Once again the German team of this US firm confirmed its status as a leading outfit in litigation. A large team around Grosch conducted the European part of the global patent battle over semiconductors for Qualcomm against Apple, which ended in a settlement in early 2019. In the current dispute over connected cars patents, the firm represents Daimler against suits from Broadcom, Nokia and Sharp. In order to handle two such prestigious cases the team had to double its size and appoint a counsel in Munich with experience in mobile phone suits to salary partner. This closed a gap in the practice left by a partner in 2017. The two cases demonstrated once more that Grosch is the team’s central figure, though the firm has another highly renowned litigator in its ranks in Bukow. The partner ranks are still too thin, however, and so despite being very successful, the team can only compete with market leaders such as Hogan Lovells and Bird & Bird to a limited degree. Although they are on a par in mobile communication suits, QE does not come close in other technical fields. The firm is making progress in the pharma sector, where it recently advised two heavyweights in Pfizer and Merck. For years, QE has handled nullity suits and EPO appeals without the involvement of patent attorneys, and this makes it stands out from the rest of the market.
Litigation related to telecoms. Opposition and nullity suits by lawyers. Strong US practice.
The major battle between Qualcomm and Apple has impressively illustrated how well QE transfers major cases to across the Atlantic in order to try them before the German courts. As an exceptionally strong litigation practice in Mannheim and Munich and with a good presence at Düsseldorf patent court, QE is well set for those battles as well as for the potential UPC launch. In addition, QE has an office in Hamburg focusing on soft IP. The firm has chosen not to have a comparably strong patents team in Paris but strengthened its presence in London with a senior associate hire from Bird & Bird. But still QE’s strategy is based on Grosch’s extremely strong visibility and the preeminent US practice. Most competitors are not convinced that this strategy will suffice to match up to Hogan Lovells or Bird & Bird when cross-border cases are assigned.
Marcus Grosch, Johannes Bukow
2 equity partners, 1 salary partner, 2 counsel, 19 associates
In Germany, IP activity centres on patent litigation. Also cancellation proceedings, opposition and nullity suits and infringement proceedings. In Hamburg, soft IP and antitrust on the interface with patents.
Litigation: Qualcomm against Apple; Google against Philips; BlackBerry against Facebook, Whatsapp; IP Bridge against HTC (all over mobile communications); Daimler against Broadcom, Nokia and Sharp over connected cars; Netflix against Broadcom over video streaming; Pfizer in entitlement action over antibody; Bio-Rad against 10X Genomics over gene sequence analysis; Välinge against OneFlor over floor coatings; Allison against Cybex over children’s car seats; chemicals concern in nullity suits. Advice: Merck in connection with biosimilar suit.
Mannheim, Munich, Stuttgart