The following law firms are renowned for their expertise across a broad range of intellectual property matters, from brand management and transactional IP to high profile litigation. Our research recognises both international law firms with strong cross-border IP departments and specialised niche firms which have developed a strong reputation for their work in a specific area such as patent litigation or trademarks.

1 Bird & Bird

2 Hoyng Rokh Monegier

3 Bristows

4 Hogan Lovells

5 Finnegan Henderson Farabow Garrett & Dunner

6 Kilpatrick Townsend &Stockton

7 Fross Zelnick Lehrman & Zissu

8 Gowling WLG

9 Bereskin & Parr

10 Powell Gilbert

11 Taylor Wessing

12 Herbert Smith Freehills

13 Simmons & Simmons

14 Rouse

15 Cooley

16 Norton Rose Fulbright

17 Allen & Overy

18 Véron & Associés

19 Knobbe Martens Olson & Bear

20 Fish & Richardson

21 Plesner Law Firm

Bird & Bird’s pedigree in IP law is undisputed. The firm has over 300 IP lawyers located in 28 offices across the world advising its clients, from the biggest brand names to start-ups, on protecting, managing and commercialising their IP assets. The firm features prominently across our IP-related publications, although it particularly excels in pan-European patent litigation. Recent highlights include successfully representing Nokia in its long running patent dispute with IPCom; it also represented Sanofi in European-wide patent infringement proceedings in relation to its blockbuster product Plavix.

Among the firm’s most prominent practitioners include the joint head of the international IP practice Morag Macdonald, who has been involved in many of the biggest European patent disputes over the last two decades. She is widely recommended as “an experienced, fiercely intelligent and well-known patent litigator”, who is a “choice counsel” for complex pan-European patent actions. In Düsseldorf, fellow co-head Christian Harmsen focuses on international patent litigation across all technical areas. He is highly regarded for his coordination of cross-border disputes for clients such as Caterpillar, Electrolux, Ericsson, GlaxoSmithKline and Honeywell. Head of the IP team in Brussels Bruno Vandermeulen has “a superb reputation” as “a first class patent litigator”. Clients state that “his coordination of cross-border actions is exemplary”. Head of IP in Spain Manuel Lobato is “among the very best European IP practitioners”, according to our respondents. He is also seen to be “a very tough opponent” in complex IP disputes.

International IP boutique Hoyng Rokh Monegier is widely regarded as one of the leading firms in Europe for IP law, with an exceptionally strong team of senior lawyers featuring in its offices across the continent. Its strength in patent law is displayed through our award of Patent Firm of the Year and our Life Sciences – Patent Litigation Firm of the Year for 2016. Recent highlights include successfully representing AstraZeneca in a summary proceeding against Sandoz and a “remarkable victory” for Spanish renewable energy manufacturer GAMESA, which reversed the largest award of damages ever granted by the Spanish Courts for patent infringement.

Co-founding partner Willem Hoyng is “one of the biggest names on the continent”. Numerous respondents regard him as “a go-to lawyer” for his multi-jurisdictional experience and ability to “translate complex technical facts into the best legal approach”. Fellow co-founder Simon Dack is an English-qualified barrister and former chemist who also practises before the Dutch Courts. He is one of the leading figures for life sciences patent disputes and his impressive client portfolio includes Johnson & Johnson, Abbott, Sanofi, GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer. In Brussels, Benoît Strowel is one of our most highly regarded lawyers for patent litigation. One respondent describes him as “a force of nature”. He has coordinated cross-border patent infringement proceedings for the likes of Eli Lilly and Merck.

Bristows is seen as a centre of European IP expertise, particularly with regard to the life sciences and technologies sectors. The 73-strong London-based team are frequently engaged in multi-jurisdictional projects and disputes for an international client base. Clients include MasterCard, Guardian News and Media, Google, Samsung, AstraZeneca, Novartis and Ipsen.

Co-head of the firm’s patent litigation team, Brian Cordery is frequently referred to as “one of the top patent litigators in the country”. Sources are highly effusive about the fact that “he is extremely good with clients” and “a joy to work with”. Sally Field has specialised in high-profile patents and trademark disputes for over 30 years. She is “one of the top names in the UK” and “outstanding in every regard”, according to client feedback. Joint head of the patent litigation team Edward Nodder is regarded as “a star of life sciences patent disputes”; his experience extends to more than 100 patent cases over 35 years of practice. Paul Walsh is head of the brands practice at the firm and is regarded as “a market leading practitioner for brand enforcement and exploitation”.

Hogan Lovells’ IP group is globally dominant. The group contains 75 partners located across the firm’s US, European and Asian offices and it boasts a truly impressive portfolio of clients, including six of the top 10 smartphone manufacturers and 12 of the top 20 pharmaceutical companies. The depth of the firm’s IP practice allows it to provide intricate knowledge of local laws complimented by a global outlook in relation to the entire life cycle of IP assets.

The “brilliant” Andreas von Falck in Düsseldorf is the leader of the international IP practice. He is considered one of the best life sciences patent litigators in Germany. Respondents note that he is “very good to work with, focuses on the case, and is analytical and well prepared”. He has recently represented Eli Lilly, Merck, Merz, Roche and Novartis in relation to European infringement proceedings. Bert Oosting is one of the “key players” in the Netherlands in relation to patent litigation, with a particular emphasis on the life sciences industry. Clients include Merck, Schering, GlaxoSmithKline, Sanofi-Aventis, Bayer and Bristol-Myers Squibb. In London, Stephen Bennett is praised by clients for his “through knowledge of patent law”, as well as his “good sense of business needs, approachability and practicality”. Recent leading matters include successfully representing Eli Lilly in its patent battle with generic drug manufacturer Scinopharm.

Finnegan Henderson Farabow Garrett & Dunner is one of the largest IP law firms in the world. The firm offers full-service expertise for clients in patent, trademark and copyright law, although around 80 per cent of its work relates to patents. More than 350 attorneys are based in the firm’s nine offices in the US, Europe and Asia. Meanwhile, the firm places a strong emphasis on technical expertise and over 300 of its professionals hold degrees in scientific and engineering disciplines. Finnegan’s high profile clients include AbbVie, Biogen Idec, Toshiba, Toyota, Sony and LG Electronics.

Our 2016 Patents Lawyer of the Year Donald Dunner is widely celebrated for his longstanding and market-leading career. He is particularly well known for his appellate practice and has argued more than 165 appeals before the Federal Circuit. Thomas Irving is extensively experienced in patent prosecution for pharmaceutical companies and AIA post-grant proceedings. He is described as “a very dominant figure” with “terrific strategic abilities”. Charles Lipsey impresses clients with his intelligence and technical expertise in patent litigation. His practice largely focuses on life sciences disputes and he has acted as lead counsel in numerous high profile cases over his career; clients include Eli Lilly, AstraZeneca, Cephalon and DuPont.

Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton is particularly well known for its IP practice, which is supported by the firm’s 17 offices and over 280 specialists. The firm’s history dates back to the 19th century, when it was the first outside counsel for Coca-Cola and secured the company’s trademark in 1893. Trademark law is the backbone of the firm and it has since been counsel to some of the US’s most famous brands, including PepsiCo, General Electric and Krispy Kreme, as well as international brands such as Adidas and Sony.

Senior counsel Virginia Taylor is one of the most famous trademark lawyers in our research; she is considered “a trailblazer in international brand strategy”. Miles Alexander has been advising Fortune 500 companies of contentious and non-contentious trademark matters for over half a century. As one respondent summarised, “Miles is a lawyer that younger generations at the bar look to emulate.” Theodore Davis Jr is likewise seen as being among “the elite of the elite in the US” for trademark and unfair competition matters. He recently represented GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer in litigation before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB).

Our 11-time Trademark Firm of the Year, Fross Zelnick Lehrman & Zissu is considered a premier destination for the filing and prosecution of trademarks, portfolio management and multinational trademark litigation. Based in New York and Washington, DC the firm has almost 50 attorneys dedicated to the practice of IP both domestically and internationally; the fact that a third of its practitioners are listed in our corresponding trademarks publication exhibits its strong expertise in this area.

Susan Upton Douglass regularly represents clients before the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and TTAB, and in negotiating licence agreements. Sources regard her as “an excellent lawyer”, who is “very responsive and commercially astute”. Roger Zissu specialises in trademark litigation across a wide area of sectors. According to respondents, “He is an outstanding and distinguished trial lawyer.” Janet Hoffman has “vast experience” in international trademark counselling and litigation. She is also considered “the go-to US lawyer” for the CIS and eastern European countries.

The recent merger of Canada’s Gowlings and the UK’s Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co, into Gowling WLG, significantly reinforces the already prominent IP practices of both entities. A new sector strategy focusing on manufacturing, energy, technology and the life sciences is at the heart of the union. Wragge’s strong European IP network, which includes offices in the UK, Brussels, Paris and Munich, and its IP clients, such as St Jude Medical, Aston Martin, Dyson, Delta Airlines and CooperVision, adds to Gowlings’ prominent position in the Canadian market, which includes clients such as Astra Zeneca, Eli Lily and Novartis, creating one of the biggest IP practices in the world.

In London, co-head of the firm’s IP practice Gordon Harris excels in both patent and trademark litigation. He is described as a practitioner with “the experience and sophistication for complex multijurisdictional IP disputes”. Anthony Creber, Canadian leader of the IP litigation group, is “a leading specialist” in pharmaceutical and chemical patent litigation. He recently appeared in the Canadian Supreme Court in relation to Apotex’s battle with Sanofi over the blockbuster drug Plavix.

Bereskin & Parr is one of the largest IP law firms in Canada with four offices across the country and 44 partners dedicated to the practice of IP law. The firm is distinguished for its prominent trademark practice, offering advice to local and international companies in trademark acquisition, registration and enforcement. The patents practice of the firm is also well regarded, particularly for its representation of clients in life sciences patent disputes.

Head of the trademark practice group Cynthia Rowden, a former winner of our Trademark Lawyer of the Year Award, manages the portfolios of some of the biggest brands in the world. Highlights include acting as counsel for Dreamworks in a trademark infringement case. Head of the litigation practice group Donald Cameron is considered “a leading light” in national patent and trademark disputes; in particular, he is considered “a destination of choice for patent infringement proceedings”. Founding partner Daniel Bereskin QC is “a legendary IP lawyer” in Canada, and has won our Trademarks Lawyer of the Year award no less than eight times.

London-based IP boutique Powell Gilbert is internationally renowned for its expertise in highly complex patent litigation. What the law firm lacks in size, it more than makes up for in the depth of experience and technical know-how of its practitioners, demonstrated by the fact that many of its lawyers have scientific backgrounds and a number hold PhDs. Impressively, all seven of its partners are listed in our patents or life sciences: patent litigation guides. Among the firm’s highest-profile clients are Actavis, GlaxoSmithKline’s Human Genome Sciences, Genentech, HTC and Procter & Gamble.

Co-founder Penny Gilbert consistently appears on our “Most Highly Regarded” list for life sciences patent litigation. She is “a phenomenon” and “one of the life sciences market’s foremost litigators due to her unrivalled technical and strategic abilities”, according to feedback. Co-founder Tim Powell is referred to as “a grandee of the IP bar” and is universally well known among his peers. He has acted on a number of the most high profile patent infringement cases in Europe, including Apple v Nokia and Pharmacia v Merck.

Taylor Wessing’s local strength in both the important English and German IP markets, as well as its extensive international 28-office network, ensures that it ranks as one of Europe’s premier firms for IP law. The 150-strong group has extensive strength and depth in both patent and trademark law, and in the life sciences and information technology industries. Significant clients in relation to these practices include Abbott Laboratories, Sandoz, American Airlines, Syco Entertainment, Hard Rock, Burberry and Ferrero.

In London, Roland Mallinson is considered is one of the top names for trademark portfolio management. One source remarked, “I recommend him without a second’s hesitation; he is a superb trademark lawyer”. Also in London James Marshall and Simon Cohen are key players in European patent litigation in both the life sciences and tech industries. In Germany, Sabine Rojahn is “a longstanding preeminent figure” in life sciences patent litigation. Meanwhile, Thomas Raab ranks as “one of the very best trademark lawyers in Munich”.

Herbert Smith Freehills’ IP practice is one of the strongest on the global stage. In particular, it is commonly seen as a top-tier firm in both its home jurisdictions of England and Australia. The firm advises on all aspects of patent and trademark portfolio management, excelling in patent litigation in the life sciences, consumer products and TMT sectors. The firm has been involved in a number of headline patent disputes in both continents, including advising Apple against Samsung in the Federal Court of Australia, and advising Abbott Laboratories in proceedings brought by GlaxoSmithKline in the UK High Court.

Sebastian Moore and Sophie Rich are both regularly ranked among the top patent litigators in London. They are both involved in technically complex multi-jurisdictional disputes in the life sciences sector. Their clients include Abbott Laboratories, Sanofi and Roche. In Melbourne, Shaun McVicar specialises in patent validity and infringement proceedings. Sources recommend his ability to “recognise and deliver technically precise and commercially minded strategies”.

Simmons & Simmons is one of the “go-to law firms” for high-end patent and trademark transactions and disputes in the life sciences, tech, and consumer and retail sectors in both Europe and Asia. The firm protects some of the world’s most valuable brands including Burberry, Abercrombie & Fitch, Hugo Boss, Aquascutum and Coca-Cola. The firm is also regularly involved in patent litigation before national courts and the European Patent Office, predominantly in the life sciences, telecommunications and IT fields. Recently, Simmons & Simmons has been acting in patent litigation involving two of GlaxoSmithKline’s big-selling products and as lead counsel for Microsoft in its dispute with Arendi.

In London, Marjan Noor is highly recommended by peers for her “thorough and extensive technical and legal knowledge” in relation to the life sciences sector. Commentators take note of her recent work defending Eli Lilly in patent litigation. In Düsseldorf, Ina vom Feld is noted for her active and leading practice in life sciences patent law for a number of global pharmaceutical and biotech companies. In Hong Kong, John Slater runs the firm’s highly thought of Asian IP practice. A respondent remarked that “his local knowledge is impressive; his team communicates clearly and provides sound, practical legal advice”.

IP boutique Rouse provides internationally acclaimed advice on patent and trademark management across the chemical, consumer, manufacturing, energy, life sciences and TMT sectors. It has an expansive network; headquartered in London and located in many of the developing markets in Africa, the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific region. The firm is particularly renowned for its local expertise in relation to the Chinese and the UAE markets; indeed, many multinational clients consider it the go-to firm in this regard. Rouse’s portfolio of clients across its international network is impressive, including Nintendo, Allergan, GlaxoSmithKline, Sony, Coca-Cola, Starbucks, BMW and Viacom.

Diana Sternfeld is a “longstanding veteran” of patent litigators in the UK. She has extensive experience of the life sciences industry and has been involved in several blockbuster patent disputes. Stuart Adams is “a leading figure in international trademark enforcement”. He has significant experience in the Middle-East, Africa, India and Russia. Elliot Papageorgiou is considered one of the top Chinese practitioners for IP protection strategy and litigation. He manages trademark and patent portfolios of some of Europe’s largest manufacturing and engineering companies.

Cooley is a worldwide centre of IP expertise for established and high-growth companies. From its origins in Palo Alto the firm has expanded rapidly in recent years, and in 2015 established its first European office in London, adding distinguished commercial and contentious IP practitioners John Wilkinson and Nicola Maguire from Reed Smith. As a result the firm has shot up in our ranking this year, entering this section for the first time. Nicholas Bolter also joined on the opening of the office with a highly respected trademark practice that includes brand enforcement for some of the world’s leading multinational technology, automotive, retail and consumer companies.

Barbara Kosacz is considered “a world leader” in commercial IP, including licence agreements and partnering transactions, for life sciences companies. Her clients include start-ups and larger public companies, including Infinity Pharmaceuticals' global strategic collaboration with Abbvie. In the same office, Kay Chandler is also considered a key figure in this regard.

Norton Rose Fulbright’s most distinguishing feature is its extensive global coverage. It earns IP listings in an impressive number of jurisdictions, including the US, Canada, England, Australia, Hong Kong and South Africa. Norton Rose Fulbright covers all areas of contentious and non-contentious trademark and patent matters for its clients, who include world-famous brands, and energy, manufacturing, technology and life sciences companies. Among these are BP, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Sanofi, McLaren, Orange, Lonsdale Sports and Iconix Brand Group.

Global co-head of life sciences in Canada Patrick Kierans has a fantastic reputation in life sciences patent litigation, as well as for telecommunications, credit card and consumer products companies. He is regularly designated “a top-notch litigator” by peers. In the US, Michael Scott Metteauer is known for his practice handling enforcement strategies and trademark litigation for famous brands. He is “an extremely good operator” and “a clever counsel”, according to respondents.  In Australia, Frances Drummond handles the trademark portfolios for a wide range of national and international companies, including David Jones, Biofarma, Fairfax Media and Aurora Energy. One peer stated, “I thoroughly endorse France’s brilliant handling of trademark enforcement actions.”

For the management and protection of high-value patents in Europe and Asia, Allen & Overy is certainly one of the top names on the list. The firm has almost 100 IP specialists located across its global network, with particular strength in the UK, Germany, France, the Benelux countries, Poland and China. The firm is regularly involved in major cross-border patent litigation in the life sciences and technology areas in Europe with respondents recommending its cohesive handling of such matters.

Nicola Dagg leads the IP litigation practice in London and is universally considered a leader in UK and European patent disputes – ranking on the “Most Highly Regarded” list in our patents research. Peers describe her as "tenacious"," knowledgeable" and "incredibly hard-working". Joachim Feldges is “a big name” in the German and European IP market, and very active in cross-border life sciences litigation. Benjamin Bai heads the China IP practice with over 17 years’ experience in protecting IP in the region and internationally. He is widely regarded as a leading figure: “He is amazingly knowledgeable and technically insightful,” says a source. “He also understands the legal and political landscape perfectly.”

France-based patent litigation boutique Véron & Associés earns praise worldwide for its handling of highly technical patent infringement, invalidity and ownership disputes. The 12-strong legal team is ranked highly, with four of its partners listed in our guides. The expertise of the firm is outstanding with backgrounds in a number of scientific, technological and engineering fields. Its clients include prominent French and international companies, including L’Oréal, Air Liquide, Honeywell and Nokia.

Founding partner Pierre Véron is regarded as “the dean of the French IP bar” and “an international star”. Sabine Agé is very active in patent litigation especially in the tech and pharmaceutical sectors. She was counsel in Nokia’s success in its major patent infringement case against HTC. Isabelle Romet impresses clients with her “clear sense of strategy” and her “command of complex technical matters”. Thomas Bouvet is also considered “market-leading”.

Pan-US IP specialists Knobbe Martens Olson & Bear ranks among the top firms both nationally and internationally with a huge team of 275 lawyers. The firm is equally well regarded for patent and trademark IP management across a wide range of technical industries. Knobbe Martens’ portfolio of clients is extensive and impressive, including American Airlines, Amazon, Kate Spade, Rolex, Toshiba, Hansen Beverage Company, Ranbaxy Pharmaceuticals and Schindler Elevator Corp.

Susan Natland is a specialist in domestic and international brand protection, as well as unfair competition, copyright, and data privacy and security matters. One peer remarked, “She is definitely world-class. Clients also love her swift turn-around and practical approach.” The “outstanding” Lynda Zadra-Symes regularly appears before the federal courts and the TTAB in relation to trademark and patent litigation. She recently represented Monster Energy in a trademark and copyright infringement action against Monster Escorts. Jonathan Hyman also ranks among the country’s leading trademark lawyers for strategy and enforcement; “he is very dedicated to his clients and commercially astute”, according to sources.

US-based Fish & Richardson is an international IP law firm with 11 offices in the US. It also has an office in the German IP heartland of Munich with a number of prominent German clients, including Porsche, Zeiss, SAP and Siemens. The firm is considered to be a centre of expertise in patents and trademark law with over 400 attorneys, many of whom have strong technical backgrounds. Peers regularly endorse its senior lawyers as leading their fields, with an impressive 19 lawyers listed in our guides. The firm’s prominence is also demonstrated by its impressive range of clients, including numerous Fortune 500 companies. Notable cases include representing Allergan in the successful protection of its glaucoma drug Alphagan.

John Pegram is held up as “an icon in the field” for his longstanding practice representing clients in the US, and US clients in Europe and Japan. Ruffin Cordell focuses on patent litigation, regularly appearing before the federal courts in relation to electrical and computer tech. One key client is Marvel Semiconductor.

Plesner Law Firm is a medium-sized Danish full-service firm considered “one of the premier Northern European firms” by many respondents. It has a strong emphasis on IP law with an emphasis on cross-border patent disputes and in this respect its clients include large multinationals, mid-sized Danish companies and start-ups. The firm was recently successful in obtaining damages and compensation for its client AstraZeneca in relation to its patent infringement dispute with generic producer Krka.

At Plesner, Peter-Ulrik Plesner is one of the best-known IP lawyers in Europe, with peers from across the world denoting him as “the star of trademark and patent litigation in Denmark”. Fellow partners Sture Rygaard and Mikkel Vittrup are also considered leading practitioners for the enforcement of IP rights, particularly in the life sciences industry.

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