Well-known patent litigator Tobias Wuttke moves from Meissner Bolte to Bardehle's Munich office. This is a first step towards a massive expansion of the patent litigation practice. Meissner Bolte reacted immediately to the departure by reorganising its litigation and prosecution department.
21 December 2022 by Mathieu Klos
Tobias Wuttke (46) brings with him extensive experience in mobile communications litigation. His most important client is Deutsche Telekom. Wuttke joins Bardehle Pagenberg as equity partner from Meissner Bolte on 1 January. He had moved from Quinn Emanuel to the mixed law firm Meissner Bolte in 2010, where he was instrumental in building up a separate patent litigation practice. In addition to German telecoms, his practice also includes mechanical and medical technology patents.
For example, he represented Belparts in a case against Belimo over pressure valve technology, as well as German discounter Netto in an intense battle against Envipco over a bottle deposit system and ITW against Madag Printing over packaging machines.
So far, JUVE Patent does not know which clients will follow Wuttke to Bardehle. However, it is very likely that Deutsche Telekom, a long-standing regular client, will be one of them.
For Wuttke’s old firm Meissner Bolte, his departure is a hard blow. The firm had built a successful litigation practice under the significant influence of its best-known litigator. Meissner Bolte is a medium-sized mixed firm with twelve offices in Germany. The patent practice currently employs 71 patent attorneys and 11 lawyers.
In recent years, Meissner Bolte has had some success in increasingly integrating patent attorneys and lawyers in patent litigation. However, the expansion of the lawyer team has met with mixed success. Two lawyers who were recruited for the Düsseldorf office have since left the firm.
Despite Wuttke’s departure, Meissner Bolte intends to continue with her mixed setup and strong litigation team. In a press release, the firm announced new partner hires. The firm hired Michael Nieder. Nieder is a highly experienced IP litigator and was most recently of counsel at his longstanding firm Klaka in Munich. He, however, does not join Meissner Bolte as a partner.
“The addition of Michael Nieder demonstrates our determination to further expand our patent litigation practice,” said Stefan Zech, managing partner of Meissner Bolte.
The firm’s litigation department is headed by lawyer Philipp Rastemborski together with patent attorney Florian Henke. Both partners belong to the younger generation, which has recently become more prominent.
In patent prosecution, Meissner Bolte also announced new additions. In Hannover, patent attorneys Joachim Gerstein, Rolf Kröncke and Constantin Günther are joining Meissner Bolte from Gramm Lins on partner level. A team of associates will follow them. The partners are also to strengthen the litigation expertise of their new firm. Gerstein, for example, has a focus on patent and design disputes and SEP disputes. He represented ZyXEL as co-defendant in a dispute between Intellectual Ventures against Telefonica. He also acted for Bury as co-defendant for Daimler against Nokia.
In Munich, patent attorney and biotech expert Lukas Bischoff has been promoted to the partnership. In Düsseldorf, Meissner Bolte announced the addition of a patent attorney on partner level. He is particularly active in software and IT patents. Further details have not yet been confirmed to JUVE Patent.
Bardehle is also growing its partnership internally, with Jan Bösing joining as of 1 January. He has been a salary partner in the Munich office since 2020 and is currently a member of the Bardehle team leading the active litigation for Oppo in the global battle with Nokia over mobile communications patents. He also accompanied TomTom as co-litigant for Daimler in the connected cars lawsuits brought by Nokia.
The expansion of the litigation team is to be seen in light of the expansion of Bardehle’s work in mobile communications lawsuits. The firm is currently involved in one of the largest lawsuits worldwide for Oppo against Nokia. It has been involved in connected cars patent litigation for several co-defendants of Daimler, as well as for several car brands from the Stellantis group. However, the new equity partners also represent a marked reinforcement against the backdrop of the UPC’s launch in June.
The firm relies on large litigation teams because of the very tight deadline regime for UPC proceedings. Bardehle had recently lost two partners. Peter Chrocziel left the partnership in Munich when he reached retirement age to set up his own firm Vindelici Legal. In Düsseldorf, Alexander Haertel recently moved to German mobile communications provider Deutsche Telekom. With the addition of Wuttke and Bösing the patent litigation team now counts five equity partners.
Bardehle has since announced further new additions.
Update 11.01.2023: At the beginning of 2023, Meissner Bolte saw another departure. The patent attorney and medical technology expert Manuel Soria Parra moved to the Munich office of the German-Swiss law firm Keller Schneider, where he joins as partner.
Soria Parra also has litigation experience. At Meissner Bolte he was part of a team representing Acandis in a dispute over stents against competitor Terumo. He also litigated for Humbaur against Pongratz over car trailers.
At Keller Schneider Soria Parra meets with former colleagues, as the firm hired a patent attorney from Meissner Bolte almost three years ago. The firm has offices in Bern, Zurich and Winterthur, as well as in Munich and Memmingen.
JUVE Patent updated this article on 11.01.2023 to reflect the latest developments.