The mixed team at this German full-service firm is well set to litigate for its core SME clientele. The firm represents companies from a broad technical spectrum, including CeramOptec, EnerDry and Egger, before the German courts, and is occasionally involved in their pan-European litigation as well. Within the firm, the patent litigation team around Anton Horn frequently adds clients from other practices, such as tax, to its client list.
This year, the practice strategically opened up to providing mixed technical and legal litigation support by bringing in a patent attorney experienced in AI. Other comparable national full-service firms remain closed off to this strategy as they fear too many conflicts of interest with a patent prosecution practice. Heuking has even begun to grow this patent attorney team already with a Chinese electrical engineer.
For Heuking, building technical expertise seems to be a suitable way to better harness the synergies with numerous other practices. This will enable the firm to address its SME clients’ challenges more effectively, especially in patent protection for AI applications. But the patent team will have to bring in additional technical experts.
Litigation for SMEs, 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 SMEs in multinational proceedings. The Heuking team is currently benefitting hugely from the well-oiled network, as demonstrated by the addition of genOway (CRISPR/Cas patents) to the client list. However, the patent team also maintains good contacts with other patent litigators, for example in France.
The fact that the firm is gaining its first experience litigating for clients in EPO oppositions and strategically opening up the team for the mixed approach by hiring a patent attorney are both steps with which it is getting set to represent its core SME client base before the UPC.
Anton Horn (“very efficient”, “very structured work”, both competitors)
5 lawyers, 1 patent attorney
IP work focuses slightly more on soft IP than technical protection rights. Infringement and nullity suits, know-how protection, licensing contracts and transactions advice. Small prosecution practice.
Litigation: CeramOptec (claimant) against Lightguide Optics over laser technology; Egger (defendant) against Rehau over digital printer for furniture parts; EnerDry (claimant) against BMA over drying plants for biomass; litigation for GenOway over CRISPR/Cas patents. Prosecution: Aixway3D, Divvoice.