Introduction

Intellectual Property

De Brauw’s Intellectual Property practice is firmly embedded in our 150+ litigation practice and is uniquely positioned to handle the most complex high-end matters with an IP angle. The practice is characterized by coving the entire field of IP law – with patents, trademarks and trade secrets as the main pillars – and handling issues that are at the intersections between IP and other practice areas, such as: competition law, M&A, arbitration, tax, contract law, international private law, regulatory and ICT.

We have advised and litigated for companies in the healthcare, life sciences, food and beverages, retail, telecommunication, ICT, energy, transportation, chemical, materials, banking and insurance sectors. Clients praise us for our “deep industry awareness” and “excellent industry knowledge” (IAM Patent 1000 and MIP respectively).

This means we can offer our clients targeted legal and broad sector knowledge.

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Patents

Our full service and internationally focused practice enables us to handle and resolve complex multi-jurisdictional litigation in the area of patents. We deal with ground-breaking cases at all levels, including Supreme Court litigation and opposition proceedings before the European Patent Office (EPO) and across all technical areas, including the bio-tech, pharmaceutical, food and beverages, telecoms, high-tech, chemical and engineering sectors.

To name a few examples:

  • We recently successfully represented a global healthcare company in Supreme Court proceedings in relation to a landmark case in the field of second medical use claims in pharmaceutical patents (click here to read more);
  • Our patent team assisted one of the leading providers of ICT in a major dispute over global fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) licences for its standard essential mobile technology patents (click here to read more);
  • We strategically advise and represent a pharmaceutical company in multi-jurisdictional patent litigation, including entitlement claims, against another pharmaceutical company. Actions are pending in the Netherlands, the US and before the EPO;
  • We represent a pharmaceutical company in defending subgroup patents in EPO opposition proceedings;
  • De Brauw represented one of the world’s first global biotechnology companies in an invalidity action regarding patents on the highest selling presciption drug Humira – the case touches upon legal aspects of biosimilars and dosing regimen patents;
  • We strategically advise a US-based telecommunications company on a potential contractual, patent and trade secret dispute;
  • We also strategically assist a global coffee and tea company in all phases and legal aspects of the product development and launch of their capsules (click here to read more);
  • We successfully represented a Dutch multinational in post-M&A arbitration in the chemicals field in relation to an alleged breach of IP warranties; and
  • We represent pharmaceutical clients in contractual litigation on milestones.

 

Life Sciences

We have a strong life sciences practice. This is not limited to patents and general IP litigation, but equally covers related areas such as regulatory aspects, pharmaceutical advertising, product liability and food and health claims. We furthermore assist pharmaceutical clients with compliance and investigations.

Our life sciences practice spans virtually the entire spectrum of legal services related to this sector, focusing on the innovative pharmaceutical industry and on biotech firms, as well as companies in the food science industry. We cover all legal angles of life sciences work, ranging from M&A and financing transactions (including IPOs of biotech firms), licensing transactions (often on a global scale), regulatory and IP strategic advice to litigation.

Our patent and technology practice is an important pillar of De Brauw’s life sciences practice. Almost all of the work in the patent practice involves complex, multi-jurisdictional patent litigation: we are the patent litigation firm of choice for many multinationals wishing to coordinate their patent strategy throughout Europe. Aside from patent litigation, the services of our patent practice cover a wide range of patent-related matters, including general patent strategy advice, opinions on validity and infringement, oppositions, advice on ownership/inventorship issues and licensing. In this regard we also advise on worldwide regulatory aspects. Our patent law practice members combine their strong foundation in patent and procedural law with their extensive knowledge of the economics of and the mechanisms in the life sciences sector.

 

Trade secrets 

Trade secrets and other confidential information, whether technical or commercial, are a key asset for all businesses. The misappropriation thereof may have a huge adverse impact on a company’s competitive advantage. At the same time trade secrets end up in the hands of third parties more often (whether it is through employees moving to the competitor or through sharing with collaboration partners in a joint development project). The main underlying cause for trade secret issues currently are: mobility of workers, business partners and cybercrime.

Being embedded in the largest litigation practice group in the Netherlands we have all the expertise in-house to assist our clients in trade secret disputes. We do not only have the technical expertise to fully appreciate the value of our client’s trade secrets, but can for example also rely upon our  Employment & Employee Benefits practice when the misappropriation was conducted by former employees, or our Commercial Contracting practice when it concerns a misappropriation following a collaboration between companies and our ICT practice in relation to misappropriation of digitally stored trade secrets and when cybercrime is involved. Our unparalleled experience with seizures of evidence, proceedings to get access to documents, and regulatory and criminal enforcement, furthermore enables us gather the necessary evidence to establish the misappropriation in legal proceedings. We thereby do not limit ourselves to our own jurisdiction, but also leverage upon the vast experience we have gained from being involved in or coordinating multijurisdictional disputes. For example by gathering evidence in one jurisdiction and using this in another jurisdiction. We have experience in coordinating parallel proceedings in both the US and in Europe. Moreover, the Netherlands is an attractive jurisdiction to target importation of infringing goods from countries such as China.

 

Soft IP

Our soft IP practice covers all aspects of soft IP: trademarks, copyrights, design rights being the main pillars, and we also regularly deal with matters relating to trade name rights, slavish imitation and advertising law. We are the only full spectrum IP practice at a premium full-service firm in the Netherlands and handle complicated cross-disciplinary disputes and brand-rich deals.

Our strength is also resembled by the ground-breaking cases before the Dutch Supreme Court and the European Court of Justice (ECJ):

  • We represent a leading company in secure connectivity solutions in trademark infringement proceedings regarding their trademarks for Near Field Communication ICs, which are for example widely used in public transport systems all over the world (click here for the Dutch court decision);
  • De Brauw assists a financial services company in securing the undisturbed use of their corporate in Spain, with a combination of (successful) opposition proceedings before the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), the General Court and the ECJ, Spanish litigation and strategic advice (click here for the General Court judgment and here for the ECJ judgment);
  • We currently represent a leading food manufacturer in litigation that reached the ECJ regarding copyright protection on taste (click here for more information);
  • We have been involved in more landmark Supreme Court and ECJ IP cases than any other law firm;
  • We recently successfully assisted an Anglo-Dutch publishing group in their dispute regarding their trademark and trade name (click here for more information);
  • We regularly assist a global coffee and tea company in all phases and legal aspects of the product development and launch of their capsules (click here to read more);
  • We represent the largest FMCG company worldwide in IP disputes nationally and throughout Europe; and
  • We represent a multinational durable consumer goods company in state aid investigations, revolving around IP licences and value.

 

Non-contentious IP

With regard to transactional IP work, our practice is not limited to licensing and R&D work: we also represent our clients in IP-focused transactions internationally, and on the development and exploitation of their IP rights all over the world. For example, our IP team (and other teams within De Brauw) acted as lead counsel to a Dutch multinational that is leading in the field of global paints and coatings, in the high profile divestment transaction of its specialty chemicals business (click here for more information) and the split off of a leading health technology company into two companies as well as the subsequent IPO and listing on Euronext Amsterdam (click here and here for more information).

In addition, the practice regularly provides advice on a full range of media and entertainment matters and together with data protection specialists of De Brauw leads a consumer goods and retail online working group. This is a special task force including legal counsel from AholdDelhaize, AkzoNobel, Bol.com, Booking.com, Catawiki, FrieslandCampina, Heineken, JDE, Philips Lighting, Royal Philips, Takeaway.com, Tesla, Tommy Hilfiger/PVH and Uber, where all legal developments, issues, pitfalls and practical solutions to online and social media challenges are discussed. This extraordinary group brings together experience and expertise at the highest level, and is unique in the market.