Hoyng ROKH Monegier launches patent attorney practice in Düsseldorf

For the first time, the German practice of Hoyng ROKH Monegier is integrating patent attorneys into its make-up. Life sciences expert Tung-Gia Du will join as counsel on 1 April from Bird & Bird, meaning the international IP boutique will have its own patent attorneys in all three important jurisdictions: Germany, France and the Netherlands.

24 February 2023 by Mathieu Klos

Hoyng ROKH Monegier, patent attorney Düsseldorf is the focus of Hoyng ROKH Monegier's life sciences practice, which has now been strengthened with two patent attorneys. ©shokokoart/ADOBE STOCK

From April, life sciences patent attorney Tung-Gia Du (49) is set to join Hoyng ROKH Monegier from Bird & Bird. He joined the firm in August 2012, and became counsel in 2018. Du began his career two years earlier at Maiwald in Munich, where he also completed his training as a patent attorney.

He is a trained biologist, previously working for German pharmaceutical and medical devices company B. Braun Melsungen, for example, in EPO oppositions over IV catheters.

At Hoyng ROKH Monegier, Du will be stationed in Munich but will work closely with the Düsseldorf team led by Christine Kanz, which is where the firm’s life sciences team has its main focus. Last year, the firm strengthened its team here with associate Carolin Wollschlaeger (33). Also a biologist, she focuses on the life sciences sector and previously spent three years working for the Düsseldorf patent attorney firm, König Szynka Tilmann von Renesse.

Hoyng ROKH leading firm

Both patent attorneys will work exclusively in infringement and validity proceedings. Christine Kanz, partner in Hoyng ROKH’s Düsseldorf office, emphasised, “We do not intend to file patents or other technical property rights.”

She says, “The background to this strategic decision is our strong growth in the life sciences group. The increasing importance of opposition and revocation cases in the life sciences sector and, last but not least, the launch of the Unified Patent Court have also prompted us to take this step.”

Hoyng ROKH Monegier

Christine Kanz

Hoyng ROKH Monegier is considered one of the leading litigation firms in Germany, with a strong focus on mobile communications as well as life science patents on the side of research-based companies.

Life sciences only

Currently, the life sciences team’s most prominent instruction is probably its litigation for BioNTech against Moderna and CureVac. In these cases, however, the team works with Zwicker Schnappauf & Partner. The Munich-based patent attorney firm is considered BioNTech’s go-to law firm.

Hoyng ROKH Monegier is initially limiting its patent attorney practice in Germany to life sciences patents. In the mobile communications sector, it has very close relationships with patent attorney firms such as Samson & Partner.

It works with the latter for Apple and Intel, for example. There is also close cooperation in other areas, for example for Hanwha Q-Cells concerning solar systems and for Heckler & Koch regarding assault rifles.

Together with Dreiss & Partner, Hoyng ROKH is working for Philip Morris in a dispute with British American Tobacco over e-cigarettes.

Full approach

The addition of the two patent attorneys means Hoyng ROKH’s German team has now grown to seven partners, two counsel and 14 associates. The firm has offices in Düsseldorf, Mannheim and Munich.

The move in Germany completes the firm’s mixed setup in Europe as a whole. Hoyng ROKH has long had a patent attorney practice in its Amsterdam office. The patent attorneys not only work with the litigators in patent disputes, but also file extensive patent applications. In Paris, too, the firm has recently started to build up a mixed litigation practice. Similar to the German team, two patent attorneys work here with a focus on life sciences disputes.

Following Hoyng ROKH Monegier’s decision to establish a mixed litigation team, three of the five top German litigation teams now work with their own patent attorneys. The other two, Bird & Bird and Hogan Lovells, had taken this step long before. On the other hand, Wildanger Kehrwald Graf v. Schwerin & Partner operates as a pure law firm, whereas Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan also refrains from integrating patent attorneys. However, its lawyers are very active in nullity suits and EPO oppositions.

Of the extended circle of leading German litigation firms, Bardehle Pagenberg has used mixed litigation teams since the 1970s. The other leading practices are pure lawyer teams.