In patent prosecution, Boehmert is indisputably among the leading firms. It boasts one of the larger headcounts in Europe and some of the highest filing figures. Patents are filed within a broad technical spectrum for a multitude of innovative Mittelstand companies, but like many Munich firms Boehmert also boasts a strong track record for international corporates like Huawei, Intel and LG. Boehmert actively litigates with mixed teams, primarily for Mittelstand clients. The firm is currently not visible in the major mobile communications battles, although it files many patents for these clients. Visibility is much stronger in pharmaceuticals litigation. The patent attorneys are considered experienced in litigation, but the team of lawyers too small compared to the market leaders.
The major strength of this market-leading patents team lies in its unusually large prosecution practice with broad technical know-how. The firm’s ties among auto suppliers and chip manufacturers paid dividends: together with Klaka, the litigation team conducted what was perhaps the year’s most important series of proceedings before the German patent courts, the first high-profile case involving connected car patents, for Broadcom/Avogo against Audi/VW. The team had already worked for Broadcom concerning chips for games consoles. With the connected cars case, the lawyers finally made the breakthrough into major proceedings. Up until then, only the patent attorneys had gained recognition in major mobile communications proceedings. But Grünecker’s mixed approach is well established. The large prosecution practice, to which few competitors across Europe can compare, gives rise to a multitude of nullity suits and infringement proceedings in a broad technical spectrum. In comparison to Vossius and Hoffmann Eitle, pharmaceuticals litigation only plays a minor role. Grünecker is somewhat more strongly positioned when it comes to medical products. With only two partners, the lawyer litigation team will have to boost its litigation team and, like Vossius, grow in Düsseldorf to raise its clout for the UPC.
This mixed IP firm is among the market-leading practices on the patent attorney side, but the litigation team is also excellently positioned when it comes to pharmaceuticals suits. HE has now raised the headcount of its prosecution team and underscored the importance of this by appointing four partners from its own young patent attorneys. The renowned litigation practice was expanded with an associate lawyer in Munich. The Düsseldorf litigation team, however, still needs reinforcements, partly because the litigators do not enjoy a similar standing in other sectors to that seen in pharmaceuticals proceedings. In major mobile communications proceedings, for example, it is mainly the patent attorneys who are visible, e.g. for Ericsson against IPCom concerning UMTS patents. Competitor Vossius has overtaken HE here by ramping up its Düsseldorf litigation team with laterals. But HE is expanding its European network. As well as offices in Milan and Madrid, which have grown by foreign fee earners, the firm launched in Amsterdam with a Dutch patent attorney – a logical step as covering the Dutch market from Düsseldorf was not a huge success.
This Munich IP firm is one of the prosecution outfits with the highest filing figures and, for the second year in a row, grew by two patent attorneys in the fields of electrical engineering, mechanics and chemicals. The patent attorneys work across a broad technical spectrum overall. Pharmaceuticals patents do not play as strong a role as at competitors Hoffmann Eitle or Vossius, but MFP is very strong in mechanics patents and the automotive sector. Two of its highest profile clients are General Motors and Sumitomo Rubber. In disputes, the firm is most active in opposition suits at the EPO and nullity suits; the patent attorneys are less visible in infringement proceedings.Further Analysis
This mixed IP firm is a market leader in patents: besides an extremely strongly positioned prosecution practice, Vossius is vigorously expanding its litigation team. Filing activity is very extensive and internationally focused among the German firms and centers on biotechnology. This frequently manifests itself in numerous opposition suits and appeal proceedings at the EPO, e.g. for CRISPR Therapeutics. Vossius also enjoys a strong position among pharmaceuticals and medical product manufacturers, as shown in the extensive litigation for ResMed and Boston Scientific. Vossius is also gaining ground in electronics and mobile communications patents, based on filing work for Asian corporates, especially LG. The expansion of the China desk is making an impact, as shown by litigation for ZTE. In general, Vossius is enhancing its litigation team more than most competitors. The focus here is on Düsseldorf, where a team of three joined from Arnold Ruess, among them Kramer, who is experienced in mobile communications and brought Wiko as a new client. The lawyers also litigated for another mobile communications provider in an NPE suit. The Munich litigation team has a strength in medical products.
This mixed firm is among the German market leaders in patent prosecution and patent litigation to an equal extent. BP has had a turbulent time in every respect. The lawyers had the sudden death of internationally well-regarded managing partner Peter Hess to cope with. The litigation practice also grew with a four-strong team around former Freshfields partner Chrocziel. This not only brought connections to Audi, Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard, but valuable expertise in antitrust, and broadened the comparatively slim litigation practice. BP also enjoyed success in client work. The firm was visible as ever in mobile communications cases, especially in what is probably the largest dispute before the German courts at present, for NPE Intellectual Ventures against various mobile communications providers. Having long been present in the healthcare sector, litigation for Amgen regarding Praluent and 10X Genomics involving microfluid chips was important progress. A dispute for Adidas against Nike and extensive prosecution work for the auto and semiconductor industry showed how Bardehle is primarily an industry firm. So it was no surprise that the firm is also involved in the major proceedings between Avago and Audi/VW for co-litigator Nvidia. Given the large number of auto manufacturers and suppliers, e.g. Audi, BMW or Kuka, among clients, the hot topic of connected cars is just the tip of the iceberg for BP.
The patent attorneys at this Düsseldorf IP boutique enjoy a place at the top of the market for litigation and prosecution. The practice is especially strongly positioned in mobile communications patents thanks to Schüll and manages the balancing act of advising industry-oriented NPEs and industrial companies. The firm litigated for Fundamental Innovation against Huawei and Samsung and on the industry side is active for Bel Duse and Nokia. C&F was prominently involved in the extensive pharmaceuticals proceedings before German courts. Bayer, in the proceedings concerning anticoagulant Xarelto, and Gilead (Truvada) trusted in Burrichter and his team. The 2017 Munich launch allows C&F to develop strategically and become even more appealing to international companies before the EPO. C&F is working on establishing patent attorneys for this office.
This Stuttgart IP boutique is rooted in the technologically strong southwest German Mittelstand with its extensive prosecution work. The team also files patents for notable electronics manufacturers such as Nokia and General Electric. The firm continued to branch out from its traditional focus on regional engineering companies – both geographically and thematically. It stepped up advice on legal issues related to blockchain technology and AI, e.g. for a large German electronics manufacturer. Dreiss is also attracting new international clients by continually growing its informal foreign network. One good example is US medical technology manufacturer Conmed, for whom the firm files patents at the EPO. The patent attorneys also often appear in litigation – often in cooperation with external lawyers, for instance in the preparation of an infringement suit for an electronics manufacturer concerning navigation technology. The firm underlined the positive development by appointing two patent attorneys as partners.
This IP firm is among the market-leading German patents firms, especially for patent prosecution. ES not only files patents and conducts official proceedings in large quantities, but also boasts an impressive list of regular clients, incl. international corporates like Philips as well as innovative German Mittelstand companies and corporates, e.g. Sennheiser, Enercon or BASF. Eisenführ ramped up its patent attorney headcount, for example welcoming a partner experienced in chemicals patents from Uexküll & Stolberg as counsel. But the patents practice has made its most significant strides in litigation over recent years as the patent attorneys traditionally experienced in disputes are incorporating the lawyers in litigation with increasing consistency. Moreover, these are now operating largely independently and increasingly visibly for Philips and other industrial companies, incl. Fraunhofer Society and Dolby, who have pooled their patents. The firm’s in-depth mobile communications know-how is also the result of many years working for NPE Sisvel. Of the mixed litigation practices only Bird & Bird still conducts more proceedings.
This mixed IP firm is among the market leaders in patents, largely as it operates a very internationally oriented prosecution practice with such notable clients as Facebook and Johnson Controls. MB also boasts an agile litigation team around Wuttke, which is positioning itself ever better for mobile communications proceedings from Munich; Deutsche Telekom is engaging MB for more and more cases. In line with the prosecution practice’s client structure, the lawyers are also active across a broad technical spectrum, ranging from litigation in mechanics patents for ITW to child seats for Cybex. The launch in Düsseldorf with Fitzner was important for the firm overall. He is dual-qualified as a lawyer and patent attorney, specializes in chemicals, biochemicals and chemical engineering and brings important connections to BASF. MBP also brought long-time Federal Court of Justice (Bundesgerichtshof) judge Prof. Klaus-Jürgen Melullis on board as of counsel.
Not only is this Munich patent attorney firm one of the major German filing practices with a very international approach, but it is also well positioned for litigation in the mobile communications sector. Katérle is active for LG in two proceedings against NPEs Fipa and Conversant. The firm also conducts much litigation involving bicycle components for regular client Sram. The pharmaceuticals and biotech team is not present in so many infringement cases before the EPO, but in opposition and nullity suits. The basis for this is extensive prosecution work for the sector, incl. a major originator. W&W also nurtures close ties in the auto supply industry, which could, in combination with its mobile communications know-how, provide a good starting point for connected cars. But for now the firm is fighting over traditional auto components for Valeo and ZF TRW.
This Ruhr Valley firm, one of the four most visible filing practices in west Germany, is opting for cautious, partner-centric development. Though smaller than Cohausz & Florack or Dompatent, its renown in prosecution work is in no way inferior to the much larger competitors. In litigation, the patent attorneys are not nearly as prominent as Cohausz, as they are hardly visible at all in the major patent battles, tending rather to represent the innovative German Mittelstand.
This Cologne IP firm is one of the most visible prosecution outfits in the Rhein-Ruhr region with an outstanding name for chemicals and pharmaceuticals patents. Dompatent was more visible than ever before in a number of high-profile infringement proceedings outside its specialist discipline. The firm litigated for Asus in an extensive mobile communications suit and defended regular client Wilkinson in a prominent dispute against Gillette over razors. Reducing Dompatent – as many competitors do – to just the life science and chemicals sector thus does not tell the whole story. The firm looks after a technologically diverse client base in prosecution, and if necessary, before the courts with external lawyers.
This Munich patent attorney firm is one of the most visible prosecution names in Germany for its team clout if nothing else. In semiconductor, IT and electronics patents EHF can even hold its own against Europe’s strongest prosecution outfits. Unlike Grünecker, EHF foregoes a litigation practice with its own lawyers and its patent attorneys only occasionally appear before the ordinary courts. In opposition suits before the EPO, however, EHF is very visible as it files a large number of patents for regular clients.Further Analysis
With a large team in Hamburg, this patent attorney firm is among the strong filing practices in north Germany. It has two smaller but well-established offices in Munich and Stuttgart. Glawe’s work is based on many traditional Mittelstand connections. The patent attorneys have stepped up litigation in recent years – initially in opposition and nullity suits, and now in infringement proceedings. Keussen is emerging as the main force here, with frequent work for Carl Zeiss, e.g. the high-profile proceedings against Nikon. He is also a renowned UPC expert. Other patent attorneys defended a Chinese mobile communications manufacturer against NPE suits. Glawe has yet to reach the high case numbers of Maikowski & Ninnemann or Cohausz & Florack. To do so it will need to deepen its mixed approach more quickly.
This Stuttgart patent attorney firm bolstered its team with three patent attorneys from its own ranks and consequently expanded prosecution work with more filing for long-time clients. Besides German Mittelstand companies, clients include various research institutes and international companies, especially from the US, China and Japan, for whom the team provides strategic portfolio advice, incl. filing. Alongside the traditionally strong focus on the mechanics, electronics and optics sectors, the team is advising more and more on materials and chemicals patents. HSP is less active in litigation, where it works in cooperation with Düsseldorf and Mannheim lawyers.Further Analysis
This pure patent attorney firm is very visible in pharmaceuticals and chemicals patents, the two main pillars of work. The patent attorneys are often seen in high-profile proceedings, e.g. for Hormosan concerning Truvada. But IBH already reacted two years ago to the upheavals in the pharmaceuticals industry and shifted capacities to other sectors. Since then, it has focused more on patents on the interface with electronics and mechanics, e.g. bioinformatics or medical technology. Unlike last year, IBP grew again with a new patent attorney.Further Analysis
Like Bird & Bird, JD has opted for a mixed approach with a well-positioned litigation practice and strong prosecution practice for much longer than other law firms. The latter practice raised its patent attorney headcount. Both filing and litigation centre on international biotech and pharmaceuticals companies. The team has an asset in the close ties to offices in the global firm network, as JD litigated in a host of pharmaceuticals proceedings in various countries. The German litigation team is also active in proceedings involving mechanics or engineering patents. Mobile communications is still uncharted territory, although increasing car connectivity could be to JD’s advantage, as the patent attorney team boasts notable international auto suppliers as clients.
The patent prosecution team of this IP boutique is one of the most visible Munich outfits and files a large number of patents at the German Patent and Trademark Office. For its predominantly German client base the firm files a large number of priority applications, and European filing is also on the increase. One very important client is Liebherr – both for filing and litigation. Besides activity for many innovative Mittelstand companies, LSG’s work for a number of international corporates is visible in the market. The patent attorneys around Laufhütte also conduct infringement proceedings for regular clients. Pre-litigation advice is provided to the auto industry. The lawyers also master the field of patent litigation, as shown by major mobile communications proceedings for regular client O2/Telefónica. The combination of a strong client base in the auto industry and mobile communications know-how is a good basis for the hot topic of connected cars and more visibility in patents as a litigation firm.
With a large prosecution practice and a litigation team that is gaining momentum, Maiwald is striving for the top of the market. Its mixed approach works smoothly, a result of the new management structure. Maiwald enhanced its lawyer branch two years ago to attract more litigation work. With Stief, the lawyers have since been prominently represented in the partnership and management. His huge rise in visibility was also key here. Maiwald was thus able to absorb the loss of partner Mayer. Both professional groups are now extremely visible in pharmaceuticals proceedings. So it is almost like old times, when the firm was seen as a pharmaceuticals boutique. But the initial impression is deceptive, because the prosecution practice has long had great technical breadth. Prosecution clients like Huawei and Intel could act as door openers to mobile communications cases. Raising the lawyer headcount in Düsseldorf would be a logical next step in the enhancement of the litigation team and in view of the UPC.
From its hub in Düsseldorf, this firm most visible for its prosecution work took major steps towards expansion. In close succession, MHP opened offices in Essen and Frankfurt to better serve the Ruhr Valley and southwest markets. These new launches have yet to lead to success, but their addition means MHP grew by four patent attorneys, some from within its own ranks and some who were laterals from industry. There were, however, two departures to in-house. The client structure remains unchanged: MHP files priority applications for a large number of regular clients from a wide variety of sectors. The firm files European patents for international companies to a lesser extent. The patent attorneys’ litigation work is increasing within existing client relationships, though local competitor Cohausz & Florack is still a step ahead.Further Analysis
This pure patent attorney firm has a well-positioned midsized prosecution practice. P&P is particularly active for auto suppliers. So it is only logical that P&P is involved in the first proceedings regarding connected cars before the German courts, for Texas Instruments on the side of the Audi/VW co-litigant. As in this case, extensive filing work often gives rise to busy litigation activity for regular clients.
This IP firm remains one of the most visible prosecution outfits in Munich. The firm is remaining true to its strategy as a pure patent attorney firm and works within a broad technical spectrum. Because of their activity for originators, the patent attorneys enjoy an excellent reputation for pharmaceuticals litigation, but also work for generics manufacturers. Although they are experienced in litigation and file many global patents for LG (one of the highest profile mobile communications manufacturers), the patent attorneys hardly appear at all in mobile communications proceedings. This harbors further potential, which the cautiously growing firm can tap by transferring its litigation expertise from pharmaceuticals to the electronics and communication team.
In the past year, this IP firm, which boasts a large team and files many patents, demonstrated for the first time that its extensive prosecution activity harbors huge potential for much more litigation work for the patent attorneys and lawyers. VJP is playing a central role in the first series of proceedings involving the hot trend of connected cars with a large patent attorney team, who are fighting for Audi/VW alongside litigation experts from Kather Augenstein. The firm’s initial experience from mobile communications proceedings for NPEs like NMS, as well as close ties to the semiconductor and auto industry, came in useful here. The strong starting position for this crucial growth area in patent litigation could also pay dividends before the UPC. The firm’s strength in the electrical engineering and auto industry, and excellent Asian links (own office in Singapore) as well as the Düsseldorf office, which recently hired a patent attorney, also make a good basis for the UPC. This could be even better if VJ&P manages to position its own team of lawyers in more major proceedings. The firm saw some staff changes, with two partner departures, six internal partner appointments and one lateral move across all technical specialties.
This Munich IP firm has a midsized filling practice with a high proportion of international clients. W&W has been increasing its activity for regular clients, who are filing more patents, for some time and has now added companies from the Mittelstand and the startup scene to these. The patent attorneys also litigate in a broad technical spectrum. If the patent attorneys would step up activity to position themselves as litigation specialists for certain sectors, as Samson & Partner has managed in mobile communications, they could generate more attention. The best-known litigation client is Sram, for whom W&W is fighting a bicycle components case, together with Klaka.
A Hamburg patent attorney firm chiefly noted for its midsized filing practice, which is one of the most active in north Germany. Many notable north German companies and some globally active corporates feature on the client list. Hauck appears increasingly often for its Mittelstand clients in opposition and nullity suits. The patent attorneys only occasionally conduct infringement proceedings and then always alongside external lawyers.Further Analysis
This Munich IP firm operates a very active filing practice for a balanced client list of international corporates like Honda and Sony as well as numerous German Mittelstand companies. Huawei is another key client for whom the firm conducts many opposition and nullity suits. The patent attorneys stepped up activity for the Chinese company in infringement proceedings. This is the field in which Mitscherlich made the most progress, as it also worked for Nespresso in its epic coffee capsule battle against ECC.
This Hamburg IP boutique mainly works for companies from the pharmaceuticals, biotech and chemicals sectors in filing and opposition suits. Such notable companies as Monsanto and ExxonMobil are regular clients. Long-standing connections to Presspart gave rise to work for its subsidiary H&T. But the continuity in client relationships contrasted with staff fluctuation. Uexküll lost a partner accomplished in the chemicals sector, Wiegeleben. Two patent attorneys experienced in mobile communications already left last year. Staying attractive to younger partners will be the key to mastering the potential challenges brought by the UPC. After all, with its vast litigation experience in the pharmaceuticals sector, Uexküll is actually well set for the European court.
This mixed IP firm is established in Munich with a broad prosecution practice. The patent attorneys also boast a good reputation in disputes. While the pharmaceuticals and biotechnology practice puts in a strong appearance at the EPO for opposition suits and appeal proceedings, the mechanics team is very active in nullity suits and infringement proceedings for the auto industry. Traditional litigation between auto parts suppliers predominates. The team has yet to appear in the connected cars suits, but given its excellent sector ties this should just be a matter of time. Litigation practice growth suffered a setback with the move of partner Neels to Ampersand. Other mixed firms like Meissner Bolte or Vossius show a more united front with mixed teams of patent attorneys and lawyers experienced in litigation. The patent attorney team brought in associate laterals from other firms.
The patents team at this mixed Stuttgart firm is best known for prosecution work and praised by competitors as being “highly competent and reliable”. The outfit is far more visible for international corporates than others in the region. Besides regular clients Sony, Boeing and Qiagen, a number of US companies trust in WWP. The firm also often litigates for its clients, e.g. for Sony in the nullity suit over a digital book against an NPE. In infringement proceedings, the patent attorneys often operate on the side of large law firms with strong roots in southwest Germany.
Its close ties to Samsung are what get this Munich IP firm noticed most of all. Whenever the Koreans conduct patent litigation in Germany (mostly as the defendant), Z&P’s patent attorneys are the first choice, e.g. against NPEs Fipa and Unwired Planet. But the patent attorneys showed that they can handle more than mobile communications suits with work for Saint-Gobain in a classic dispute over painting technology. Ultimately, the busy litigation activity is based on a technically broad prosecution practice, though Z&P does not serve the life science sector as intensively as mobile communications and IT.
Like so many Munich patent attorney firms, with its midsized filing practice B&R is best known for its prosecution work for a strong international client base. The patent attorneys also run a renowned litigation practice with various technical specialties, incl. electronics and mobile communications patents. So it comes as no surprise that its best-known client is Google, to whom B&R mostly provides prosecution. In litigation, the patent attorneys have long been active for Nichia and always bank on good, but non-exclusive connections to selected firms like Taylor Wessing.
This Stuttgart full-service firm is best known for its strong filing practice. Activity traditionally focuses on the regional auto supply industry as well as German and international engineering. Prosecution work is giving rise to more disputes, where the patent attorneys are active alongside the BRP lawyers, e.g. for Item regarding aluminium profiles for exhibition stand construction. Despite the rise in proceedings, the patent team’s litigation work is not really registered yet in the market.Further Analysis
This Berlin IP firm is one of the strongest filing firms in east Germany, whose patent attorneys have carved out a strong presence in infringement proceedings over recent years. Excellent ties to Asian companies – with its own offices in Beijing and Yokohama – play a large part in this. Chinese mobile communications manufacturers feature heavily in the current client list. G&P used its showpiece instruction Haier against Sisvel – where the Federal Court of Justice (Bundesgerichtshof) is expected to make a precedent ruling on the FRAND issue at the end of 2018 – to position its own lawyers in infringement proceedings. The well-prepared retirement of the firm’s best-known patent attorney, Jürgen Hengelhaupt, was a certain turning point. In response to this, G&P appointed another patent attorney to partner.
This IP firm has an excellent reputation as a prosecution outfit in Frankfurt and the surrounding area. The patent attorneys are also active for regular clients in opposition and nullity suits. K&S recently grew by several patent attorneys, partly due to the merger with Frankfurt firm Dr. Knoblauch. Dr. Andreas Knoblauch brings experience in mechanics and electronics patents. His regular clients include ASC Telecom, Danfoss and Karl Mayer Textilmaschinen. The work of K&S itself is heavily characterized by filing for long-time clients from the engineering, mechanics, chemicals and chemical engineering sectors. K&S conducts infringement proceedings with both its own lawyers and external litigators, but its visibility cannot compete with that of the Düsseldorf or Munich firms. This may change after the merger with Dr. Knoblauch with the new clients this brings. The greater focus on Chinese work pushed by a patent attorney with a Chinese background harbors further potential.
From Berlin, this pure patent attorney firm operates a well-regarded prosecution practice for mostly Mittelstand clients, who were recently joined by some major international corporates like Google. But the firm’s hallmark is litigation in mobile communications patents on the industry side. All of the patent attorneys now provide litigation. Some, like Baumgärtel, boast vast experience with SEP suits and FRAND aspects for defendants. Work for HTC and Vodafone – always alongside external lawyers – is known throughout Germany. M&N broke new ground with its first litigation for LG and Google in NPE suits. Its deep roots among auto suppliers mean that the firm could also play a significant role in future proceedings involving connected cars.
This midsized patent attorney firm is a well-known, midsized filing practice with broad technical expertise. This work is flanked by busy litigation activity in mobile communications patents, where Emmerling’s close ties to Huawei – probably the company against which the most action is being taken in Germany at present – are an asset. P&P also files many patents for Huawei, though it has to share the work with other firms. The team lost an experienced counsel to Hogan Lovells and a patent attorney went to a British patent attorney firm. The firm has frequently struggled with staffing changes of late, an indication that it lacks modern structures. It is a declared goal to introduce these to cope with the huge growth overall (by seven patent attorneys) and offer young patent attorneys prospects. The firm is struggling to make progress in building up its own litigation department with lawyers. But the lawyers’ involvement in litigation for Huawei could be an important step.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.