The team of lawyers at this national full-service firm is very well established in the German patent market with two clear specialties. The Cologne team led by Jens Kunzmann and Kurt Bartenbach enjoys an outstanding position in employee invention law. In Munich, CBH has one of the best-known litigators for infringement proceedings and nullity suits in the shape of Stephan Gruber.
The team is currently conducting these for German technology corporates Schaeffler and Wacker Chemie. Much-lauded rising star and young Munich-based partner Hannes Jacobsen was very visible for Phoenix Contact against Harting involving industrial plugs. The case made legal history with a landmark ruling by the CJEU on German PI practice.
CBH is strongly anchored among companies from the automotive and chemicals industries overall. But despite strong relationships with auto suppliers, CBH cannot be found in the connected cars suits. The same goes for large mobile communications cases, where the firm’s international implementer connections, especially in the US and China, are too few. Work for NPEs would also appear to be ruled out given the team’s client structure for major international tech corporations in employee invention law.
There is potential for CBH to expand, however, in the life sciences sector. The Munich team recently took on the defence of a drugstore in a case involving a second medical use patent for an anti-aging component in sunscreen. The firm also has a mainstay in the medical products sector, with Heraeus and Siemens Healthcare among clients. This would make a good starting point for Jacobsen to raise CBH’s visibility in the highly litigious life sciences sector, especially when combined with the firm’s strong contacts to pharma giant Bayer arising from CBH’s advice on employee invention law.
Employee invention law for companies, infringement litigation, especially for the auto and chemicals industries.
CBH’s superb setup in employee invention law means it has an excellent client network of international corporations. In infringement proceedings, on the other hand, the team tends to serve a national client base that is strongly rooted in the technology sector and sues or is sued mainly at the German courts. The CBH team is rarely seen in pan-European series of proceedings. Nevertheless, lawsuits like those for Phoenix Contact against Harting or for Schaeffler against BorgWarner often have the intensity and scope of international series of proceedings. The ability to run such proceedings with a relatively small team compared to others in the market must now be transferred to UPC suits.
When it comes to UPC litigation, the focus will be on the German local divisions, especially Düsseldorf and Munich. The firm has an excellent network here thanks to its Munich and Cologne teams. For suits in Paris or other international UPC local divisions, CBH will have to build on its loose ties to local firms. If closer cooperation with firms from other countries or its own offices in foreign locations become a possibility after the UPC launches, the CBH team – as part of a national full-service firm – will have to coordinate with the other practices. This makes strategic decisions more complicated than in IP boutiques.
It is unlikely that CBH will take on its own patent attorneys, given the very close relationships – especially of the Munich team – with many German patent attorney firms.
Stephan Gruber (“profound knowledge of German case law”, “even the judges learn from him”, competitors), Jens Kunzmann, Martin Quodbach (“he very successfully represented us in an employee invention dispute”, client), Hannes Jacobsen (“very thorough, excellent understanding”, competitor)
6 partners, 4 associates, 1 of counsel
In IP, advice and litigation on trademarks, unfair competition and technical protection rights to an equal degree. Strong focus on employee invention law, infringement and nullity proceedings. Also licences, R&D contracts and transactions.
Litigation: Regularly for Heraeus, Magna, Siemens Healthcare, Voith Turbo, Wacker Chemie and a German electronics manufacturer; Phoenix Contact (claimant) against Harting in CJEU case over plug connectors; Hoyer (co-defendant of Lidl) against Vorwerk over Thermomix kitchen appliance; Schaeffler (both claimant and defendant) against BorgWarner over control valves (settled 2022); Avago (claimant) against Firecomms over opto coupling; BoschRexroth against inventor over compensation in connection with a company divestment to ZF Friedrichshafen; Bayer, Eberspächer, Phoenix Contact, Siemens, Thyssenkrupp and German transport company on patent and inventors’ law; BoschRexroth, Ford and Volkswagen on inventors’ law; flooring manufacturer (defendant) against competitor over laminate; drugstore (defendant) against Stada over second medical use claim concerning anti-aging component in sunscreen.