What aspect of your work do you enjoy most and why?
After graduating from high school, I was initially unable to make up my mind whether I should study mechanical engineering or law. My scientific environment stirred the drum for an engineering degree, but I only found my true passion when I switched to law after two years. With patent law, I found a field that combines the best of both worlds – legal battles for the argument and insight into a wide variety of technical challenges and developments.
Ultimately, however, it is the teamwork that makes my work so enriching and satisfying, and that adds so much fun into the long hours.
What do you look for in a top foreign patent team?
The highest professional skills are, of course, an indispensable requirement. But because you will typically find more than just one patent team that has this prerequisite, my personal focus is often on another aspect: the understanding that in teamwork the word ‘team’ comes first. It is not about ‘myself’ and ‘my ideas’, but rather the best argument and the best solution.
What are the biggest regulatory challenges currently facing life sciences companies in Switzerland?
The biggest regulatory challenges probably lie in the field of medical devices. In the past, Switzerland, although not a member of the European Union, adopted EU regulations, which simplified things for medical device companies domiciled in Switzerland or simply doing business there. With the enactment of the EU Medical Device Regulation and the EU In Vitro Diagnostics Regulation in Europe, a gap opened up that the Swiss legislature is now urgently seeking to close.
How do you envisage the European patent licensing landscape evolving over the next five years?
In our experience, the European patent licensing landscape does not actually exist. Over recent years, each industry has developed – rarely by formal processes, but simply by practice – its own licensing principles and standards. For example, antitrust concerns some industries more than others, and the ways in which licensing remunerations are composed, calculated and become due vary considerably from industry to industry. Personally, I do not expect to see fundamental developments affecting all industries over the next five years.
Andri Hess is a partner and a member of Homburger’s IP and IT, litigation and arbitration, and competition and regulatory practice teams. He has extensive experience representing clients in patent, other IP rights-related and technology-focused litigation and arbitration in a broad range of technical fields. Mr Hess is also experienced in representing clients in regulatory matters before governmental authorities.
Click here to see his IAM Patent 1000 2020 profile.