The Top 10 Life Sciences Law Firm Index Patent Firms Through Q3 2017

Life Sciences Law Firm Index: Q3 2017

Lake Whillans created the Life Sciences Law Firm Index in 2016 to help identify which law firms are the most active and relevant for life science companies. The index was developed in collaboration with our research partners at Breaking Media, the publishers of leading industry sites MedCity News and Above the Law.

We at Lake Whillans understand the vital role legal practitioners play in guiding a product through this enormously complex legal and regulatory environment. The goal of the ranking is to inform innovators about which firms are the leaders in the multi-faceted interplay between the legal market and the industry. Life sciences innovators rely on strong legal counsel to protect their interest at every stage of the product life cycle. However, in the case of an unforeseen and unavoidable setbacks, Lake Whillans is there to step in and help.

Our index was compiled using the criteria that matter most to healthcare innovators. In addition to collecting data in three practice categories — corporate, intellectual property and regulatory —we also incorporated information on the firms’ work with startup companies, as well as their thought leadership efforts in order to generate the Index scores.

Periodically, Lake Whillans publishes updates to the Index, each focusing on a different practice area. Today, we look at the Patent category. Our ratings of firms’ practices take into account all aspects of patent work, including prosecution (numbers of patents granted, “allowance rate”) and litigation (including cases brought and successful defenses on behalf of industry clients).

The Top 10 Life Sciences Law Firm Index Patent Firms Through Q3 2017:

Firm Score (Perfect score = 20)
1. Perkins Coie 18.2
2. Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati 18.0
3. Cooley 17.7
4. WilmerHale 17.5
5. Kirkland & Ellis 17.0
6. Fenwick & West 16.9
7. Goodwin Procter 16.6
8. Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer 16.5
9. McDermott Will & Emery 16.2
10. K&L Gates 16.0

Congratulations to Perkins Coie for leading the Life Sciences Patent Category. Through the first three quarters of 2017, Perkins Coie’s patent group has prosecuted more than 3,500 patent applications on behalf of life sciences and healthcare clients, and approximately 400 patents were issued to the firm’s industry clients. The firm boasts more than 125 lawyers and agents who are registered to practice before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, many of whom are experienced engineers or scientists with advanced technical degrees. In addition, several Perkins Coie attorneys are former USPTO examiners or in-house patent counsel at major corporations.

The firm’s patent litigators have also had a remarkable run of success in 2017. Among many other matters, Perkins Coie represented represented global pharmaceutical giant Mylan in its high-stakes and long-running patent battle against Teva Pharmaceuticals related to the drug Copaxone, a treatment for multiple sclerosis. In seeking FDA approval for a generic version of Teva’s Copaxone 40-mg product, Mylan challenged Teva’s patents as invalid. Teva sued Mylan under the Hatch Waxman Act in the U. S. District Court for the District of Delaware, alleging that Mylan’s generic Copaxone product would infringe four of Teva’s patents. Following a seven-day bench trial last Fall, the court ruled in January that all four patents were invalid.

In another high-stakes representation of Mylan, the Federal Circuit ruled in April that Mylan’s planned generic version of the blood-thinner Angiomax does not infringe two patents owned by The Medicines Co., partly reversing a lower court’s decision. On remand, the district court refused to allow TMC to raise new infringement theories and entered judgment for Perkins Coie client Mylan, clearing the path for Mylan to launch its generic product.

A Note on Methodology

Our rankings methodology is designed to reflect a holistic view of the role of a law firm throughout the life cycle of a life sciences company: from inception through clinical trials.

In each category of practice, we identified the relevant, quantifiable factors. For example, under the Corporate category, our review included — but was not confined to — public and private financings, IPOs and M&A activity. For the Patent category, we included factors such as number of patents issued, “allowance rate,” and successful patent defenses. Among the items in the Regulatory category are clinical trials, commercialization and approvals. The Thought Leadership ratings incorporated, among other things, the publication of white papers, contributions to third-party media, blogging and social media, as well as speaking or teaching engagements.

Within each category, firms were organized into tiers based on the complexity, value, variety and reach of their practice and scores were apportioned accordingly. Our rankings formula is as follows:

  • Corporate: 40%
  • Patent: 20%
  • Regulatory: 20%
  • Start-up work: 10%
  • Thought leadership: 10%

To complement our comprehensive review of all publicly available information, we invited firms to complete a questionnaire detailing their life science practices.

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