This firm, best known in patents for its strong visibility in litigation, is among the leading practices and held its position at the top of the market. Like last year, BP was seen in a multitude of proceedings, esp. mobile communications battles. Bardehle now has a reputation as a firm for NPE litigation; it represented Intellectual Ventures in some of the year’s largest proceedings. But this only tells half the story, as the litigation for BMW against NPE Synchronicity shows. Though Bardehle is often active for industry clients, it does not shy away from conducting selected NPE suits. The firm’s visibility in pharmaceuticals suits remains low and most likely will only improve with preeminent laterals. In this regard, Bardehle can take a more relaxed view of the UPC following the Brexit vote. It will not need an office in London for the time being, esp. as it is unclear what will become of the UPC’s pharmaceuticals division, which was going to be in London. On balance, with its mixed litigation approach, the international focus of its lawyers and offices in Milan and Paris, Bardehle is well on its way to becoming a top European IP firm, esp. as competition from British firms for its strong US client base is likely to disappear due to Brexit.
This leading Düsseldorf IP boutique works exclusively with patent attorneys for technical protection rights and has one of west Germany’s most visible prosecution practices. The firm, best known in the mobile communications sector, underscored its position by raising its visibility in chemicals and pharmaceuticals disputes, where its good contacts in the Rheinland industrial sector were on display. The best-known specialty, however, is still litigation work in mobile communications suits, esp. for NPEs such as France Brevets. NPEs are eagerly awaiting the UPC to make use of pan-European injunctive relief, although the start date is still uncertain. C&F’s visibility among this client group, often in close cooperation with external lawyers, is thus a good starting point for more European work.
The international setup of this leading IP firm for patents offers little room for criticism. With its strong pharmaceuticals specialty, HE has long been visible with its London office. The firm bolstered Milan and Madrid with international lawyers, though these offices have yet to reach the level of London. With offices in Munich, Hamburg and Düsseldorf, HE is now visible before the important courts across Germany, though Munich dominates its reputation by far. Hamburg and Düsseldorf are making slow progress – possibly an understandable strategy given the UPC delay. From these two offices, HE has other European markets in its sights: there are Dutch patent attorneys working at the Düsseldorf office and from Hamburg HE is homing in on Scandinavia. However, work continues to center on Asian companies, though intensified litigation work for Ericsson involving mobile communications shows that the firm is active beyond these.
Even without international partnerships or offices, this recommended Düsseldorf firm would be excellently set for the UPC thanks to its outstanding litigation expertise. The patent attorneys are viewed as experienced in litigating for pharmaceuticals and mechanics patents. At national level too, the firm is a popular candidate for difficult proceedings of a precedent nature, e.g. work for Eli Lilly concerning Alimta in the matter of equivalent patent infringement. The firm’s litigation experience no longer centers on just König. Von Renesse, Max Tilmann and, most recently, Roth are also visible in the market. As long as the UPC launch remains uncertain, König Szynka can rely on its national litigation expertise and solid filing activity.Further Analysis
This highly recommended, pure patent attorney firm demonstrated its place among the foremost names for mobile communications suits with its involvement in an exceptional number of proceedings for its size. M&N was active in virtually all the high-profile proceedings in this sector, e.g. for Vodafone and HTC. The firm also showed its deep roots in the auto sector by litigating for Magna against Lucas Industries, but is rarely seen in pharmaceuticals proceedings. Nevertheless, M&N is one of the busiest litigation firms on the patent attorney side. Despite physics expert Dr. Wolfram Müller leaving to set up his own firm, M&N raised its headcount and relies on good ties to law firms like Hoyng ROKH Monegier and Hogan Lovells with regard to the possible UPC launch. This strategy is a tightrope walk, as both firms also have patent attorney expertise in their international networks. To cover its back, M&N banks on the outstanding litigation expertise of individual lawyers, e.g. Baumgärtel, self-sufficient patent attorney activity and strong, direct connections to technology corporates.
This recommended, pure patent attorney firm underscored its outstanding position in mobile communications suits with an impressive list of litigation clients. Reducing S&P to one of the go-to advisors to Nokia or for former Nokia patents held by Microsoft would be a mistake. The firm is visible in all of today’s major proceedings, esp. for industrial clients. The fact that S&P is also active in the proceedings of NPEs Intellectual Ventures, TLI and IPCom for Deutsche Telekom, Apple and Microsoft is proof positive of its depth of activity and strong starting position for the UPC system. Success is also based on a healthy blend of excellent litigation expertise of individual lawyers and close ties in the industry and among selected law firms. However, the close connection to Hoyng ROKH Monegier highlights the risk of this setup, as the firm also has its own patent attorneys in Amsterdam. S&P would do well to strengthen connections to other European litigation firms.Further Analysis
This leading firm in patents has a strong filing practice and is also very active in litigation with its mixed teams, e.g. extensive proceedings for a software company concerning industrial control. Growth in Düsseldorf, esp. with litigators, could further improve the firm’s position in national litigation work. From this office, B&B targets Mittelstand companies in the Rhein-Ruhr region. Strategic expansion of the Berlin office also offers potential, given the relatively low amount of regional competition. Overall, the firm is well set for the UPC launch with its mixed teams in Munich and Paris.
The basis of the huge success of this leading firm in patents is its broad prosecution work for a strong Mittelstand client base, incl. litigation before the patent offices. Eisenführ continuously builds on these foundations, for instance taking on the entire portfolio of Werner & Merz. The mixed litigation practice is also gaining momentum, partly because the patent attorneys and lawyers are now working together consistently. Although Eisenführ has long had a reputation as a firm for NPE suits owing to its litigation for Sisvel, industrial clients are by no means put off from entrusting it with major disputes. This was evidenced by extensive international proceedings for regular client Enercon, as well as the excellent connection to Philips, for whom Eisenführ is currently in action with mixed teams in a multitude of proceedings involving mobile communications patents. This makes the firm thoroughly competitive at international level, also with regard to the upcoming UPC system.
This leading patents team’s starting position for the new European patent system is good. Grünecker has a large prosecution practice with exceptionally broad technical know-how, established offices in Munich and Paris as well as a working mixed approach. Even if the UPC launch is delayed, this setup is the basis for a strong position at the top of the European market, esp. as the small litigation team is gaining momentum, as demonstrated by litigation for Yahoo and Twitter in the NPE dispute against TLI. The litigation team’s actual strength lies in traditional electronics and mechanics patents; it was esp. active in proceedings involving household appliances for Samsung, Grundig and Whirlpool. There is still room for the firm to raise its visibility in pharmaceuticals proceedings, as its pharmaceuticals prosecution practice is still too small compared to others in the market.
This leading firm in patents is a European heavyweight when it comes to pharmaceuticals and biotech patents. This applies to prosecution and litigation to an equal degree. This highly visible specialty overshadows the fact that Vossius’ technical expertise is broad on the whole. The firm now tackled its international setup, which is still weak compared to Hoffmann Eitle or Grünecker, but concrete plans to cooperate with other European firms have been thwarted by the Brexit referendum. Vossius had set its sights on one of the main potential UPC locations, Düsseldorf. The launch here, with a litigation team of its own patent attorneys and lawyers, as well as an experienced lateral, shows that Vossius is striving towards a consistent mixed approach in the European market, also to offer its strong US client base a full service. The firm is also tackling the Asian market, where other Munich firms have the edge.
A respected patent attorney firm in Munich which has a small prosecution practice that is very visible in IT and telecom patents. The firm was esp. visible in the major mobile communications proceedings, e.g. for Saint Lawrence and TLI. With these clients, the firm clearly positions itself on the side of NPEs; it also boasts excellent contacts to US NPEs Acacia Research and Marathon. The patent attorneys often litigate for industrial companies as well. With its highly visible litigation activity and close cooperation with Noerr’s patents practice, BJ is already in position for the upcoming European patent system.Further Analysis
A respected patent attorney firm which opts for extensive litigation work, in addition to renowned prosecution activity. The patent attorneys are known for their wealth of litigation experience. Molnia was very visible for Unwired Planet again in one of Germany’s major NPE suits. The pharmaceuticals/biotech team was also extremely busy in litigation, e.g. in opposition suits for Teva. But by no means does df-mp focus on NPEs and generics companies alone, as shown by extensive litigation for Biogen, Qiagen, Lonza and Toll Collect. With an approach geared clearly towards litigation, df-mp should make a good partner for European firms for the possible UPC launch.Further Analysis
This long-established Stuttgart IP boutique highly recommended for patent filing is growing its filing activity, with new clients like soldering technology manufacturer Ersa. In addition to a busy filing practice, primarily for Mittelstand companies in the Stuttgart region, litigation work gained ground: the patent attorneys worked for Hyundai and Robert Bosch in infringement and nullity suits, often alongside external litigators.
For pan-European patents matters, the leading patents practice of this US firm is appearing ever more frequently, with a well-positioned team of patent attorneys and a firmly established litigation team. JD plays a central role in pharmaceuticals disputes – opposition suits and infringement proceedings – involving new active agents. A prime example is work for Akebia involving erythropoietin and Celgene concerning a cancer drug. For Akebia, JD actively brought its US law expertise into play by pushing through a US inspection procedure. JD now defines its German patents team as the central anchor for technical protection rights in Europe. The firm is visible in numerous UPC markets, but only in London is it similarly positioned to Germany. The other European teams also draw on the broad technical expertise of the well-established German patent attorney practice. With regard to JD’s ambitions of closing the gap on the market-leading European practices of Bird & Bird or Hogan Lovells, the litigation team lacks visibility on the frontline in mobile communications suits, where it is only occasionally active. There is also room for development in terms of the litigators’ visibility in Düsseldorf.
This IP boutique recommended for patents enjoys a solid reputation for work for the pharmaceuticals sector – both prosecution and litigation – and boasts a very active, mixed litigation team with many years of experience. However, Maiwald is seeing much turbulence in its headcount: besides numerous new hires, esp. patent attorneys, it suffered several losses in January 2016, with two new startups spinning off from the firm. In Hamburg, partner Dr. Volker Hamm, who specializes in litigation for generics manufacturers, and his team set up Hamm Wittkopp. In Munich and Hamburg, a large team around partner Korbinian Kopf spun off as Kopf Westenberger Wachenhausen. This team took crucial expertise in engineering and client Airbus with it. As a result of the departures, Maiwald closed its Hamburg office. Strategic differences were the reason for the moves, according to market observers. This is supported by the fact that Maiwald is looking to focus on litigation for originators in the pharmaceuticals sector in the future.
A recommended, mixed firm for patents which remains very visible in litigation, esp. pharmaceuticals and auto industry disputes. It is not only individual partners like Wallinger who are seen as extremely experienced in litigation, but the firm as a whole. The firm strengthened its connections to Asian and US companies, as well as US firms with similar setups – no doubt the right strategy regardless of the UPC launch. WRST also branched into other industries, for example handling its first instructions for a Chinese mobile communications corporate and a French chemicals corporate.
Despite its small size, this Ruhr Valley firm respected in patents, primarily for filing, remains one of the most visible west German prosecution firms, along with Cohausz & Florak. The firm had to cope with the retirement of its most prominent partner, Dr. Rainer Albrecht, but had already bolstered the team with a patent attorney for its specialties in mechanics, engineering and electronics. In litigation, AH is esp. present in opposition and nullity suits as well as cancellation proceedings. The firm is not as visible in infringement proceedings as Cohausz & Florak, partly because its regular clients are not so litigious.
This firm respected in patents remains visible in the market with a midsized filing practice. The patent attorneys boast experience in litigation and are called on by lawyers for infringement proceedings, where they work closely with a number of selected firms, e.g. Taylor Wessing for Nichia and Hoja. It thus came as a blow when patent attorney Dr. Friedrich Emmerling, who is experienced in litigation, went to Prüfer & Partner after just six months because of conflicts of interest. As well as his main client Huawei, B&R lost expertise in the mobile communications sector. B&R is thus back to where it was in early 2015, but was able to add litigation to its prosecution activity for Google.Further Analysis
This leading litigation practice for patents was seen yet again in numerous proceedings with mixed teams of lawyers and patent attorneys, where it displays a vast technical breadth going beyond strong expertise in pharmaceuticals and mobile communications cases. Mobile communications litigation for Nokia, Microsoft and Huawei had long predominated, but now Jüngst and Wolters-Höhne were more visible in high-profile pharmaceuticals cases, e.g. for Actavis against Eli Lilly regarding Alimta in connection with the precedent issue of equivalent patent infringement. Unlike its main competitor Hogan Lovells, B&B positions itself less energetically on the industry/originator side, litigating for generics companies and industry-oriented NPEs. The fact that the team boasts a group of strong partners aged under 50 means it can watch the arrival of the UPC calmly – esp. as the delay in the launch caused by Brexit has put conflicts with the London team over who will play the lead role for central US clients on hold. The British practice, which is also strong, will first have to reorient itself.
A respected Hamburg patent attorney firm which displayed far more dynamism than its north German competitors. By opening its third office, in Stuttgart, Glawe took a crucial step towards nationwide visibility. Here, solo lawyer Hössle, who is known for automotive and software patents, joined the firm. The move into Stuttgart strengthens Glawe’s preeminent national activity, but, at the same time, the firm is looking to harness the opportunities offered by the UPC system. Glawe is very visible here as Keussen is supporting the UPC preparatory committee as a representative of German patent attorneys. But Glawe will have to deepen its mixed approach, as, despite the litigation experience of a number of patent attorneys, the firm was not particularly visible in litigation work.
This respected IP firm in Berlin can look back over a strong year in litigation work. Not only is G&P frequently seen on the side of ZTE, it was also involved in a central decision regarding the interpretation of the ECJ rules concerning SEP suits, in work for Haier against Sisvel before Düsseldorf Patent Court (Patentgericht). In these proceedings, G&P impressed the market with the visibility of its mixed team, made up of its own patent attorneys and lawyers. In other proceedings, the patent attorneys attracted much attention on the side of external lawyers. The firm’s basis for successful development in the new European patent system is still its well-balanced prosecution and litigation work, as well as traditionally strong ties to Asia. G&P has its own office in Beijing and has now launched in Yokohama, as well as employing Korean patent attorneys.
This Munich IP boutique is a leading name in patents and has enjoyed stability from day one, thanks to a base of very loyal clients, most of whom are advised on an all-round basis incl. patent filing and patent litigation. The practice is characterized by close cooperation between the patent attorneys and lawyers. This year saw a rise in the strong filing activity for regular clients like Fresenius and Faun. The team stepped up efforts to acquire Japanese and Chinese clients for the upcoming UPC. The main coup came from the very small litigation team with its work for regular client Telefónica/E-Plus as one of the main defendants against NPE Intellectual Ventures. This also highlighted, however, how the litigation team will only be able to manage another case of this magnitude and complexity with more lawyers.
From a strong filing practice, this pure patent attorney firm respected in patents is also developing an active litigation practice. Prinz was busy with the dispute between Nike and Adidas in connection with knitted sneakers. The filing practice made steady progress with a rise in work for regular clients like BMW. The firm already enjoys a strong position in the auto industry. In the advancement of its prosecution practice, P&P is banking on a digital analysis tool for assessing its clients’ patent strategies.
A respected patent attorney firm in Munich which underscored its good reputation once more with much prosecution work within a broad technical spectrum, often for Asian clients. The work of the patent attorneys involving chemicals and pharmaceuticals patents stands out. This also includes renowned litigation activity, mostly for pharmaceuticals companies.
This Hamburg IP boutique respected in patents specializes much more than other patent attorney firms on litigation related to chemicals and pharmaceuticals. Clients here included agricultural corporate Monsanto. In litigation, the patent attorneys work in cooperation with external lawyers. The firm is also very active for petroleum corporates, incl. portfolio advice. U&S responded to the loss of two experienced partners with technical expertise in electronics and mobile communications patents to Bird & Bird by hiring two younger patent attorneys from competitors to carry on this work.
A respected Frankfurt IP firm boasting a strong filing practice, esp. for chemicals, mechanics and electrical engineering patents. Beyond this, the patent attorneys litigate with K&S’ lawyers for long-standing clients, e.g. Klann. Alongside German Mittelstand companies, the firm litigates for corporates like Sanofi-Aventis.
A respected, pure patent attorney firm which is one of the first stops for filing and litigation in the Ruhr Valley. The team frequently litigates for German Mittelstand companies with external lawyers. A number of patent attorneys, e.g. name partner von Rohr, enjoy a strong reputation for litigation work and are thus often called on for major suits. The firm also maintains a steady filing practice for engineering, electrical engineering, chemicals and life sciences patents and often adds new portfolios to its list, e.g. that of lab equipment manufacturer Retsch.
A Munich firm which is respected for its strong filing practice. W&W widened its base of German Mittelstand clients last year and cemented existing contacts. This now offers further opportunity for the firm to reduce its dependence on its strong international client base. The organic growth also fits in with this strategy. Filing activity goes hand in hand with a busy practice for litigation in opposition suits. The patent attorneys occasionally appear in infringement proceedings.
Competitors characterize this respected patent attorney firm as dynamic. Unlike other firms in the southwest, WWP is active for international corporates like Boeing and Sony with its extensive filing practice. The firm also frequently litigates for clients with external lawyers, e.g. for TomTom concerning navigation devices or for Harmann against France Brevets. Compared to other patents firms in Stuttgart, WWP need not worry about young talent: thanks to a systematic training strategy, it once again added two patent attorneys to the headcount from its own ranks.
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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