B&B is among the leading firms for patents. The already very active filing practice got a boost in engineering with a patent attorney who brought connections to medical products company Lohmann & Rauscher and dairy company Müller. This new hire also widens the litigation practice, as he conducts infringement proceedings for regular clients. This is in line with firm strategy: B&B provides litigation with its mixed teams, often for German or internationally operating Mittelstand companies. Examples include an intensive dispute in the currently litigious packaging industry for Sprick and litigation coordination in the US for 3S Smart Software Solutions regarding control software.
The major strength of this leading patents team is its exceptionally large prosecution practice with broad technical know-how. The practice filed an immense number of patents for its very international client base and can thus only continue to grow within existing client connections. Grünecker is therefore concentrating on developing litigation activity, and is making headway. Following litigation for Yahoo and Twitter, the patent attorneys positioned themselves on the side of Nokia in a high-profile mobile communications dispute. But the litigation team’s actual strength lies in classic electronics and mechanics patents. Grünecker has long operated with mixed teams, e.g. on the side of Beko regarding white goods. Work for Broadcom in a dispute with Sony over chips for games consoles highlights how well integrated the two groups are. Grünecker could tap further potential if it branches further into the pharmaceuticals sector, both in litigation and filing. This is a sector, however, where it faces tough competition in Hoffmann Eitle and Vossius. Experienced laterals are likely to be the only solution.
This mixed firm is among the leading names for patents and enjoys an exceptionally strong international position compared to other teams. In Germany, HE boasts one of the strongest prosecution teams there is as well as established litigation teams at the future UPC divisions Düsseldorf, Hamburg and Munich. The firm’s network of Japanese companies is almost legendary, and it has long operated a London office because of its strong pharma focus. HE bolstered its Milan and Madrid offices with foreign lawyers. But to fully bring this strength into play against the large law firms in the UPC system, HE will need to strengthen its litigation teams in Düsseldorf and London massively, as well as stepping up activity by lawyers in mobile communications suits: the lawyers are predominantly seen in pharmaceuticals proceedings; HE is only represented by its patent attorneys in mobile communications suits. But these proceedings are very high profile, e.g. work for Apple. As these companies only work with certain law firms, the strategy will only succeed if the firm brings in experienced laterals.
This recommended Munich IP firm remains one of the market’s strongest prosecution outfits when it comes to patent filing and grew by five patent attorneys from its own ranks. The patent attorneys work within a broad technical spectrum. Pharmaceuticals patents do not play a role comparable to that at pharma-heavy competitors Hoffmann Eitle and Vossius. Instead, MFP is very strong in mechanics patents and the automotive sector, as extensive filing work for General Motors shows. Most litigation work is in opposition suits before the EPO and in nullity suits, where Schmidt has a good reputation. The patent attorneys are less visible in infringement proceedings.Further Analysis
A leading firm in patents which is strategically gearing itself up for more high-volume European litigation work. Vossius deepened its mixed approach by adding one experienced associate from Olswang and one from Simmons & Simmons to its team of lawyer litigators. The firm is also integrating its Düsseldorf lawyers more consistently. This is the right strategy to raise the young team’s visibility for the long term alongside the city’s many established practices. Vossius’ activity in various series of proceedings in the life sciences sector, e.g. for medical products manufacturers Resmed and Smith & Nephew, may also help. Next to this, extensive work for pharmaceuticals and biotech companies is a familiar picture, as Vossius is considered extremely strong in this sector, in both litigation and prosecution. The firm is gaining a footing in proceedings related to electronics and mobile communications patents, where it brings its good connections in Asia into play: it litigated for ZTE and a Chinese manufacturer of Wi-Fi routers. Numerous prosecution instructions are from first-rate clients like Korean electronics corporate LG, which is filing a growing number of suits in Europe.
This leading firm in patents is a real heavyweight for litigation, both by patent attorneys and lawyers. No other German firm has so consistently embodied the mixed litigation approach over many years. The major proceedings conducted for the NPE Intellectual Ventures were among the highest-profile proceedings before the German courts. Beyond such NPE suits, Bardehle primarily litigates for industrial clients from a wide range of sectors, among them Amazon and Adidas. Visibility in pharmaceuticals suits, however, is low and will only improve with first-rate laterals. Overall the question arises as to whether the team of patent litigation lawyers urgently needs more partners (currently two equity partners), given the volume of work.
With its team of patent attorneys, this Düsseldorf IP boutique is among the leading firms and is seeing activity increase, in both the litigation and filing practices. The firm is strong in mobile communications patents, esp. when it comes to litigation for NPEs like regular client France Brevet, for whom it wrapped up a major series of proceedings. The boutique could profit from the rush on German courts by these clients, also in the UPC. But in its work in the patent battle between Nokia and Apple, C&F positioned itself prominently on the industry side. The firm also raised its visibility in pharmaceuticals proceedings, with work for Bayer Pharma, and in chemicals patents, e.g. for Henkel. The long-term development of a Munich office could be an important strategic step; patent attorneys are currently being developed internally for this.
IP boutique Dreiss is chiefly recommended for its extensive prosecution activity in patents. The long-established Stuttgart firm has deep roots among Mittelstand companies in the region, such as Innowatech, which it litigated for in (international) disputes, in cooperation with external lawyers. Dreiss is also called on frequently by other law firms for litigation. Overall development in terms of staff and work was steady.
This leading firm in patents successfully pursues a litigation focus. Work for Philips is increasingly extensive, e.g. concerning implementation of the Dutch company’s huge patent pool. The patent attorneys and lawyers not only conduct litigation for their most important regular client in mobile communications, but in a broad spectrum ranging from lighting to white goods. Just how consistently Eisenführ now works with mixed teams for litigation was shown by its work for Dolby regarding audio coding and for regular client Sisvel in mobile communications. Although the latter also carried out high-profile proceedings with lawyers from Arnold Ruess and Hengeler, the Eisenführ patent attorneys are always at its side. Filing activity has been on the increase for years, with Eisenführ frequently conducting initial filing in a wide technical spectrum for an internationally active client base as well as innovative Mittelstand companies. Prosecution work was broadened for BASF as well as Philips.
MB is a leading name in patents and is making inroads into the group of firms with visible mixed litigation teams, like those seen for some time at Bardehle, Grünecker or Vossius. MB bolstered Wuttke’s team of lawyers with a Bird & Bird associate experienced in patents. Patent attorneys and lawyers are working increasingly closely in litigation, e.g. for Deutsche Telekom and Facebook. But the basis of litigation work is always the well-positioned prosecution practice with its multitude of German industrial clients as well as international contacts, esp. in Asia.
The dynamic progress made by this highly recommended patent attorney firm in Munich can be seen in the growing headcount, with four patent attorneys brought in for engineering and physics. The takeover of the major Colgate-Palmolive patent portfolio last year played a major role in the growth. W&W is defending its connections to regular clients against tough competition and, more than others, is giving thought to how it can accompany its clients in their digitalization process, e.g. e-billing. With litigation specialists like Thum and Katérle, the firm is also busy in infringement proceedings for regular clients like SRAM regarding bicycle components – always at the side of external lawyers.
This Ruhr Valley firm is respected for its patent filing work. AH is very visible in mechanics and engineering patents, partly because Rohmann and Kasseck raised their market presence. The latter was appointed partner at the beginning of 2017. In litigation, AH mostly appears in opposition suits, cancellation proceedings and nullity suits. The firm is less visible in infringement proceedings, as its regular clients are not very litigious.
This respected Cologne IP firm is one of the most visible prosecution outfits in the Rhine-Ruhr region with an outstanding reputation for chemicals and pharmaceuticals patents. The patent attorneys were far more visible in litigation than before. The fact that work also involved technologies outside of the firm’s actual specialty proves its many years of litigation experience, which a number of Düsseldorf litigation firms trust in: Dompatent was seen on the side of Taylor Wessing in a mobile communications dispute for Asus. Generally, however, the firm litigates for regular Mittelstand clients.Further Analysis
This Munich firm is respected for patent filing and one of the few large prosecution outfits in the market. As such, it foregoes a litigation practice with its own lawyers. Only some of its patent attorneys occasionally appear before the ordinary courts. EHF is very visible in prosecution work related to electronics and mobile communications patents, incl. the corresponding official proceedings, e.g. for Osram, Fujitsu and Huawei.Further Analysis
This respected Hamburg patent attorney firm made the leap to a two-office practice by successfully integrating Hössle’s Stuttgart office (2016). From here, Glawe mainly advises on automotive and software patents. The firm’s work is based on a large number of traditional connections in the north German Mittelstand. The competitive Hamburg market offers little potential for growth nowadays, so expansion into south Germany was necessary. This is one reason why the patent attorneys are stepping up litigation activity, mainly with more opposition and nullity suits. Despite the litigation experience of some patent attorneys, Glawe is rarely seen in infringement proceedings.
A respected patent attorney practice and one of the most visible filing firms in north Germany. For its size, which has been small for years, Hauck handles a substantial amount of filing – often initial filing for its strong Mittelstand client base. The patent attorneys are raising their visibility in litigation, esp. in opposition and nullity suits. Infringement proceedings, on the other hand, are only conducted occasionally by the patent attorneys for regular clients.Further Analysis
A pure patent attorney firm, Hoeger is primarily respected for its solid filing practice. The innovative Mittelstand client base from the central Neckar region is provided with prosecution and strategic patent portfolio advice, as well as litigation in disputes. In these cases, the patent attorneys frequently call on lawyers from Düsseldorf or Munich firms. Unlike other pure patent attorney firms, HSP is not looking to increase litigation activity and is thus not particularly visible in this segment.Further Analysis
A respected, pure patent attorney firm which is restructuring activity. Classic pharmaceuticals and chemicals patents have been the main pillars of work up to now, but IBH responded to the decreasing number of patents filed in these sectors by filing more patents on the interface with electronics and mechanics, e.g. in bioinformatics or medical technology. IBH reduced capacities accordingly: three lawyers from the pharmaceuticals/chemicals group went to companies or other firms. But the patent attorneys continued to capitalize on IBH’s reputation as one of the strongest German firms for chemicals and pharmaceuticals: they are litigating for Shionogi in a dispute against Merck over a compulsory license for an HIV drug. In litigation, the patent attorneys always work with external lawyers.Further Analysis
Thanks to a very well-positioned team of patent attorneys, this US firm boasts one of Germany’s leading patents practices. Apart from Bird & Bird, JD is the only large law firm in Germany to file patents on a large scale. The technical spectrum is vast, but a specialty lies in biotech and pharmaceuticals. The small litigation team is thus also very active in pharmaceuticals proceedings. The consistent mixed approach and intensive cooperation with London and the US offices show the clout JD is able to deploy at the UPC. JD often litigates for clients like Akebia or Celgene in several countries at once or coordinates international litigation. The German team also has a busy litigation practice for mechanics and engineering patents, but is rarely seen in mobile communications suits. This is where the main difference to the market leaders lies.
For many years, this Munich IP boutique and leading name in patents has followed a successful mixed approach. The patent attorneys operate a small but strong prosecution practice, which files many patents at the German Patent and Trademark Office, incl. a large number of priority patents for its primarily German clients. Because regular clients are securing more and more international markets, the proportion of patents filed at the EPO is also on the rise. Besides activity for innovative Mittelstand companies, work for some international corporates is very visible, particularly the work of the very small, yet highly experienced litigation team. The lawyers frequently make an appearance in major proceedings, for instance when regular client Telefónica/E-Plus is taken to court in mobile communications suits.
After last year’s staff turbulence, this IP boutique recommended in patents reorganized itself. In the course of this process, the Hamburg office, which focused on representing generics companies, spun off in 2016 since Maiwald will be concentrating on litigating for originators in the pharma sector from now on. The firm also lost a large team for mechanics and engineering patents. Both teams operate under their own names today. Maiwald quickly responded by rebuilding its engineering practice at partner level with a lawyer who came from his own firm. The mixed outfit also introduced a clear management and business structure. With Stief and others, the lawyers are now represented more strongly in the partnership and management. Maiwald is thus aiming for more litigation work. A further deepening of the mixed approach would be the next logical step. With regard to UPC proceedings, the modernization of the management structure and focusing of activity were already consistent steps. Maiwald is also building on prosecution work, e.g. taking on a large Intel portfolio.
The patent attorneys at this firm respected for its prosecution work file many priority patents for a multitude of regular clients from a wide array of sectors. They also file European patents on a much smaller scale for foreign companies. Litigation mainly plays a role within existing client relationships. The firm is hired less often than local competitor Cohausz & Florack for pure litigation work, because only a few individual patent attorneys have pronounced litigation profiles. Nonetheless, MHP is one of the most visible prosecution outfits in west Germany with its multitude of visible partners and a much broader technical setup than Ruhr firms like Rohr and Andrejewski Honke.Further Analysis
This pure patent attorney firm is respected in patents. The strong filing practice was given a boost as new clients chose the firm and existing clients expanded their portfolios. This led to a rise in opposition suits, where P&P is very visible. The opposition suits and patent filing for auto supplier Valeo are one example. From its filing activity, the firm is also developing much litigation work. Infringement proceedings are conducted with external lawyers.
A respected Munich patent attorney firm which is visible in the market with a busy prosecution practice offering a broad technical spectrum. The firm grew by two patent attorneys in line with the good market conditions. The patent attorneys are also known for work for Asian companies and often litigate alongside external lawyers. They frequently appear for Hexal and other generics companies, most recently against Mundipharma regarding Targin. The overall focus is on chemicals and pharmaceuticals patents.
This Hamburg IP boutique’s respected patents team chiefly specializes in providing litigation and advice to clients from the pharmaceuticals, biotech and chemicals sector. U&S frequently litigates for medical technology manufacturer Ivoclar and agriculture corporate Monsanto. In litigation, the patent attorneys always work with external lawyers. The move of two experienced partners with technical expertise in electronics and mobile communications patents to Bird & Bird meant the loss of connections to clients Black & Decker and Nokia, which weakened the firm’s visibility in electronics patents markedly.
This large IP firm files a sizeable number of patents and is mostly respected for its prosecution work, though it has also been building up a litigation practice with its own lawyers for some time. This is not particularly visible yet, but is already busy. For instance, the practice litigated in a midsized series of proceedings for NMS and made the market sit up and take notice on the side of NPE Wilan against Amazon. The extensive prosecution work harbors potential for much more litigation activity.Further Analysis
This mixed firm, which comes recommended in patents, boasts an established prosecution practice with strong specialties in mechanics and pharmaceuticals patents, as well as an expanding litigation practice. This is because, like other midsized patent attorney firms in Munich, such as Prüfer & Partner or Viering Jentschura, WRST is currently banking on more dispute work and is integrating its lawyers more consistently into litigation for regular clients. Some patent attorneys, Wallinger above all, have enjoyed an excellent reputation for litigation for a long time. The lawyers are now very consistently involved in nullity suits, e.g. for their many clients from the auto sector or for pharma manufacturers like Eppendorf. WRST could, however, raise its visibility in infringement proceedings. The firm bolstered the field of pharmaceuticals with a lawyer from df-mp and stepped up activity for Asian clients, incl. increasingly extensive prosecution work for a Chinese cell phone manufacturer.
A Munich IP firm which is primarily respected by the market for its prosecution work. The firm is steadily widening its filing activity, as loyal regular clients are filing more patents and German and international clients from the Mittelstand and the startup scene came on board. This was accompanied by many opposition suits. The positive development was reflected in the growing headcount, with three patent attorneys hired for mechanics. But the firm was not seen as frequently in infringement proceedings, where it always works with external lawyers.
This Stuttgart patent attorney firm respected for its prosecution work profited from the rise in filing activity by regular clients incl. Sony and Boeing. Compared to other firms from southwest Germany, Witte works for international corporates to a particularly high degree. The firm also litigates frequently, e.g. for clients Diazyme Europe, General Atomics, DiaSys and Orlalab concerning blood tests. But like many of its competitors, the firm relies on cooperation with external lawyers.
The patent attorneys at this Munich IP firm are predominantly respected for work in patent litigation. They are mainly registered in the market for their litigation for regular client Samsung before the German courts, and defended the Korean corporate once again against an attack by NPE Unwired Planet involving mobile communications patents. Z&P also litigates for Samsung in other technological fields, e.g. IT. The patent attorneys always work alongside external lawyers. The firm also operates an established filing practice and litigates frequently for regular clients in opposition and nullity suits.
This firm respected in patents operates a midsized filing practice focusing increasingly on international clients. This is partly thanks to the patent attorneys’ good reputation for litigation, esp. in electronics and mobile communications patents. The patent attorneys bank on sound connections to selected firms like Taylor Wessing, with whom they are working in a high-profile LED dispute for Nichia. Its litigation expertise allows B&R to position itself for new prosecution work. The firm was one of just a few other practices chosen by Google to put its litigation-focused filing strategy into practice in Europe.
This respected Berlin IP firm can look back on an exceptional year, for its litigation work in particular. For Haier, the firm is currently helping to shape the German FRAND case law in the SEP mobile communications suits against Sisvel before the Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court (Oberlandesgericht). It is notable how Gulde is conducting these proceedings in a mixed team with its own lawyers. The firm’s expertise in the FRAND issue also gave rise to further mobile communications suits, incl. for ZTE on the patent attorney side. In addition, the Berlin practice boasts excellent ties in Asia, where it has its own offices in Beijing and Yokohama, as well as with authoritative German litigation firms, which Gulde frequently works with in major disputes. This should make Gulde a candidate for proceedings before the UPC – at least on the patent attorney side. The strong progress is a result of the good balance between prosecution and litigation work.
A respected patent attorney firm in Frankfurt with a traditional strength in filing engineering and mechanics patents, as well as in chemicals and chemical engineering. The patent attorneys also conduct litigation for regular clients from the German Mittelstand and international corporates with an experienced lawyer. But this has not raised K&S’ visibility as a litigation specialist.
This highly recommended, pure patent attorney firm is developing both its prosecution and litigation activity in impressive fashion. M&N made the leap onto the Google panel and is now one of a few preferred practices alongside Betten & Resch implementing the corporate’s litigation-focused filing strategy in Europe. The patent attorneys were also very visible again in litigation on the industry side, for example for Apple against Nokia. This secures M&N’s position as one of the top names in Germany for mobile communications suits. The firm also boasts deep roots in the auto sector, which expects to see more lawsuits arising from mobile communications patents because of the trend towards connected cars.
This midsized, respected patent attorney firm continues to build up activity. On the patent attorney side, P&P landed an extensive new prosecution instruction: Knorr Bremse. Patent attorney Emmerling, who joined in 2015 from Betten & Resch, raised his visibility in patent litigation, e.g. for Huawei as well as Acer and Trekstor. The mixed litigation approach pursued by P&P for a good three years is bearing ever greater fruit: its own lawyers are integrated increasingly consistently into litigation for regular client Brother.Further Analysis
This Nuremberg firm is primarily respected for patent filing, which it conducts at a consistently high level. Filing work for Mittelstand clients, among whom the firm is deeply rooted, esp. in northern Bavaria, made solid progress. The firm stepped up patent filing in connection with Industry 4.0, thus following the development of its clients, esp. engineering companies.Further Analysis
Thanks to steady personnel development and a loyal base of clients, this respected, pure patent attorney firm remains one of the foremost players for filing and litigation in west Germany. Von Rohr is esp. visible in the Ruhr Valley, but also has a good name among Düsseldorf’s lawyers for the litigation conducted by its patent attorneys. The team mainly litigates for German Mittelstand companies on the side of external lawyers. But above all von Rohr has a high profile for its filing practice in engineering, electrical engineering, chemicals and life sciences patents.
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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