Once again, this leading litigation practice for patents demonstrated excellent visibility in pharmaceuticals and mobile communications cases, e.g. on the side of Nokia, Microsoft and Huawei. In the mobile communications sector, B&B is often in action for NPEs as well now. But the team mainly proves its huge clout through its involvement in a broad technical spectrum of cases, e.g. for Canon (printing technology) and Acer (DVD technology). Jüngst and Wolters-Höhne were active in far more pharmaceuticals cases, both for originators and generics manufacturers. The team was thus able to compensate for pharmaceuticals expert Dr. Ina vom Feld's move to Simmons & Simmons. In contrast, a major gap was left by the surprising departure of patent attorney Dr. Friedrich Emmerling, who is accomplished in mobile communications suits, to Betten & Resch and, a short while later, two patent attorneys focusing on mechanical patents to Mailwald. The firm thus lost almost its entire expertise in electronic and mechanical patents, which will need to be remedied quickly in view of the UPC. B&B still has a good setup in pharmaceuticals patents. The departures cast a shadow on what was otherwise a positive example of a law firm developing a well-positioned patent attorney practice and raises the question of whether B&B really has the best setup for the UPC. At the turn of the year, a counsel also left the practice to join Düsseldorf boutique Kather Augenstein, a Preu Bohlig spinoff.
With the UPC approaching, this leading German patent litigation practice set a further strategic course. It grew its partnership from within its own ranks, underscoring the leading role played by the practice, even within the strong European team. HL is incorporating the still small US patents practice into the work of the global practice more and more, esp. in work for mobile communications companies, among which the European team is well represented. In this segment, the German team handled several major proceedings at once: whether for HTC against NPEs like IPCom and SLC, or for ZTE against Huawei before the ECJ, Hogan Lovells was virtually omnipresent. The partners were once again active in the central pharmaceuticals battles as well, e.g. for regular client Eli Lilly against Actavis. The depth of the practice’s activity in both of these sectors has led to it focusing entirely on certain key clients, for example selected originators in the pharmaceuticals sector.Further Analysis
Because of its broad litigation work and the large number of partners visible in the market, ROKH is undisputedly one of Germany’s leading patent litigation practices. Thanks also to its size, the boutique is now putting distance between itself and its competitors in Düsseldorf, and has also appointed another partner from its own ranks. These developments are based on excellent visibility in litigation in various technical fields, in a breadth otherwise seen only at Krieger Mes. Getting ahead of the pack, ROHK went on the offensive to tackle the upcoming UPC: two European IP heavyweights with strong visibility in mobile communications and pharmaceuticals cases are joining forces to form Hoyng ROKH Monegier. ROKH is hoping to complete the merger with Hoyng Monegier by the end of 2015. The precise structures have yet to be defined, but market observers consider a full merger unlikely. On the one hand, with 100 IP lawyers and five offices, incl. Amsterdam, Brussels, Düsseldorf and Paris, the new continental European firm will rival the strong IP teams in large firms like Hogan Lovells and Bird & Bird. And on the other, this will increase the pressure on the leading pan-European IP boutiques, as with every merger they lose potential alliance partners. But the merger will only put pressure on competitors if both parties standardize their structures and consistently develop work together. The decision to litigate only for originators in pharmaceuticals proceedings in the future was an initial sign that this will be the case. ROHK used to be very visible among generics manufacturers. Against this backdrop, however, some in the market wonder whether the merger is really wise, without a presence in London.Further Analysis
KM’s standing as one of the leading German litigation firms is in no danger, as the firm is said to have an exceptionally strong influence at the important court venue of Düsseldorf. It boasts a reputation for handling the most cases of all German litigation firms, thanks to its excellent connections to the German Mittelstand and to patent attorneys. The firm often litigates for Classen, Benteler or ITW. At the same time, it appears on the side of NPE France Brevets in major mobile communications suits. The firm also stepped up its involvement in pharmaceuticals proceedings, e.g. for Microbix and Janssen Cilag, though other Düsseldorf litigation teams are still more visible in this field.Further Analysis
The strong German litigation team of this US firm is extremely visible thanks to its very close ties to Google, and is thus one of the leading litigation practices in Germany. QE benefits from the fact that Google is involved in virtually all mobile communication proceedings at present, either as defendant or intervener, e.g. the Marathon and Unwired Planet suits. The team’s visibility in pharmaceuticals proceedings remains underdeveloped, but its second internal partner appointment since entering the German market in 2011 lays the foundation for closing this gap. This should also make it easier for QE to maintain a high level of quality in advice. There was criticism from competitors last year because of the huge growth in headcount, but these have now fallen silent.Further Analysis
This highly traditional Düsseldorf IP firm is among the leading German patent litigation practices with a strong presence before Düsseldorf’s courts. Whereas it seemed that the firm had fallen behind those at the front of the market for mobile communications suits two years ago, it has now made a comeback with litigation for LG against Unwired Planet and SLC. In pharmaceuticals proceedings, the firm has always been one of the foremost players. ROP has completed the generation change earlier than other boutiques, now that the last senior partner, Dr. Ulrich Pross, has retired. The practice is now driven by an industrious team of visible young partners, such as Max von Rospatt, Musmann and Timmann. The next generation of young litigators is already lining up behind these. The firm has thus already taken care of important tasks with the UPC in mind.Further Analysis
As one of the leading Düsseldorf patent litigation firms, Wildanger covers a broad technical spectrum encompassing electronics, mechanics and pharmaceuticals patents, with its numerous highly visible partners. The firm is often seen on the side of industrial clients, e.g. BSH and LG. In mobile communications suits, Wildanger gained on the other market leaders and litigated for NPE Saint Lawrence in one of the year’s most extensive mobile communications suits against Deutsche Telekom.Further Analysis
BP is among the leading practices in patents thanks to its strong visibility in litigation, despite the fact that the mobile communications battles for Apple and Microsoft have slowed down. Instead, the firm stepped up litigation on behalf of regular clients like Adidas and Cisco. The team was, however, present in one of the largest mobile communications suits, where it represented intervener Amazon against SLC. With its setup and its offices in Milan and Paris, BP need not fear competition in the new UPC system, esp. as it bolstered both of its international offices with patent experts. BP is confidently facing up to the growing competition for its excellent US client base from British firms by consolidating contacts in the US industrial sector. There is still a gap, however, when it comes to life sciences patents. If the litigation-focused firm hopes to use prosecution work as a springboard into high-end pharmaceuticals litigation, which it has so far had to surrender to the Düsseldorf litigation practices and Munich competitors like Hoffmann Eitle, it will need to bring in patent attorneys.
This leading litigation practice for patents displayed its strength in major proceedings, for example landing Sony as a new client in SEP proceedings against NPE Saint Lawrence. FBD benefited further from NPEs’ litigious spirit, as another series of proceedings was initiated by TLI against regular client Apple. In its second key pillar, the pharmaceuticals sector, the practice was visible within existing client connections, e.g. to Novartis Group. Once again this year FBD lost a distinguished counsel. Dr. Arno Riße went to Freshfields spinoff Arnold Ruess. Even more relevant as regards practice development, however, was the appointment of Prinz zu Waldeck und Pyrmont as partner; he already made a name for himself in litigation for Apple. With the UPC approaching, the team will now have to establish additional experienced young lawyers of the same caliber, so that it can continue to master complex proceedings. However, it will not be able to offer all of its young talent partner prospects in the years to come.Further Analysis
This leading litigation firm for patents boasts busy litigation activity within a broad technical spectrum. But the firm’s impressive path to the top of the market was abruptly cut off this year, as the Düsseldorf IP lawyers around Kather and Augenstein are set to spin off at the end of 2015. Ten lawyers are leaving the Düsseldorf office to form Kather Augenstein. They had been esp. visible in mobile communications suits, e.g. for HTC. In Kather, PB is losing one of the stars of the Düsseldorf patent scene, who also nurtures very solid client connections. The offices in Munich, Hamburg and Berlin will continue to operate in patent litigation as Preu Bohlig. Here, the lawyers boast steady client contacts in the fields of medical technology and electronics, e.g. Avago, and also benefited from the rise in disputes in the chemicals sector. In mobile communications suits, attention will focus more on Berlin in the future, as this is where Donle is currently working for Huawei in a major suit against Unwired Planet. Although, as things stand at the time of going to press, the spinoff will leave the firm without IP expertise in Düsseldorf, at the end of 2014 it opened an office in Paris with an associate, the location of the UPC central division. PB expanded its small Berlin office by bringing in of counsel Prof. Dr. Theo Bodewig, previously a patents lecturer at Humboldt University in Berlin.Further Analysis
This litigation team is highly recommended in patents and remains a solid player in the Düsseldorf patent market with its broad spectrum of sectors and an established team. The hallmark is pharmaceuticals litigation, where Bopp is a prominent name throughout Germany. However, he exemplifies the current overhaul of personnel: Bopp changed to of counsel status and now focuses exclusively on litigation. Team leadership was taken over by young partner Sonntag, who is well established in the market. GL thus took care of the generation change – surprisingly early, according to many competitors. But it is also doing so at a time when the team behind Sonntag lacks a visible associate base. To remain competitive in complex proceedings, esp. mobile communications suits, GL will have to expand its team. As things are now, the firm would hit its limits with several major proceedings of the same caliber as the rivastigmine dispute.Further Analysis
HE is still among the leading names for patents and established an excellent setup for the UPC early on, esp. on the patent attorney side. The firm operates one of the large European prosecution practices with an extremely strong position among Japanese companies and in the pharmaceuticals sector, and is also well placed when it comes to mobile communications and electronics patents. Alongside Bardehle, HE boasts one of the most active mixed litigation teams, traditionally with a strong presence in pharmaceuticals proceedings. Patent attorneys like Klusmann enjoy an excellent reputation here. HE was less visible recently in mobile communications proceedings. But the international setup allows hardly any room for criticism, as HE has long been visible in London with an office of its own because of its strong pharmaceuticals focus. The Milan and Madrid offices have yet to reach the level of London. There is also room for development at the two youngest offices in Hamburg and Düsseldorf, despite patent attorneys coming in as reinforcements and even though these offices are continuously widening their client base – from Düsseldorf HE works with Dutch patent attorneys, and from Hamburg it has its sights set on Scandinavia. But HE’s success at the UPC will depend on how well its strong Asian client base accepts the new system.
With the UPC approaching, this traditional boutique highly recommended for patent litigation is gradually parting ways with its partner-centric approach, so as to respond to the increasingly complex proceedings with larger teams. The Düsseldorf office is litigating in these to an ever greater degree and grew with an associate as a result. The partners from Munich and Düsseldorf often worked together on an interoffice basis before this. Work for 3M shows how well Klaka is established in Düsseldorf now, as the company worked with a local firm for a long time. Following successful litigation for ZTE against Smartphone Technologies, Giebe has been unable to build on his presence in mobile communications suits of late.Further Analysis
This Düsseldorf-Munich litigation team is highly recommended for patents and has a good starting position for the European patent system with its additional expertise in Amsterdam and London. In German patent litigation, TW has impressed the market with pharmaceuticals patents from day one and also conducts litigation within a broad technical spectrum. But TW’s involvement in mobile communications suits has fluctuated in recent years. The firm was in action for Ericsson and Hisense, but continues to be a bystander in the major battles in the sector – even when regular client Ericsson is involved. TW was also not seen in the major proceedings involving NPEs, partly due to the fact that the Düsseldorf office is less visible than those of competitors.Further Analysis
This IP boutique around young litigators Arnold and Schumacher comes recommended in patents and has evolved from a best-kept secret into an established and very visible litigation team in Düsseldorf, a key location for litigation. This is because the patent litigators in the firm, which was only set up in 2010, quickly developed a practice with international contacts and a substantial amount of stand-alone activity. Clients like Sisvel and a series of proceedings for Max Sound would have passed AR by a year ago. The litigation for Max Sound also underscores how litigation for NPEs can pave the way into the patents market for young firms. Consequently, AR brought in reinforcement in the shape of Riße as counsel, a Freshfields lawyer experienced in mobile communication suits. The firm’s success is also based on litigation for industrial clients, such as OrbusNeich and ECC.Further Analysis
This recommended firm in patents boasts a very broad litigation practice and represents mainly clients from the Mittelstand. CMS was involved in complex proceedings, e.g. for Syngenta Participations concerning patent-infringing pesticide imports. The practice already advises clients on an international basis within the CMS alliance and is present with offices at all important UPC local divisions. The German team is also making use of the international network in successful joint pitches. In addition, the German, British and French CMS partners are pursuing a special strategy to establish technical expertise in the shared Beijing office, which they aim to deploy globally.Further Analysis
A leading patents team which is very well positioned for the UPC thanks to its successful mixed approach, very broad prosecution practice and offices in Munich and Paris. The exceptionally broad technical expertise of the patent attorneys also stands the firm in good stead, incl. their litigation experience for electronics and telecoms patents. The lawyers are also active in a multitude of proceedings with a wide technical background, e.g. for Välinge in connection with laminate flooring and Doco Korea concerning razor blades. Grünecker is increasingly branching into litigation for NPEs, so more proceedings involving mobile communications patents can be expected soon. There is room, however, for the firm to build on its visibility in pharmaceuticals proceedings, for example with experienced laterals. The pharmaceuticals prosecution practice is also too small compared to others in the market.
This recommended patent litigation team continues to battle prominently for NPEs such as IPCom and Sisvel in proceedings involving mobile communications and electronics patents. But reducing the firm to litigator for NPEs would be too simplistic. The small team’s client list also features Hengeler-typical industrial clients, e.g. Samsung and AstraZeneca. The litigation practice thus currently focuses on mobile communications and pharmaceuticals patents. However, the team is barely growing, either in size or in terms of work. The fact that it is currently unable to play a key role in other major series of proceedings is partly because it is too small, with Kellenter as the only partner. That said, Hengeler did appoint a counsel in IP, so an additional partner appointment is within sight.Further Analysis
Alongside its well-positioned prosecution practice, this leading firm in patents now boasts a visible litigation team around Wuttke, which conducts a multitude of proceedings for Mittelstand companies. The firm also gained corporates such as Deutsche Telekom and a German chemicals manufacturer as new clients. On the downside, the team has not yet had a chance to step up to the plate and litigate for Facebook in a suit by NPE Marathon, although the patent attorneys handle the European prosecution. But the continuous expansion of the litigation team was the actual achievement of the past four years, as this fueled the now complete integration of all nine German offices. The patent attorneys are working increasingly with the firm’s own litigation team on an interoffice basis. These developments are crucial for MB&P to prove its merit in the UPC system.
This recommended firm in patents is vigorously building a hard-hitting litigation team in Germany. The Munich team around Adam, which was set up three years ago, is now firmly established. In Düsseldorf, Meyer and team are serious rivals to the top firms, also thanks to vom Feld, who joined in 2014 from Bird & Bird and strengthened the practice’s already strong specialty in work for drugs manufacturers. Work for Bayer has long been public knowledge, and S&S has now added Boehringer Ingelheim and other pharmaceuticals manufacturers to the list. The German team was far less active in litigation related to mobile communications patents and did not grow any further at associate level.Further Analysis
On the basis of its excellently positioned prosecution practice, this leading firm in patents fine-tuned its litigation team setup. The firm bolstered the lawyer side with two career starters and appointed an experienced litigator salary partner. The litigation team already enjoys an excellent position in Munich, and the firm launched an additional office in Düsseldorf in November 2015, with a mixed litigation team of its own patent attorneys and an experienced lateral. Vossius is thus gearing itself more and more towards the UPC system, with a strong mixed approach, for instance to offer its US clientele full service. The patent attorneys are already working more consistently alongside the litigation specialists. Vossius is esp. well positioned in pharmaceuticals proceedings, but also represents Asian companies before Germany’s courts. With its launch in Düsseldorf, Vossius thus also has its sights set on Asian clients in the Rheinland.
Following its successful re-entry into the German patents scene (2012), this respected practice has now raised its associate headcount. Young Düsseldorf litigator Cepl is increasingly visible, as is veteran Feldges in central pharmaceuticals battles, e.g. for regular client Pfizer in injunction proceedings involving the drug Lyrica. The latter also boasts an excellent reputation for arbitration related to IP. Having regained strength in Germany, the European patents team is well set for the launch of the UPC system, with its expertise in London and Paris.Further Analysis
This leading firm in patents is increasingly active in litigation, with its mixed teams. The practice was in action, for instance, for Aeritas against Lufthansa concerning mobile boarding patents. The patent attorneys and lawyers are keeping up with the trend by advising the growing number of NPEs arriving in Germany and litigated for Marathon Patent, for instance, in several proceedings. B&B is well set up for the upcoming UPC with offices in Paris and Munich. The firm plans to continue only serving the court venue Düsseldorf with lawyers from Munich – a bold strategy from today’s perspective. The firm stepped up its traditionally strong filing activity, esp. in electronics.
This firm, which is respected for patent litigation, is an established player in the Hamburg market. Königer and his small team continuously succeed in advising the IP boutique’s existing clients on patents as well. However, HU does not make use of synergies in litigation and filing work, as the lawyers and patent attorneys scarcely interweave their clients within the firm. The lawyers are, however, often called in by external patent attorneys for litigation, where they mainly represent defendants from various sectors, such as healthcare or food, nationwide.Further Analysis
The leading patents practice of this US firm is preparing for the launch of the UPC system, with a well-positioned patent attorney practice and a litigation team that is firmly established in Munich. The mixed approach and excellent links to US companies provide an excellent basis. For some time, the German patents practice has been growing mainly within existing client connections. For instance, the litigation team is conducting a host of major proceedings for pharmaceuticals, biotech and medical product manufacturers, among them economically important proceedings for Identix. Somewhat less pronounced is its work for auto manufacturers, chemicals and air transport companies. JD is hardly present at all, however, in mobile communications suits. In summer 2015, an experienced litigator moved to Vossius leaving JD with no litigation expertise in Düsseldorf.
A Munich team respected for its patent litigation work which continued along its path towards nationwide visibility. This mainly involves litigation for NPEs like TLI in mobile communications suits and for MedTech regarding medical technology, both of which clients are owned by Marathon Group. In most suits, Noerr’s lawyers appear with patent attorneys from cooperation partner Bosch Jehle. Litigation for NPEs accounts for a good 60% of litigation work, while the rest is for industrial companies, e.g. two major German auto manufacturers, which Noerr advises on strategic projects and licensing contracts. The team grew once more, with a salary partner experienced in mobile communications suits from Bardehle.Further Analysis
The selection of law firms in the above table reflects the research of the editorial staff at JUVE and is based on interviews with clients, lawyers and academics. It remains a subjective view and implies no disparagement of any firm not mentioned here but which is nevertheless active in this field. The firms are alphabetically listed within the groups.
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