Hengeler Mueller – Germany 2021
Wolfgang Kellenter’s patent team has been prominent in proceedings for industrial companies and NPEs for some years. The latter include FIPA and IPCom, but also the patent pool initiated by the French state, France Brevet. The small team has litigated for these in SEP suits against mobile communications manufacturers like Apple, Samsung and HTC, sometimes for many years. It also works for regular clients of the firm as a whole from the industrial sector. These include Renault as a Daimler supplier in the connected cars suits. The French car corporation and the NPEs draw on the team’s many years of experience with SEPs and FRAND issues in equal measure. The team also has a good relationship with AstraZeneca. It did not conduct any litigation for the company recently but advised drug research companies on possible lawsuits.
The medium-term expansion of the patent practice did not go as planned because an experienced counsel left for Orrick. He was considered a potential candidate for a second partner next to Wolfgang Kellenter. For the time being, the team was able to compensate for the vacuum left behind as it has four other counsel experienced in litigation. But it now urgently needs to grow its associate base. The departure leaves the question unanswered as to whether the partnership of the deal-focused firm will allow a second patent partner at all.
SEP and FRAND litigation, mainly for NPEs.
As part of a nationally independent full-service firm, the patent team will struggle to arm itself for closer international relationships with highly specialised patent teams in other countries. The Hengeler team therefore concentrates on the one hand on working together with some well-known boutiques, especially in London. On the other hand, it has good connections to patent teams in some of HM’s best-friend firms. Out of those, however, only De Brauw in Amsterdam and Bonelli Erede in Italy have renowned patent experts in their ranks. (Bredin Prat in Paris and Slaughter & May in London barely make an appearance in patents.) These alliances would be a good basis in a joint bid for more cross-border work against the dominant international patent teams. But for this to happen, the teams from Hengeler, De Brauw and Bonelli Erede would have to work very closely and develop instructions strategically together. So far, they have very rarely appeared jointly in cross-border disputes, partly because they each have well-established relationships with national litigation firms.
Wolfgang Kellenter (“canny litigator, knows how judges think”, “of all Germany’s patent lawyers he has the best style”, competitors)
1 partner, 4 counsel, 2 associates
Patent litigation. Advice on the interface with antitrust. Also strategic advice, assessment of technical protection rights and transactions.
Litigation: regularly for Kennametal; France Brevet (claimant) against Apple over NFC technology; Renault (co-defendant of Daimler) against Nokia over connected cars patents (settled in 2021); Fipa (claimant) against HTC, LG and Samsung; IPCom (claimant) against Apple and HTC (both over mobile communications); Concept Laser (defendant) against Bego over 3D print technology; CarSystem Süd (defendant) against 3M over spray paint technology; Sino-Resource (defendant) against Honeywell over coolant for air conditioning.