Sweden

The specialised Swedish Patent and Market Court opened its doors in September 2016 and has got off to a flying start by all accounts. Handling IP infringement and validity cases plus appeals of rulings by the Swedish Patent and Registration Office (SPRO), the court has brought an end to parallel proceedings being carried out in different courts across the country and led to greater uniformity in rulings. In other developments, there seems to be increasing interest in Swedish language trademarks; a lot of brand owners operating overseas – or hoping to do so in the future – are eager to capitalise on the widely held association of Scandinavia with quality and reliability.

Firms: enforcement and litigation

Firms: prosecution and strategy

Advokatfirman Delphi

Delphi is among Sweden’s top commercial law firms and is packed to the rafters with business nous; its IP whizzes take advantage of this to get well-informed second opinions from their colleagues on licensing, franchising and M&A issues and then dispense shrewd transactional advice to clients. A vast amount of experience in handling trade secrets issues is another of the side’s unique selling points. Henrik Bengtsson is a versatile practitioner who complements his robust trademark practice with extensive data protection and privacy knowledge. Pragmatism and creativity characterise his approach.

Advokatfirman Lindahl 

Home to more than 20 specialists, Lindahl has one of the largest IP practices in the Nordics. However, the firm’s position in the prestigious gold tier of WTR 1000 for enforcement and litigation is not down to its size; since 2000 its lawyers have been involved in almost one-third of the trademark cases heard by the Supreme Court and they have won every single one of them. Contentious heavyweights Henrik Wistam and Johan Norderyd lead the way. Wistam has recently been flexing his muscles representing GlaxoSmithKline on a case concerning unregistered three-dimensional trademarks for the shape of a medical device. President of the Swedish Anti-counterfeiting Group, he is also a prominent actor in the fight against fakes. “He’s simply the best choice around for infringement or anti-counterfeiting matters.” Norderyd is a life sciences sage whose pleadings are compelling and whose analysis is faultless. While the firm is at its best in the courtroom, it is also a formidable force in prosecution, thanks to razor-sharp strategists such as Helena Wassén Öström. “She’s highly skilled in her craft and has a great understanding of what is important for clients – realising their commercial goals.” Notable beneficiaries of her refined portfolio management support include H&M and Saltkråkan, the company which handles the estate of author Astrid Lindgren.

Advokatfirman Vinge KB 

Brand owners wanting to have all of their IP issues dealt with under one roof would be well advised to call on Vinge. This full-service powerhouse has long been regarded as a “very important player in enforcement”, but it has now significantly expanded its prosecution offering and makes regular appearances before the SPRO; indeed, Estée Lauder has been so impressed by Vinge that it has appointed the firm as its exclusive portfolio management counsel in Sweden. Working with the cosmetics company, Håkan Borgenhäll straddles the contentious/non-contentious divide with flair. “He’s the obvious choice for all things relating to intellectual property. His advice is theoretically sound and practical. You know he will be well prepared and up to date on everything.” Having racked up more than 20 years of experience, his teammate Richard Wessman is another “excellent” option. “He’s a very skilled litigator with particular knowledge of anti-counterfeiting issues.” Pär Leander uses lessons learned in the courtroom to come up with portfolio building strategies that do not come unstuck in bad weather. The ever-thoughtful, reliable and creative Anette Henrysson is a canny strategist. She has been handling EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) proceedings for the likes of Trygg-Hansa, Swedish Match Industries and BabyBjörn.

Awapatent 

“Awapatent is a major player that delivers top-quality work every time.” It boasts a well-rounded trademark practice with a wealth of experience in prosecution, transaction and enforcement matters, and thanks to offices in Hong Kong and Beijing, it can effectively escort brand owners as they expand into Asia. Based in Malmo, group CEO Magnus Hallin is constantly in contact with his colleagues abroad, exchanging insights and ensuring everyone is in the loop on international filing strategies. As a member of the SPRO’s advisory board, Hallin has an intimate understanding of the office’s workings and its examiners’ thought processes. His teammate Martin Tranälv is another portfolio management magus. “He’s a really talented, client-focused lawyer.” As well as having a knack for threading together supremely favourable licensing contracts, he knows a thing or two about marketing.

BRANN AB

Nifty boutique BRANN provides robust support across the full spectrum of trademark matters, but is at its best when representing clients before the SPRO and the EUIPO. Its street-savvy practitioners provide concrete, straightforward counsel that helps brand owners to emerge victorious from hard-fought opposition and cancellation proceedings. Having been in the game for over 65 years, the side has customer service down to a tee as well; emails are responded to in a flash and portfolio expansion is proactively pursued and recommended. Astrid Johnsson is the first port of call for interested parties.

Fenix Legal KB 

Tailor-made support, around-the-clock availability and creative, left-field solutions are dispensed to every single one of Fenix Legal’s clients – regardless of their size or industry. “Its lawyers are diligent, engaged and extremely professional in all they do. You know working with them will be a delight.” Recent highlights for the team include assisting Hyundai on prosecution issues throughout Scandinavia and representing Google in an opposition proceeding. Managing partner Petter Rindforth handled the latter. He is a field marshal who does not hesitate to get his hands dirty down in the trenches of legal warfare. Cyber law is his particular forte. “He’s outstanding when it comes to internet and domain name issues. Plus, he has the negotiating skills to solve disputes quickly and cost-effectively.” Maria Zamkova is renowned for her infrangible trademark filing strategies. “She is not only an extremely skilled IP expert – she also responds quickly, takes a hands-on approach and has the instincts of an entrepreneur.”

GOZZO Advokater

GOZZO is the bane of infringers across Scandanavia. Its finely honed anti-counterfeiting practice has led to hoards of fake goods going up in flames and significant damages being awarded. Thanks to seamless ties with customs officials, and an enviable reputation, it has the wherewithal to organise seizures with lightning speed. A founding member of the Swedish Anti-counterfeiting Group, Ann-Charlotte Söderlund Björk is the nucleus of the practice. “She’s a leader in the field and someone who takes great care of her clients.” Her diverse day-to-day workload takes in the enforcement and monetisation of valuable rights too.

Groth & Co

Established in 1869, Groth & Co is one of Scandinavia’s oldest IP firms and it shows in its finely chiselled service. “It offers fantastic value for money and doesn’t compromise at all on quality”, remarks one impressed respondent. The team’s 30 senior IP attorneys have a deep collective reservoir of experience that includes spells working at the EUIPO, the SPRO and even the Korean Intellectual Property Office. This trump card was recently used to assist Praktikertjänst – the country’s largest provider of private health and dental care – on tricky prosecution issues. Mats Lundberg took the lead on this. He runs the trademark practice with a steady hand and also handles all IP queries from the European Parliament. His teammate Helena Perneborg is another perceptive strategist with a “great understanding of the media sector and a pragmatic, business-oriented approach that makes all the difference. She is knowledgeable, efficient and really flexible.”

Heidenstam Legal Advokat AB

When it comes to hard-fought, high-value IP cases, Heidenstam pulls out all the stops. One of its recent highlights saw it assisting the fashion company Morris on an infringement dispute with Morriz of Sweden; spanning a notable range of trademark issues from confusing similarity to passivity, the matter required extremely nifty footwork. Leading on this matter, Peter von Heidenstam is “one of the most prominent trademark practitioners in the country. He’s a very knowledgeable, talented litigator who adapts himself to his clients’ wishes and always gives them a lot of attention and personal contact.”

Mannheimer Swartling

With over 400 lawyers stationed across nine offices worldwide, the full-service Mannheimer Swartling is not short on firepower or resources. It offers an extensive array of IP services to a stellar client base and comes into its own when identifying monetisation opportunities. By being in constant communication with their banking and finance and tax counterparts, the Mannheimer trademark lawyers have the business acuity to ensure nothing passes them by. In Stockholm, Per Josefson is an all-rounder who thinks outside the box to get signatures on the bottom line of lucrative contracts and secure the best results in the courtroom.

Sandart&Partners Advokatbyrå KB

“Sandart is quite simply number one in Sweden for IP matters. It’s a highly experienced and specialised boutique with an impressive set of personable lawyers who provide excellent advice and whom you really look forward to working with.” Whatever the brief – filing, portfolio management or courtroom representation – this compact and creative ensemble has the expertise and experience necessary to get results. Captaining the trademark practice, Anders Kylhammar is a contentious sharpshooter and “someone you definitely want on your side. He has a brilliant legal mind and makes the effort to get a good feel for his clients’ business objectives, which helps him find unique angles that other lawyers would miss”. Another hard-hitting litigator, Karin Cederlund has coordinated waves of multi-jurisdictional disputes in her time. “She isn’t someone to beat around the bush – her guidance is clear, straightforward and practical.” Completing the firm’s triumvirate of gold-ranked individuals is the “extremely professional” Peter Sande, who comes to cases “highly prepared” and lets nothing escape his eagle eye.

Setterwalls Advokatbyrå AB

There are few full-service firms more committed to intellectual property than Setterwalls. It runs a standalone trademark practice with its lawyers overseeing approximately 5,000 Scandinavian and EU trademarks. Having close ties to numerous foreign firms – most prominently in France and China – it is also equipped to provide a seamless global portfolio management service for multinationals. “Able to make complex things seem simple, easy to talk to and really popular with clients”, Per Lidman is a crack managing partner. He relishes the chance to get to grips with large and unwieldy cases and never loses sight of his clients’ long-term business goals; if it would ultimately be better to take a step back to try and negotiate a settlement, he does not hesitate.

Synch Advokat AB

Famed for its innovative thinking, Synch is a “progressive and very business-friendly” outfit that provides cradle-to-grave brand support. Its lawyers understand how important cost considerations are for senior business executives – especially those managing start-ups – and are therefore not afraid to say that a matter is not worth pursuing; this frankness underpins many of the long-term relationships the side has formed. Recently, it has been busy assisting NOA Potions, Pichit and FundedByMe as they build up their trademark portfolios. A close ally to all three, Sara Sparring straddles the contentious/non-contentious divide with verve. Filing a complex application before the SPRO and taking on an infringer in court are all in a day’s work for her.

Valea AB 

Having filed countless trademark applications over the years and taken part in landscape-changing cases with remarkable frequency, Valea is a name well known at the SRPO and at the Patent and Market Court. Lately the firm has been representing Nestlé in a huge dispute against Orkla Foods, which is currently pending before the Supreme Court. With the matter in Jesper Sellin’s extremely capable hands, Nestlé’s C-suite can sleep soundly at night. “He’s a highly experienced lawyer who provides swift, effective solutions.” His time spent working in-house at Pfizer has given him an understanding of the everyday pressures faced by brand owners; he ensures that his clients are constantly kept in the loop and makes himself available 24/7.

Zacco 

With 20 offices across Denmark, Germany, Norway and Sweden, Zacco has the resources and geographic footprint necessary to handle sprawling portfolios and cross-border cases with finesse. A recent highlight for the side saw it representing Kraft Foods Sverige on an infringement matter against Mars; thanks to the team’s inarguable line of reasoning before the Stockholm District Court and the Svea Court of Appeals, products from Mars marked ‘m’ or ‘m&ms’ are now prohibited in Sweden. Spearheading the practice, internet whizz Claes Agnvall has played a key role in improving the group’s understanding of the online world; he oversaw the hiring of a number of experts in generic top-level domains, keyword advertising and the online sale of counterfeits and has attracted a string of new software company clients. His crisp communication skills translate into the crystal-clear applications he files.

Other recommended experts

Christina Berggren of MAQS is “a pleasure to work with. She’s highly knowledgeable and aware of the latest developments in trademark law”. Her exemplary counsel on the commercialisation of trademark rights is highly valued by clients in the media, fashion and retail industries. Karin Nordborg Advokat’s Karin Nordborg has plenty of experience building up portfolios from scratch and is as responsive as they come; a diverse array of start-ups flock to her for advice. Licensing maven Fredrik Persson at NORDIA LAW is a nifty negotiator who can find common ground between the fiercest of adversaries.

Individuals: anti-counterfeiting

  • Anette Henrysson - Advokatfirman Vinge KB 
  • Ann-Charlotte Söderlund Björk - GOZZO Advokater
  • Sara Sparring - Synch Advokat AB
  • Peter von Heidenstam - Heidenstam Legal Advokat AB
  • Henrik Wistam - Advokatfirman Lindahl

Individuals: enforcement and litigation

Individuals: prosecution and strategy