JUVE Patent

McDermott Will & Emery – Germany 2021

JUVE Comment

Thanks to strong ties to auto suppliers, the German patent practice of this US firm is well positioned in the German market. A very close relationship with audio accessories manufacturer Harman International contributes to this. The team used this to broaden its connection to Samsung Group, most recently to include the Display division of the Korean corporation. The team of lawyers has also emphasised its technical breadth in many different cases in recent months. The Düsseldorf team around Hendrik Holzapfel was very active in cases from the pharma industry, for example for new client Huvepharma EOOD. The medical product manufacturer Paul-Hartmann keeps the team busy with lots of instructions.

Just how well the connections between the strong US practice and the German patent team can work was evidenced by litigation for Harman. But the firm has tapped this potential too rarely so far – partly because the European team is too small. Moreover, the Munich and Düsseldorf teams still only cooperate loosely with one another. Other international litigation teams, such as Quinn Emanuel or Hogan Lovells, appear far more cohesive.


Advice to the auto industry.

European strategy

The US firm has long been interested in the European (especially German) market. But the small German team is only the beginning if the firm wants to be at the forefront of European cross-border litigation. McDermott has a patent team in Paris as well but has so far failed to hire a starting team in London. However, it would be decisive to finally establish this, so that US partners follow the example of the Harman International case and refer clients to Europe on a more consistent basis. Further expansion of the German team would also be necessary with a view to a stronger role in cross-border cases. However, the still uncertain start of the UPC gives the US law firm a breather to implement its European plans in peace.

Recommended individuals

Henrik Holzapfel (“extremely knowledgeable, good tactician and responds quickly”, competitor)


3 partners, 5 associates


IP practice with equal specialties in soft IP and technical protection rights. Strong expertise in healthcare. Primarily nullity suits and infringement proceedings. Much strategic advice, for example on licensing together with the firm’s own antitrust and product liability lawyers. Employee invention law.


Litigation: regularly for Paul Hartmann Group (including Bode Chemie); Harman International on audio coding and connected cars; Barberàn (defendant) against competitor regarding wood printing technology; Kanzler Verfahrenstechnik (defendant) against Solvay over chemical production plants; Scolmore (claimant) against FS.com over electrical plug connections; Huvepharma EOOD (claimant) against competitor over enzyme patent; German pharma company (defendant) over veterinary drug (settled). Advice: Harman International and Samsung Display on strategy, portfolio management and licences; Vestel on licences regarding audio coding.


Düsseldorf, Munich