The litigation team of this full-service firm is best positioned in Düsseldorf, where its technical breadth is an asset in litigation. This is the result of ties among Mittelstand companies from a variety of sectors. It is not unusual for such clients to come from throughout the EU thanks to cooperation with firms in the international WSG network. The firm often conducts proceedings for Mittelstand companies as plaintiffs involving highly specialised technologies, e.g. for the French medical product manufacturer EchoSens. For the first time, the Heuking team is also involved in a major mobile communications suit for Swissphone. While litigation for medical technology manufacturers made headway, pharma proceedings still only play a minor role. The lawyers have been following a new path, however, in what were traditionally fields of advice for patent attorneys: for the first time, the team filed two utility patents for a special machine manufacturer. In addition, Anton Horn successfully filed suit in Germany against the teff patent: the Dutch Port V.O.F. had patented the ancient African food in Europe, which led to protests in Africa. Although the teff case was pro bono, it marks the team’s entry into nullity suits without external patent attorneys. This is a road that other law firms like Quinn Emanuel took long before Heuking. Heuking has no ambitions to integrate patent attorneys into the firm.
Litigation for Mittelstand clients, advice on know-how protection.
The cooperation within the international WSG network gives the patent team a good basis for cross-border work and for a potential UPC launch, especially when it comes to advising midsized clients in multinational proceedings. The Heuking team is currently benefitting hugely from the well-oiled network. Much of its caseload, such as the EchoSens cases, stem from this. Currently the partner firms are staying loyal to the network. But as far as high-end litigation is concerned, these ties are less helpful, as proceedings mainly take place in two jurisdictions rather than across Europe.
Anton Horn (“conducts his work in a highly structured manner”, competitor)
1 equity partner, 1 salary partner, 2 associates
IP work focuses slightly more on trademarks and unfair competition than technical protection rights. Infringement and nullity suits, know-how protection, licensing contracts and transaction advice.
Litigation: Swissphone (claimant) against Selectric for emergency call system for fire brigade; Brødrene Hartmann (claimant) against Omni-Pac and Huhtamaki over egg cartons; CeramOptec (claimant) against Lightguide Optics over laser technology; Sisgrass over surface for sports grounds; Echonens (claimant) against Hisky over medical ultrasound devices; Egger (defendant) against Rehau over digital print for furniture parts; Anton Horn (claimant) against Port V.O.F on nullity suit over teff patent.