Samson & Partner – Germany 2022
This market-leading patent attorney firm in Munich is one of the busiest litigation outfits in the mobile communications sector, where it manages to work for both SEP holders (e.g. Nokia) and patent users (e.g. Apple, Lenovo and Wiko). This balancing act is achieved by few other patent attorney firms at the top of the German patent litigation market. Cohausz & Florack, for instance, works chiefly for SEP holders, Maikowski & Ninnemann exclusively for patent users.
Samson & Partner banks on its many years of experience in mobile communications proceedings and the very broad presence of several partners. Younger partners like Alexander Münster and Tobias Stammberger have a superb name for their litigation work to match senior partner Wolfgang Lippich.
This frequently secures the firm a place in the sector’s central pan-European patent battles – for technical advice in the German infringement proceedings and nullity suits, as well as in the central granting procedures for important patents-in-suit before the EPO. Samson & Partner worked for Nokia against Oppo and Apple against Ericsson in the two largest cases of 2022.
Disputes for Wiko, Deutsche Telekom, Facebook, HMD and Lenovo underscore the firm’s vast technical and litigation expertise. The patent attorneys always conduct such proceedings in cooperation with external lawyers. They have good relationships with selected law firms, for example Arnold Ruess, Bird & Bird, Hogan Lovells and Hoyng ROKH Monegier, and with clients in equal measure.
Besides mobile communications suits, the patent attorneys have stepped up litigation in traditional technologies for industrial clients. These are generally among the firm’s regular clients for patent prosecution and include not only Vestas regarding wind turbines, but also Heckler & Koch in a dispute over a new assault rifle for the German armed forces. Hanwha Q-Cells relies on the patent attorneys in an extensive series of actions involving solar technology.
The fact that so many of its patent attorneys have established themselves prominently in litigation is partly down to the firm’s repeated appointment of young partners, and this year was no exception. In this way, the firm is securing the generational change, which is an important building block for surviving at the UPC as a nationally independent IP boutique. Samson & Partner is also quicker than some competitors at making sure the younger partners are given responsibility in the courtroom.
Litigation involving mobile communications for both patent holders as well as implementers. Prosecution related to electronics, software, IT and mechanics.
Samson & Partner is first and foremost a national IP boutique, which looks after German SMEs like Hecker & Koch, as well as big international corporates in the mobile communication sector. This splitting of the client base in two does not make it easy for the firm to gear itself towards the UPC, as the two client groups will use the court very differently. This is why the partners continue to opt for independence and are not entering into any more exclusive partnerships with similar European prosecution or litigation firms.
In terms of their intensive litigation activity for large mobile communications companies, the partners can afford to do this because many of them have superb reputations for this work and direct client contacts. These contacts have long been successful independently of the litigation firms – Bird & Bird, Hoyng ROKH Monegier and Hogan Lovells, for example – with which they already cooperate in pan-European suits for Apple, Nokia and Lenovo. Here, the patent attorneys are often involved in central validity proceedings at the EPO.
But the firm’s current position is no guarantee that this approach will work seamlessly at the UPC, especially as Samson & Partner will be watching closely how the litigation firms bring their own patent attorneys into position for the new court.
Georg Jacoby, Wolfgang Lippich (“stands out even at this top-level firm”, competitor), Alexander Münster, Oswald Niederkofler, Friedrich von Samson-Himmelstjerna, Tobias Stammberger (“super, very smart and also very friendly”, competitor), Michael Turi (all patent attorneys)
20 patent attorneys
Active exclusively in IP. Strong focus on technical protection rights. 50 percent patent filing with a broad technical spectrum, 50 percent disputes by patent attorneys: oppositions, nullity suits and infringement proceedings, the latter exclusively with external lawyers.
Litigation: Nokia (claimant) against Oppo/OnePlus over mobile communications; Facebook (defendant) against Voxer over streaming technology; Apple (claimant) against Qualcomm regarding revocation of mobile communication patents; Apple (defendant) against Ericsson over mobile communications, including 5G patents; Apple (defendant) against various NPEs such as IPCom, Rembrandt and Uniloc over mobile communications; Deutsche Telekom (defendant) against Intellectual Ventures over mobile communications; Wiko (defendant) against Ericsson and Philips over mobile communications; Motorola (claimant) against Hytera over mobile communications; HMD and Lenovo (defendants) against VoiceAge over speech coding for mobile devices; Lenovo (defendants) against Crystal Clear Codec over wireless communication technology; Vestas (claimant and defendant) against GE and others over wind farms; Hanwha Q-Cells (claimant) against Longi Solar, Solar Cells, Jinko Solar and others over solar technology; Heckler & Koch (claimant) against Haenel over assault rifle; Novoluto against Eis GmbH and other competitors over sex toys. Prosecution: filing and oppositions for Amadeus, Heckler & Koch, Intel, Max&Co., Nokia, Novoluto, NTT, Rite-Hite, Vestas, The Nielsen Company (all public knowledge); Intel (opponent) against Maltig in EPO opposition over remote IT management technology.