The patent practice of this international full-service firm is strongly positioned but has a rather untypical setup for a German litigation team. Alongside infringement proceedings, the pure lawyer team is taking on more and more nullity suits at the Federal Patent Court, as well as EPO oppositions – usually the domain of patent attorneys in Germany.
The team is active, for instance, for Harman and Aptiv in nullity suits against Broadcom/Avago, having already represented the two communications module suppliers as co-defendants of BMW and Daimler in high-profile infringement suits over connected cars, which have now been settled.
But work centres on patent infringement claims, where clients come from a wide array of technical fields. The team brought its many years of experience defending against SEP suits into play for US computer accessories manufacturer Belkin in the dispute against Philips. DLA frequently activates its international network. It litigated for the first time for Honeywell, a regular client of the US practice that now banks on DLA for patents in multiple jurisdictions, including Germany and the UK.
The strides made in terms of new clients also continued with regard to building the associate base. Still somewhat in the shadows of the Munich practice, which focuses on high-tech litigation, the Cologne team led by Philipp Cepl is carving out a specialty for litigation in pharma and medical product proceedings. For example, another medical technology company joined the client list alongside long-standing clients Medtronic and Beckton Dickinson. The team also saw its first instructions for a pharmaceutical wholesaler in an entitlement action against an international pharma corporation.
Mobile communications and connected cars litigation on the implementor side, including revocation cases without external patent attorneys.
Although boasting a well-regarded German practice in Munich and Cologne, as well as a growing team in London and a new team in Paris, DLA Piper’s European practice is yet to expand its visibility as an integrated European team. Cross-border cooperation in litigation is still comparatively rare, competitors like Hogan Lovells are much further ahead. Yet the international network harbours much potential and the German practice already has excellent connections to some Californian tech companies.
DLA’s European practice would be the ideal port of call for the firm’s regular US clients, a fact exemplified by Honeywell, which now banks on the European team for proceedings in the UK and Germany thanks to a referral from the US practice. DLA also won a pitch for a Chinese electronics manufacturer for advice on SEPs in the US and Europe.
The firm continues to expand its continental practice. Paris has been the blank spot in DLA Piper’s continental offering, but with the acquisition of a larger IP team that also has patent expertise, the firm is now preparing to close this gap.
DLA also has smaller, but well-established offerings in Brussels and Milan. This means that the firm now offers an equally broad range of services for cross-border cases and the UPC, like Simmons & Simmons and Allen & Overy. But DLA Piper is some way behind their pan-European market visibility. The firm is addressing the issue by increasingly pitching with international patent teams.
Markus Gampp (“increasingly visible, does a good job”, “very good quality, pragmatic”, competitors), Burkhard Führmeyer (“very experienced, always calm, problem solver”, competitor), Philipp Cepl
2 partners, 2 counsel, 6 associates
Patent infringement and nullity suits with a broad technical spectrum. SEP and FRAND cases, including antitrust advice. Transaction advice, R&D, licensing contracts and trademarks and unfair competition.
Litigation: Belkin (defendant) against Philips over SEP for wireless chargers; Extreme Networks (defendant) against Orckit IP over network technology; Harman (claimant) in nullity suit against Broadcom/Avago over connected cars patents; Aptiv (claimant) in nullity claim against several of Broadcom’s car patents; Ardagh Group (co-defendant) against Bound2B over resealable opening for beverage cans; HP (claimant) against competitors over toner cartridges; Medtronic (claimant) against Henan Tuoren over surgery technology; Nike (claimant) against imitator over sports clothing.