This market-leading patent litigation practice had another outstanding year. HL is omnipresent in both mobile communications proceedings, where it litigated for four parties (Vodafone, Google, LG and ZTE) in the major dispute against Intellectual Ventures, and in the pharmaceuticals sector, with clients like Merck, Eli Lilly and Hoffmann La Roche. The German team is the powerhouse of the extremely strong European patents group. But apart from all the litigation success, the year was marked by strategic changes, both positive and negative. The tragic death of Dr. Martin Chakraborty in summer 2018 shocked the firm. He had long fought on the side of HTC and recently litigated for Vodafone against Intellectual Ventures. The sector also took note when the patents team, which is already large by comparison, appointed young litigators to partner again, one in Düsseldorf and one in Munich. The addition of a patent attorney experienced in mobile communications as counsel demonstrated what the market has long been watching closely: HL is building its own patent attorney team. Besides two dual-qualified partners, this now includes four other patent attorneys. They only support the litigation team with their technical expertise and do not file patents. The change at the top of the international IP practice from von Falck to soft IP lawyer and European managing partner Dr. Burkhart Goebel is another turning point. Competitors believe that the German team will thus have less influence within the European patents group – a scenario that would be quite feasible.
Strong international client base, large European patents practice, cross-border litigation, especially related to pharmaceuticals and telecoms.
HL is one of the few firms in Europe that helps shape the market situation at all relevant UPC venues. Only in Paris is its visibility dropping slightly. So HL’s starting setup for the UPC is excellent and it is about to outpace its main competitor Bird & Bird, as the team is managed more consistently and has more solid US connections. When it comes to building up a patent attorney practice, however, Bird & Bird is years ahead, as HL is only just getting started.
Dr. Andreas von Falck, Dr. Martin Fähndrich, Christian Stoll, Dr. Steffen Steininger, Dr. Clemens Plassmann, Miriam Gundt.
11 partners, 2 counsel, 22 associates, 1 of counsel (of whom 6 patent attorneys)
Litigation and strategic advice to an equal extent, incl. licences, know-how protection, employee invention law and transactions. Specialties in the pharmaceuticals and healthcare, medical technology, electronics, telecoms, engineering and auto sectors. Trademarks and unfair competition and advice on the interface with antitrust.
Litigation: frequently for Apple, Hoffmann La Roche, HTC, Medinol and Shimano; Nikon against Carl Zeiss SMT regarding semiconductor technology; LG against Fipa and Parker Vision; Vodafone, Google, LG and ZTE against Intellectual Ventures; Spotify and Dell against Sisvel (all regarding mobile communications, some public knowledge); Texas Instruments against Avago concerning memory chips; Merck against Shionogi concerning HIV drug; Eli Lilly regarding Alimta; Dainese concerning motorcycle protective clothing; Agilent regarding mass spectrometer.
Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Munich