JUVE Patent

Rankings Germany 2022

Wildanger Kehrwald Graf v. Schwerin & Partner – Germany 2022

JUVE Comment

This IP firm is a market leader for patent litigation in Germany and conducted a large number of SEP and FRAND suits in the mobile communications sector simultaneously, but is visible in a variety of sectors and technologies thanks to its broad set-up.

Its partners, who are renowned across the board, remain very active for SEP holders, such as VoiceAge, CCC and K.Mizra. Peter-Michael Weisse, Jasper Meyer zu Riemsloh and Ole Dirks won a victory watched around the world for IP Bridge: a connected cars ruling from Munich Regional Court led Ford to enter into a global licence with the Avanci patent pool. The firm already played a central role before this in the first round of connected cars battles for Sharp and IP Bridge against Daimler.

Positioned squarely on the side of patent holders and NPEs, this success and Wildanger’s immense experience in SEP and FRAND matters could make it appealing for industrial companies looking to exploit standard essential patents. These have tended to be on the opposing side before now, as they were attacked by NPEs.

Despite the predominance of SEP suits, Wildanger’s actual strength lies in its broad-based litigation activity in pharma, medical technology and mechanics patents. For Ocado, the firm is involved in a global dispute over robot-assisted technology.

Another major event for the firm was the move of its two senior partners Wolf Graf von Schwerin and Roland Kehrwald to of counsel status. Both will only work on selected instructions from now on. Not many boutiques of this size have survived such a step by two renowned litigators at once. But Wildanger prepared for this by building up young partners Alexander Reetz and Dirks. The two senior partners’ clients (e.g. LG and Roche) were transferred to younger partners in good time.

Strengths

SEP and FRAND disputes mainly for NPEs in mobile communications. Litigation related to electronics, mechanics and pharmaceuticals.

European set-up

The Düsseldorf firm is most active in SEP and FRAND aspects in pan-European mobile communications battles for NPEs such as VoiceAge and CCC. Litigation for IP Bridge is also typically part of global litigation. The lawyers are used to working within the framework of international disputes in other technologies, too, though these are often coordinated by other foreign firms. The Wildanger partners worked closely with Powell Gilbert for Ocado over robot-assisted technology.

Wildanger is banking on its independence and close cooperation with European litigation firms such as Powell Gilbert in London or De Brauw in Amsterdam, though these are being wooed by many German competitors. With regard to pan-European patent and UPC disputes, Wildanger will have to consolidate its partnerships in European litigation to make a joint bid for cross-border cases in competition with the international teams of Bird & Bird or Hoyng ROKH Monegier. But the Wildanger partners will not give up their independence so quickly.

When it comes to the technical aspects of lawsuits, Wildanger opts for collaborations with independent patent attorney firms, instead of integrating its own patent attorneys. In the mobile communications actions for VoiceAge, CCC and K.Mizra, a very close relationship with Bosch Jehle emerged, which is likely to continue at the UPC. Another positive aspect is that the partnership has been constantly growing over the past few years, with the partners working on complex instructions in teams more regularly than other boutiques. This allows them to successfully handle a number of major proceedings at once, especially involving SEPs and FRAND issues.

Recommended individuals

Ole Dirks, Soenke Fock, Eva Geschke (“she has the highest standards for understanding the technology”, “leaves no stone unturned for her clients”, competitors), Roland Kehrwald, Jasper Meyer zu Riemsloh (“always dives deep into the technology, extensive experience in SEP suits”, competitor), Alexander Reetz (“highly versed expert, dedicated, writes strong briefs”, competitors), Wolf Graf von Schwerin (“very good”, competitor), Peter-Michael Weisse (“brilliant, not only when it comes to briefs but also in oral hearings”, competitor)

Team

7 partners, 6 associates, 2 of counsel

Specialties

Much litigation in mobile communications and pharma. Nullity suits and licences. Small trademarks and unfair competition team.

Clients

Litigation: IP Bridge and MiiCs (claimants) against Ford over connected cars patents (settled 2022); IP Bridge (claimant) against Opel over connected cars patents; IP Bridge (claimant) against TCL over LTE patents; VoiceAge EVS (claimant) against HMD, Honor, Oppo and Xiaomi over speech coding for mobile devices;Crystal Clear Codec (claimant) against Apple, Oppo and Xiaomi over speech coding for mobile devices; Netlist (claimant) against Micron over storage chips (all public knowledge); Hoccer (claimant) against Tinder over communications patent; Sharp (claimant) against Oppo over mobile communication patents; US chip manufacturer (co-defendant) against Intellectual Ventures over DSL patents (all public knowledge); K.Mizra (claimant) againt Niantic over ID services; K.Mizra (claimant) againt Samsung over technology for smart-battery management (both public knowledge); Ocado (claimant) against AutoStore over robot-assisted technology; Lavazza (claimant) against Sielaff and Beverich over coffee vending machines; ATT (claimant) against Volvo over car heaters; B. Krone (defendant) against Schmitz Cargobull over refrigerated-transport vans; Moreaux (claimant) against Airbus regarding inventor rights; medical product manufacturer over heart valves; Swiss pharmaceutical company (claimant) over antibodies; regular litigation for BSH, Henkel, Mylan/Viatris, LG, Roche/Genentech. Advice: biotech company on CRISPR/Cas patents.

Location

Düsseldorf