Herbies delivers massive blow to Bird & Bird patent team

Bird & Bird has been left reeling by the imminent departure of star life sciences partner David Wilson to Herbert Smith.

Bird & Bird made a concerted two-month attempt to persuade Wilson to stay but has ultimately failed.

Herbert Smith head of IP Nick Gardner said: “I believe his appointment means we now have two of the country’s leading pharmaceutical patent litigators in our team…I am confident this will lead to further growth in our IP practice.”

Wilson, who has been a partner at Bird & Bird since 2001, will join Herbert Smith’s IP group. The hire is in line the firm’s ambitions to become a leading adviser to the niche life sciences sector.

Wilson will work closely with head of life sciences Andrew Rich, although his first day is yet to be finalised. Bird & Bird is widely expected to hold him to a long notice period.

The hire follows a spate of movements between IP practice groups. As first reported on www.thelawyer.com (2 January), Bird & Bird bolstered its IP team in the Netherlands, hiring litigation partner Marc van Wijngaarden from Arnold + Siedsma.

Wilson’s experience includes successfully advising on two recent highest profile patent disputes – Transkaryotic Therapies (TKT) against Kirin-Amgen, and Celltech against Medimmune. His client list also includes Pfizer, Baxter and Sanofi.