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Gold - Individuals: litigation
The plaudits come thick and fast for patent litigation powerhouse Powell Gilbert: one client calls it “the top set of solicitors in the UK”, while another reports: “It is a well-regarded firm with excellent partners and excellent associates, all with scientific expertise.” No stranger to landmark lawsuits, it valiantly fought the corner of Huawei in its headline-grabbing battle with Unwired Planet – a case which came interlaced with hotly debated FRAND licensing implications. Leading on this were Simon Ayrton, Zoë Butler and Peter Damerell. Ayrton and Butler recently put their advanced FRAND know-how to further use in representing patent licensor Access Advance in the first UK FRAND suit without an associated patent infringement claim. “Simon and Zoe are creative thinkers with a strong understanding of a complicated and fluid area of law. The combination of their business mindset, legal fundamentals and creative thinking results in high-quality, focused counsel.” Like Damerell, Butler also moves the needle for life sciences players: she has been acting for Biogen for the last five years, while cellular physiology PhD Damerell regularly features in high-value SPC disputes. Similarly dividing his time and attention between FRAND/SEP battles and complex healthcare device disputes is Tom Oliver, whose academic background in biochemistry proves invaluable on the latter side of his practice. He has lately gone out to bat for Actavis in a high-value damages claim against Pfizer, alongside colleague Bethan Hopewell. “Extremely bright and a big-picture thinker, Bethan is sharp on the science as well as the law and stays on top of all the detail. She is exceptional in every aspect – experience, strategy, execution and responsiveness.” Also active in the life sciences are Timothy Powell and Siddharth Kusumakar. Powell recently teamed up with Hopewell on a commercially significant second medical use and vaccine-related matter for GlaxoSmithKline; and with Kusumakar in multi-jurisdictional proceedings on behalf of Edwards Lifesciences. “Tim has a huge amount of experience and just ‘gets it’. He is a calm and knowledgeable presence who can immediately get to the nub of any tricky issue.” Academically qualified in microbiology and immunology, Kusumakar “thinks strategically and knows the important points to push and those to keep in reserve”. “He is unflappable, dependable and gives sound legal advice that helps to advance our business needs.” He recently defended Kymab in a major Supreme Court dispute against Regeneron alongside founding partner and solicitor-advocate Penny Gilbert, whose practice – which regularly sees her visit the Supreme Court and the CJEU – is informed by a doctorate in molecular biology. Chemist Tim Whitfield combines his patent work with a focus on pharmaceutical regulatory and SPC issues. “Incredibly calm and collected under pressure, he never loses sight of clients’ commercial objectives. Tim looks 10 steps ahead and manages large teams effectively while keeping on top of the details and regularly making insightful observations.” For electronics, IT and telecommunications matters, strategist and FRAND licensing ace Ari Laakkonen is “simply brilliant at developing winning strategies, and thorough and detail oriented when preparing a case for trial”. His fellow global strategist is Alex Wilson; fluency in French and German, a spell spent practising in Australia and experience as a former examiner at the EPO all give him a uniquely cosmopolitan perspective.