In this high-profile project, we acted for ITV on their partnership with the BBC to create BritBox – the streaming service which launched in the UK in November 2019.
BritBox was created to be the "home of British content", with the aim to host the biggest collection of British content on any streaming service. When it launched, it contained a huge range of ITV and BBC content, and since then, content from Channel 4 and Channel 5 has been added.
BritBox was first being discussed back in the late 2000s, when the world of video-on-demand services was radically different compared to now. In fact, a number of people who were part of the Hogan Lovells team on BritBox have been working closely with ITV since that time, so it felt like a real triumph all round to sign the transaction and launch the service.
Acting for ITV, we had a lot of different interrelated elements to consider for a project like this. There were the equity arrangements, and how the relationship between ITV and the BBC as shareholders in BritBox works in practice. At the same time, we also worked with ITV on the agreements which govern the supply of content to the service, as well on arrangements in relation to the BritBox brand.
We worked really closely with the ITV team throughout the whole transaction. Their offices are just a few minutes' walk away from ours, so it was easy for us to have face-to-face meetings to discuss next steps or talk through a complicated point on a document. It was an exciting time for all involved, and when BritBox launched, there was the added benefit of being able to subscribe to the service and continue to be a part of it.
“Going into the ITV office at launch and seeing adverts on the huge screens there, for something we had helped to create, was very special.” - Caitlin Weeks, M&A Senior Associate, London
More than 625 million mobile customers, 27 million fixed broadband customers and 22 million TV customers. Operations in 22 countries. Partnerships with networks in 43 more. No wonder Vodafone is one of the world’s most recognisable brands.
We’ve worked with Vodafone for over 10 years. We’ve advised them on litigation, arbitration, employment, pensions, mergers and acquisitions, competition, corporate tax, communications regulation, intellectual property and records management.
Lately we’ve been involved in:
• Acting for Vodafone in UK High Court litigation against IPCom concerning infringement and validity of standard essential patents
• Advising Vodafone on the legal classification, and the associated regulatory responsibilities, of a new heat detection camera – which has been designed to support the return of employees to work following the coronavirus lockdown by screening people upon entry to a building for signs of an elevated temperature
• Advising Vodafone on a case of alleged cartel in the telecommunications market
• Working with Vodafone on the UK Government’s shared rural network project, which saw competing networks collaborating to improve 4G coverage in rural areas around the UK.
“As one of Vodafone’s advisors, it’s really important that we at Hogan Lovells have a finger on the pulse of what’s happening in different geographic and innovation markets, and more broadly, what’s going on around the world.” – Jamie Pollock, Global Regulatory Associate, London
In a bid to protect Eli Lilly’s patented cancer drug, Alimta, and to stop competitors imitating their product in Germany, we defended the patent in the German Federal Court of Justice.
First things first: Eli Lilly is a leading pharmaceutical company active in 120 countries. Their research focuses on several diseases, one of the most important being cancer research. This case revolved around the drug Alimta, the Eli Lilly brand name for the chemotherapy drug pemetrexed, which is used to treat specific lung cancers.
For a bit of background, the tumour-inhibiting properties of pemetrexed were already known, but in later clinical trials, some patients had severe side effects to the drug. Eli Lilly came up with the idea to combine pemetrexed with vitamin B12 and folic acid. The result? It greatly reduced the side effects of chemotherapy. And this is the invention that Eli Lilly’s patent protects.
Eli Lilly initiated litigation in countries all over the world against several generic drug manufacturers with imitation products, which had entered the market during the lifetime of their patent. The German case started in 2012 and it had several key moments:
1. A decision by the Federal Court of Justice on an equivalent patent infringement in 2016
2. The appeal judgement of the Federal Court of Justice in 2020 which decided that Eli Lilly’s patent is valid, after it had been invalidated by the Federal Patent Court in 2018
3. Following these two decisions, the Munich District Court issued injunctions against all remaining generics on the German market, which meant Eli Lilly became the only supplier of pemetrexed in Germany – a huge victory for them.
In the German and European patent community, this case has become well-known as it changed the way equivalent patent infringement is assessed. For us? It was an intricate, fascinating project to be part of.
Due to COVID-19, the US faced a shortage of medical equipment. Our client, Ford, partnered with GE Healthcare to produce 50,000 ventilators for coronavirus patients in 100 days. We helped make it happen.
This was a project that made headlines. All eyes were on it, from the highest levels of US government to the general public. Why? Because to treat coronavirus patients and save lives across the country, healthcare workers urgently needed thousands of ventilators.
We were brought in to advise long-standing client, Ford, in its partnership with GE Healthcare to produce 50,000 ventilators in 100 days and 30,000 a month thereafter. For us, it was all hands on deck: the team moved at lightning speed to draw up collaboration agreements and get legal documents ready, so that nothing held up Ford and GE Healthcare.
Ford and GE Healthcare quickly identified that they needed ventilators that were easy to produce, didn’t need electricity and could be quickly set up wherever the patient was. GE Healthcare licensed a design from Airon Corporation, a private company specialising in high-tech life support products. Ford then scaled up and produced the ventilators in Michigan.
The partnership was a perfect balance of Ford’s supply chain and production expertise and GE Healthcare’s deep understanding of the healthcare industry. Together, they were able to save countless lives and help the US in a time of real crisis. As for Hogan Lovells, we were immensely proud to be a part of this project. Everyone came together from across practice groups and drew on their expertise to get it all done in record time.
“It was unbelievably exciting to see Ford, a global auto maker, pivot its entire focus to address a medical crisis. They were all in, ready to help the country.” - Audrey Haroz Reed, Intellectual Property, Media and Technology Partner, Washington D.C.
Before this UK launch, Goldman Sachs didn’t have a retail offering – they were very much seen as an investment bank for wealthy individuals. Marcus added a new string to their bow: a digital bank that’s consumer focused and consumer friendly. It was an important milestone in Goldman Sachs’ growth, and we were by their side advising them every step of the way.
Lots of teams were involved in this project, each bringing specialist expertise to the table: consumer finance, technology and money laundering. The launch happened at a time when the rules and regulations were constantly changing, which meant we had to work closely together to understand these new requirements and how they impacted Marcus. It’s by pooling our collective expertise that we helped make the launch a reality.
At the heart of all this was the strength of our client relationship. We were a trusted advisor from the very start: looking at the pros and cons of different products, drafting terms and conditions, thinking about the customer’s journey. Once Marcus launched, we advised on operational queries or any complaints and issues that arose.
Looking ahead, we’ll continue to collaborate with Goldman Sachs in many different ways, whether that’s to launch a new product or for any corporate and transactional work. It’s a great example of how we nurture strong relationships with clients, helping them to realise their biggest ambitions.
“I’d get on the train on my way home and see an advert for Marcus and think ‘I contributed to that’. It made me feel proud that I’d helped to produce something tangible people would use.”
Elizabeth Greaves, Banking, Lending and Payments Senior Associate, London
We helped to secure a landmark “right to be forgotten” ruling for Google in a case that dealt with fundamental issues regarding internet regulation today. Find out how we did it.
In 2014, the European Court of Justice created the "right to be forgotten", something more accurately described as a "right to dereferencing". This means that, under certain conditions, Europeans have the power to ask a search engine to remove links from search results when using their name as a keyword.
In this case, we were dealing with the territorial scope of the “right to be forgotten”. So, when someone’s request is granted, on which domain names should Google delist the content? Is it only related to the country where the person lives (such as google.co.uk or google.fr), EU-wide or worldwide?
Hogan Lovells got involved back in 2015, when the French Data Protection Authority initiated sanction proceedings against Google. At the time, Google delisted content only on domain names of Google searches corresponding to the EU countries. However, the French Data Protection Authority declared that in order for the “right to be forgotten” to be effective and complete, Google needed to delist the content globally.
Google decided to appeal the case and bring it before the French Administrative Supreme Court, and they then referred the case to the European Court of Justice (ECJ). In September 2019, the ECJ ruled that the dereferencing should be limited to the territory of the EU, and therefore excluded global delisting. This essentially annulled the sanction decision of the French Data Protection Authority, and it was a major victory for Google.
The case attracted a lot of attention because it dealt with fundamental issues regarding internet regulation today. The basic question was: who should have the right to decide what's available on the internet in other countries? The position we defended with Google was that no one country should have the authority to control what content someone in a second country can access. How each country decides to balance competing fundamental rights ¬– in this case freedom of expression and the right to privacy – is a matter of traditions, legal principles and culture.