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.
Litigation incl. related to pharmaceuticals.
Considering the changes in Düsseldorf, the launch in Paris seems a small step. The firm will need to vigorously drive the rebuilding of the Düsseldorf practice for the upcoming UPC, as the courts here will still be very significant in the medium term. The spinoff also revealed the loose bonds between the individual offices, which rarely work together. If the partners in Berlin, Hamburg and Munich resolve this problem, they will have a better chance of establishing a hard-hitting team for UPC proceedings.
Dr. Peter Kather (“superb quality”, client), Dr. Stephan Gruber, Dr. Ludwig von Zumbusch, Prof. Dr. Christian Donle, Dr. Christof Augenstein.
12 partners, 8 associates
The activities of this full-service firm clearly focus on IP. Alongside patents, also trademarks and unfair competition and pharmaceuticals and healthcare. Litigation predominates. Lots of German clients, some direct contacts to corporates.
Public knowledge: litigation for Ericsson and Vodafone concerning mobile communications, Huawei against Unwired Planet regarding LTE; HTC regarding operating system, Coloplast concerning urinary catheter; ongoing activity for Knorr Bremse, Manroland Sheetfed, Audi, Boston Scientific, VW, MAN Truck & Bus.
Düsseldorf, Munich, Berlin