Denmark Patent Prosecution Firm of the Year: COPA Copenhagen Patents
Q: Can you tell us about your team (size, practice focuses, key individuals, etc)?
A: The COPA Copenhagen Patents team currently consists of 14 people, with Mikkel Bender, Steven Richard Kitchen, Tina Rytter, Axel Heimann and Jacob Karstad Meyland as partners.
The firm was established with a focus on high-quality patent counselling by highly experienced people in an informal and lively environment. We excel at post-grant work, such as oppositions, appeals and litigation support. We believe that our deep understanding of post-grant proceedings forms the basis for effective patent drafting and prosecution. Moreover, we have a strong team which can provide all-round patent strategies and link these to corporate strategies.
Q: What are some of the advantages of working in a boutique firm?
A: As a boutique firm we can focus on each individual client and tailor our counsel to their specific needs. Accessibility and responsiveness are key at COPA Copenhagen Patents, where we build trusted, long-term partnerships with our clients.
We maintain a professional, yet informal attitude towards colleagues and clients – which we find provides the best results.
Q: From a firm perspective, what was your highlight of 2018?
A: Last year saw the addition of two new partners – Axel Heimann and Jacob Karstad Meyland – who are both European and Danish patent attorneys. COPA Copenhagen Patents also welcomed three new patent attorneys – Sune Højfeldt, Sylvia Yang and Rune Risgaard. In addition, we initiated the establishment of a German office, which will open in Munich in 2019.
Q: What are your main priorities for your firm’s development over the next five years?
A: COPA Copenhagen Patents is known for providing high-quality patent consulting, with a working environment that is second to none. We strive to attract and retain the best patent attorneys and qualified administrators in the industry.
Q: Which case has been your most memorable and why?
A: In a major invalidity suit, COPA Copenhagen Patents helped Hedensted Gruppen A/S to invalidate several European and Danish patents, resolving a legal dispute that had been ongoing for five years.
COPA Copenhagen Patents is also proud to be a member of the team prevailing in the Danish part of a multinational supplementary protection certificate dispute – a case that has been unsuccessfully prosecuted by other teams before us in similar proceedings in Denmark.
We are also representing a large international client in a case in which the client’s patent was initially revoked in opposition proceedings. In the appeal we succeeded in having the case remitted to the opposition division, which has now provided a new decision to uphold the patent as granted.
Q: If the UPC ever becomes a reality what difference do you think it would make to your practice?
A: We look forward to the establishment of the UPC. Several of our European patent attorneys have obtained a patent litigation certificate from the Centre for International Intellectual Property Studies, University of Strasbourg, and we are eager to actively participate in the development of the UPC once it enters into force. We believe that our extensive experience with national litigation in Denmark and Sweden, and in European Patent Office opposition and appeal cases, is an asset in this regard.
Q: How are client demands changing, and what impact has that had on your practice?
A: We are observing an increasing demand for consolidated services, including client-attorney counsel, as well as administrative services and strategic advice. At COPA Copenhagen Patents, we offer a unique structure to meet this growing demand in that our partner Tina Rytter is certified as a qualified IP administrator, heading a strong team of patent administrators. Therefore, patent administration at COPA Copenhagen Patents is not just a necessary duty, but a high-quality focus area.
Q: If you could make one change to the patent world what would it be?
A: We feel that international alignment, particularly on the assessment of inventive step, would benefit all patent practitioners working across national boundaries.
Q: AI has been a big talking point over the past year – what impact do you feel it and other technological developments will have on patent practice?
A: Technological development, including AI, will undoubtedly affect patent practice. Several aspects of patent practice have already been affected by these developments and other aspects will continue to be. We believe that technological developments will make it harder to build a patent practice on standard tasks without engaging the tools available to perform these tasks in an effective and competitive manner. Further, we believe that AI and technological developments will make it even more important for firms to offer more than just standard advice to clients. However, our client focus is targeted, high-level patent counselling, which we believe is not and will not in the foreseeable future be replaceable by technological developments.
Q: What advice would you give to younger practitioners looking to pursue a career in patents?
A: Try to do internships at an IP firm and at your national patent office to get a better understanding of the positions of different stakeholders in the IP world.