Andrew Bentham
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Andrew Bentham

Partner, European and UK Patent Attorney

Andy joined J A Kemp from university nearly 30 years ago. Clients range from top-tier academic institutions and their spinouts to one of the USA's most successful biopharmaceutical companies of recent times and one of the world's largest agri-business.

With a first-class Cambridge degree in plant sciences, Andy has a particular interest in patenting plant biotechnology, plant breeding and agri-tech inventions and is also available to advise on Plant Variety Right issues. Building on this experience in agriculture, Andy is also active in industrial biotech work relating to microbial carbon capture and biofuel production and has expertise relating to microorganism deposits for patent purposes under the Budapest Treaty.

Andy's other current major focus is advanced therapeutics, including gene therapy, antisense, RNAi and CRISPR therapeutics, mono- and bi-specific antibodies, CAR-T cells and many other aspects of antibody technology. He is responsible for EPO prosecution and opposition work relating to multiple biopharmaceuticals that are on or nearing the market and for a large portfolio relating to transgenic animal platforms for antibody drug discovery. This area has become increasingly contentious and Andy has therefore been involved in many EPO Oppositions and a number of items of UK and foreign litigation during the course of his career.

Representative examples of EPO Oppositions in which Andy has been involved at EPO Board of Appeal level include T400/97 (early techniques for recombinant antibody production); T188/97 (HCV diagnostics); T857/01 and T1023/02 relating to HSV vaccines/vectors; T202/02 (Crohns' disease); T1219/03 and T1919/11 (taxane production in plant cells); T1108/08 (plant gene silencing); T2101/09, T1153/14 and T419/16 (antibody therapeutics); and T1526/11, T2220/14 and T1634/17 relating to transgenic mouse platforms for antibody discovery. The first and last of these also both relate to the niche legal question of when an oral disclosure constitutes prior art for EPO purposes.

Andy has been recognised in The Legal 500, and in the 2022 IAM 1000 edition one client summarised him as follows: “We rely heavily on Andy’s prosecution and opposition skills and experience, and also his uncanny ability to manage his talented team, such that working with Andy and his team is a smooth, highly productive and successful operation. Andy is a thoughtful and soft-spoken attorney, and he epitomises the adage, ‘when Andy speaks, people listen’.” In 2022 Andy was recognised as one of the top 300 IP strategists in the world by the IAM 300. Reflecting these attributes, Andy has been an invited speaker at two prestigious international conferences, the BIO annual meeting (2019) and the American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA) annual meeting (2021), as well as at the BIO IP Counsels Committee (IPCC) meeting and other events including US state bar association meetings.

Within J A Kemp, Andy leads the firm's US Business Development Group and has responsibility for the firm's relationships in Canada and Israel. Andy joined J A Kemp in 1993, became a partner in 2003 and has headed J A Kemp's Cambridge office since it opened in 2016.