JUVE Patent

Grünecker – Germany 2020

Rankings:

JUVE Comment

In addition to the market-leading patent attorney practice of this mixed IP firm, the well-positioned team of lawyers is getting into gear in major litigation. The latter is still active for Broadcom/Avago in connected cars suits. After an initial series of cases against VW was settled, it stepped up its game for Broadcom with another case against BMW and therefore remains at the centre of disputes over connectivity in the auto industry. At the same time, the Broadcom suits are a clear sign of the increasingly successful cooperation between patent attorneys and lawyers. Clients from the automotive and chip industry have long entrusted the firm with patent filing, a fact that will pay off for the long term for the patent litigation team. Grünecker traditionally conducts proceedings with mixed teams within a broad range of sectors and technologies, e.g. for Arcelik concerning fridges, for Longi regarding solar technology and for Hytera concerning BOS radio technology. The patent attorneys are also active in opposition and nullity suits. Although frequently representing companies from the life sciences sector in oppositions, Grünecker’s prosecution practice is less active in the pharma sector than competitors Hoffmann Eitle or Vossius. This makes it difficult for the lawyers to gain a foothold in litigation over pharma patents. In the comparison with Vossius it is also noticeable that Grünecker is expanding its lawyer team less emphatically, for instance through laterals, instead seeking to grow organically with its own talent. But there are no further partners in sight in the short term. These are necessary as the lawyer litigation team is still too small, with just two partners, to handle more cases of Broadcom’s calibre. Unlike competitors Vossius or Bardehle, Grünecker is deliberately foregoing an office in Düsseldorf and therefore a stronger presence at Europe’s most important patent court.

Strengths

Well-positioned pan-European prosecution team. Patent prosecution and litigation related to electronics, mechanics and software. Litigation over semi-conductors and connected cars.

European strategy

The firm wants to manage its international presence by itself. With its mixed litigation team and established Munich and Paris offices Grünecker has very strong foundations for a good presence in cross border as well as in UPC cases, if the new court ever launches. But with stronger international relationships, especially to UK and Dutch firms, the litigation team could strengthen its position when big-ticket cross-border litigation is awarded. With more disputes like those for Broadcom, however, it will attract the attention of international law firms for cooperation. Stronger visibility in Düsseldorf could help. But an office there is currently not on Grünecker’s agenda, unlike for competitors Vossius and Meissner Bolte.

Recommended individuals

Bernd Allekotte (“he has incredible judgment, we have been very successful with him”, client), Ulrich Blumenröder. Patent attorneys: Martin Aufenanger, Moritz Höffe (“very good work”, client), Reinhard Knauer, Thomas Schuster (“extremely reliable and experienced”, client), Heike Vogelsang-Wenke

Team

90 patent attorneys, 9 lawyers

Specialties

All-round IP activity, incl. copyrights, trademarks and unfair competition. Clear focus on technical protection rights with a broad technical spectrum. Opposition and nullity suits and infringement proceedings with mixed teams.

Clients

Litigation: Broadcom/Avago (claimant) against BMW and Daimler over connected cars; Longi (defendant) against Hanwa Q-Cells over solar technology; Hytera (defendant) against Motorola Solutions over BOS radio technology, e.g. for police; Arcelik (defendant) against LG Electronics over fridges (all public knowledge); Eurofilters against competitor over vacuum filter. Prosecution: filing and some oppositions for Fuji, Globalfoundries, Krones, Lear Corp., Microsoft, Nissan, Panasonic, Rockwell, Samsung, Tyco, Yamaha.

Location:

Munich, Berlin, Cologne