JUVE Patent

McDermott Will & Emery – Germany 2022

JUVE Comment

The strongly positioned German patent practice of this US firm is especially busy for automotive suppliers, to which it traditionally nurtures close ties. The team may not have been as visible as competitors in the first wave of connected cars actions, which recently came to an end, but it did advise regular client Harman International intensively in the background.

More than with litigation work, McDermott has been busy of late advising a large number of clients from a broad spectrum of technologies, for example on licensing negotiations and R&D contracts or non-disclosure agreements in connection with patent filing. The Düsseldorf team around Henrik Holzapfel was again active for the pharma industry, for example for new clients Halozyme Therapeutics and Komipharm, in addition to clients from the automotive and electronics sectors.


Litigation for SMEs and advice to the auto industry.

European set-up

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. There are close connections between the strong US practice and the German patent team which was evidenced by litigation for Harman. However, the European team is less frequently present in such large cases than, for example, Quinn Emanuel or Hogan Lovells – partly because the European team is too small.

In light of the UPC launch, 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.

Recommended individuals

Henrik Holzapfel (“extremely knowledgeable, good tactician and responds quickly”, “retains the bigger picture”, “very persistent”, competitors)


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. Employee invention law.


Litigation: regularly for Paul Hartmann Group (including Bode Chemie); Harman International on audio coding and connected cars; Barberán (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; Harman on licences regarding 5G; frequently Advice to Komipharm, Halozyme Therapeutics, Pongs Technical Textiles.


Düsseldorf, Munich