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Robert Stephen

Patent Attorney, Co-Chair Life Sciences & Healthcare Sector

CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang LLP
Cannon Place
78 Cannon Street
United Kingdom
Languages English

Robert is a UK Chartered Patent Attorney and European Patent Attorney with over 20 years' experience, and is qualified to act before the European Patent Office and the Unified Patent Court. He focusses on the biotechnology, pharmaceuticals and digital health spaces, and is ranked in band 1 in the Chambers legal directory in the UK. Robert is well known for his opposition and appeal practice at the EPO, and also as the co-founder of the SPC Blog, which leads the debate on issues relating to patent term extension in Europe. Robert has a first class degree in biochemistry and a D.Phil. in molecular genetics from Oxford University.

The patent attorney team, which Robert leads, has a focus on helping clients develop and exploit their IP to maximise commercial value. The team provides a complete range of services, including patent drafting and prosecution, licensing, strategic counselling, pan-European litigation and EPO opposition and appeal work. The team also advises on patent term extensions/SPCs, orphan exclusivity and data exclusivity.

Robert has experience in drafting, filing and prosecuting patent applications before the UK and EPO, patent licensing, global patent strategy, patent term extensions and portfolio management. He has been involved in over 50 EPO oppositions and appeals. Robert has a particular interest and expertise in inventions made in the fields of medical devices, pharmaceuticals, biochemistry, biotechnology, cell biology, genetics and immunology, including protein- and peptide-based medicines, vaccines, antibodies, nucleic acid-based medicines, diagnostic methods and diagnostic apparatus.

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"Robert and his team are excellent."

Legal 500, 2021

""Leading lawyer" Robert Stephen is a life sciences specialist of particular distinction for his guidance on IVF and vaccination applications. He is also noted for his work in opposition hearings."

Chambers, 2017

Relevant experience

  • Kymab on their EPO prosecution, opposition and appeals against Regeneron, in the field of mouse genetics and antibodies.
  • Vectura on managing its patent portfolio concerning inhaled glycopyrrolate, with multiple patents opposed by Teva.
  • Progyny on managing its patent portfolio concerning IVF treatments, with multiple patents opposed by Unisense .
  • Insmed on managing its patent portfolio concerning inhaled antibiotic treatments, with multiple patents opposed by Mylan.
  • 3 major international pharmaceutical companies on EPO opposition and appeal proceedings.
  • BP on managing aspects of its patent portfolio before the European patent office.
  • The Wellcome Trust on work originating from the Sanger centre in the UK.
  • GlaxoSmithKline on the management of its vaccine portfolio, in particular vaccines for cervical cancer and influenza.
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Lectures list

  • 2008-2016 - Chairman and presenter, the SPC Blog seminar
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  • 1996 – D. Phil , Institute of Molecular Medicine, Oxford University, Oxford
  • 1992 – Biochemistry, Oxford University, Oxford 
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In View: Life Sciences & Healthcare - What's new in AI Regulation and Data...
 We are delighted to invite you to the CMS In View: Life Sciences & Healthcare - What’s New in AI Regulation and Data Protection? event taking place on Thursday 18 April at our London Cannon Place offices. The seminar will focus on key AI and data protection topics relevant to life sciences and healthcare where you will hear from industry and regulatory experts from the ICO, Health Research Authority, UCL, the Wellcome Trust and CMS UK specialists. If you would like to attend this event, please register via the button below.
Cannabis law and legislation in the UK
Medical use It is in principle lawful to produce, supply, offer to supply, import, export, have in possession or cultivate (in the case of the plant) cannabis products, including medicinal products...
Life Science Fundamentals
We are delighted to invite you to our new Life Science Fundamentals workshops, 2024. The workshops will take place in-person at our Cannon Place, London office and will be followed by lunch and an opportunity...
G1/22 and G2/22 – Preliminary opinion of the Enlarged Board of Appeal
On 21 March 2023 the Enlarged Board of Appeal (EBA) issued a preliminary opinion in consolidated cases G1/22 and G2/22 (“pri­or­ity”), which provides some initial insight into the possible outcome of...
Armchair inventions part 3: Decision on plausibility at the EPO (G2/21)
The issue of plausibility was previously referred to the Enlarged Board of Appeal (EBA), the highest judicial authority at the European Patent Office (EPO). Our article on the referral can be found here...
In View: Life Sciences quarterly update webinar
CMS are delighted to invite you to the next instalment of our Life Sciences quarterly update webinar taking place on 27 Janu­ary 2021. Experts across the firm will discuss key industry topics impacting...
What is a patent and what can I do with it?
Imagine, you have developed an AI led diagnostic tool which provides oncologists with a percentage score of how likely it is that a patient’s mole is cancerous. You want to commercialise it, but how do you stop others from copying your invention without your permission and competing against you? How broad is the protection offered and how long does it last? Should you share the details of your invention to potential investors (or other third parties) before you have obtained a granted patent? Is your invention even capable of being protected by a patent? Our expert patent team answer key questions that inventors in similar situations should consider before launching a new product. If you would like to discuss patents in more detail, please get in touch. To read the in­tro­duc­tion to patents paper download the pdf below.  
In View: Life Sciences quarterly update webinar
CMS are delighted to invite you to the next instalment of our Life Sciences quarterly update webinar where CMS experts across the firm will discuss key industry topics impacting, innovating and disrupting...
Double patenting: legal fact or fiction? (G4/19)
The Enlarged Board of Appeal (EBA) has this week released its decision regarding the issue of double patenting. The concept of double patenting will be familiar to those working in the patent field. It...
Life Sciences - The road to recovery
Covid-19 has put the life sciences industry in the spotlight. The sector has pulled together to care for those impacted by the virus and in the race to find a vaccine. There have been col­lab­or­a­tions...
3D printing and IP: Lessons from the EPO’s ‘Shaping Tomorrow’ conference
IP Landscape Growth Additive Manufacturing (AM), also known as 3D printing, is one of the fastest growing areas at the EPO. From 2015-2018, its average annual growth rate was 36%, 10 times faster than...
Protecting innovation from start to finish
The CMS patent attorney practice The CMS patent attorney practice disrupts the traditional boutique approach to provide a service that sees the core values of a centuries old profession, working for...