much easier”.

Schjødt

The dynamic, forward-thinking troop at commercial outfit Schjødt consistently shines in high-stakes litigation with significant commercial ramifications and has the transactional wherewithal to get lucrative deals across the line. As an example, Halvor Manshaus recently assisted Subsea Smart Solutions in taking on industry giant GE Oil & Gas in a series of disputes that have caught the attention of the oil and offshore industry. “Halvor is hands down the best lawyer I have ever worked with,” enthuses one patron. “His understanding of business strategy and complex technologies, as well as his legal acumen, distinguishes him from the crowd.” Joining him on this matter was Thomas Hagen, a rising star on the Norwegian patent litigation scene. “Thomas and Halvor’s precision, experience and preparedness make the difference. It is rare to encounter this level of winning experience, professionalism and commitment to success.” Fellow courtroom whizz Sigurd Holter Torp is a versatile advocate who is well suited to those embroiled in diverse IP, commercial and even criminal disputes. Pharmaceutical players are well taken care of by Knut Sverre Skurdal Andresen, who recently acted for Merck Sharp Dohme against Sandoz in sprawling preliminary injunction proceedings across 13 European countries. He is lauded for “his deep knowledge, dedication, technical understanding and willingness to do the utmost for clients”. On the non-contentious front, Tord Fondevik makes his debut in the guide this year as “one of the finest and most brilliant transactions specialists”.

Wikborg Rein

With a network of outposts across Oslo, Bergen, London and Singapore, and a representative branch in Shanghai, Wikborg Rein makes light work of complex, high-value global disputes – which is why multinationals in the pharmaceutical and offshore sectors frequently enlist it to fight their battles. The market is unanimous in its praise for Gunnar Meyer, who recently assisted Teva Pharmaceuticals in contentious proceedings: “He is one of the best litigators in Norway – extremely skilled, super-personable and just a joy to work with. A true gentleman.”

Zacco 

Unrivalled in its geographical reach, full-service consultancy Zacco operates out of 30 bases in six countries and has a pan-European presence like no other firm on the Norwegian patent market. It consistently seeks to develop its offering and has lately been focusing on emerging trends such as artificial intelligence and digitalisation. Anne Sønstevold, Hans Langan and Rikard Mikalsen form an A-star line-up. As a former research scientist at GE Healthcare and the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment, Sønstevold prosecutes with finesse in the chemistry, life sciences and healthcare sectors. With over two decades in the game, Langan has carved a niche in mechanical engineering, where his strategic planning really shines through. IAM Patent 1000 newcomer Mikalsen “stands out for his ability to grasp new technical concepts and ability to identify crucial claims. He is a genuinely trustworthy professional, his responsiveness is stellar and he comes highly recommended as the go-to attorney in Europe”.

Other recommended experts

Over at Kluge Advokatfirma, Kyrre Andersen has a broad range of contentious experience and never lets patrons down; he sees matters from a bird’s-eye view to come up with holistic solutions to their problems. Recently moving to Wiersholm, the “quick and proactive, Anne Marie Sejersted knows how to get the desired results in contentious proceedings and meaningfully supports clients through issues that are unique to Norway.”

Individuals: litigation

  • Ida Gjessing - Advokatfirmaet GjessingReimers AS
  • Ingvild Hanssen-Bauer - Kvale Advokatfirma
  • Halvor Manshaus - Schjødt
  • Gunnar Meyer - Wikborg Rein
  • Are Stenvik - Advokatfirmaet BAHR AS
  • Magnus Hauge Greaker - Advokatfirmaet Thommessen AS
  • Eirik W Raanes - Advokatfirmaet Thommessen AS
  • Anne Marie Sejersted - Advokatfirmaet Wiersholm AS
  • Amund Brede Svendsen - Advokatfirmaet GjessingReimers AS
  • Camilla Vislie - Advokatfirmaet Thommessen AS
  • Kyrre Andersen - Kluge Advokatfirma AS
  • Håkon Bleken - Advokatfirmaet Haavind AS
  • Thomas Hagen - Schjødt
  • Sigurd Holter Torp - Schjødt
  • Vebjørn K Iversen - Advokatfirmaet Haavind AS
  • Andreas Nordby - Arntzen de Besche Advokatfirma AS
  • Knut Sverre Skurdal Andresen - Schjødt
  • Sigrid Toft Fløystad - Advokatfirmaet GjessingReimers AS

Individuals: prosecution

Individuals: transactions

  • Tommy Dahlen - Arntzen de Besche Advokatfirma AS
  • Tord Fondevik - Schjødt
  • Ida Gjessing - Advokatfirmaet GjessingReimers AS
  • Halvor Manshaus - Schjødt
  • Gunnar Meyer - Wikborg Rein
  • Andreas Nordby - Arntzen de Besche Advokatfirma AS
  • Anne Marie Sejersted - Advokatfirmaet Wiersholm AS
  • Are Stenvik - Advokatfirmaet BAHR AS
  • Marie Vaale-Hallberg - Kvale Advokatfirma

Luminaries

  • Gunnar Sørlie - Advokatfirmaet BAHR AS