MFG hires former Isenbruck patent attorney to strengthen life sciences practice

Sandra Zinner joined the Munich patent attorney firm MFG on 1 December. This is the first time that the firm has strengthened its position in the life sciences sector. Up to now, MFG has focused on patents in electronics, IT and mechanics.

16 December 2022 by Mathieu Klos

MFG, Isenbruck, Sandra Zinner Sandra Zinner, who has a speciality in life sciences, has joined MFG in Munich ©dirkschiff/ADOBE STOCK

Before joining MFG Meyer-Wildhagen Meggle-Freund Gerhard, Sandra Zinner (41) worked in her own firm near Munich. At the beginning of 2021, she left the Munich office of Isenbruck Bösl Hörschler. At this time, several lawyers there had moved to Simmons & Simmons, leading Isenbruck to close its Munich office.

Zinner completed her application period at patent attorney firm Ruff Wilhelm Dauster in Stuttgart, moving to Isenbruck’s Munich office after her successful examination in 2013. Here, she gained experience in patent prosecution in life sciences and chemistry.

For example, she was part of the team led by Isenbruck and Taylor Wessing advising Japanese patent holder Shionogi on its patent dispute with Merck over compulsory licences for the HIV drug Isentress.

Sandra Zinner

A solo practice

At MFG, Sandra Zinner is the first patent attorney to advise on patents in the life sciences sector. The pure patent attorney firm has so far focused strongly on patents in the electronics, IT, telecommunications and automotive sectors. Sony, Konica Minolta and Volkswagen, for example, are clients of MFG.

With the addition of Zinner, the firm now employs six patent attorneys. Partners of the firm are Frank Meyer-Wildhagen, Till Gerhard and Martin Meggle-Freund, who are also patent attorneys.

The firm is also well-positioned in the Munich market for mobile communications cases. It regularly works in NPE suits involving SEPs and FRAND for Xiaomi and TCL. In 2021, the firm advised both companies on the defendants’ side in a dispute with VoiceAge EVS over speech codecs for mobile phones.

MFG also litigated for Xiaomi in a dispute with Sisvel over UMTS and LTE standards, as well as for TCL against MPEG LA over digital video-coding standard H.264. All disputes were settled in 2021.

From the ground up

The firm also litigates for companies over other technologies. An example is for Continental Grafix against Schmich in a nullity suit over technology for film systems. Network technology litigation and automotive litigation also play an important role. In infringement proceedings, the patent attorneys always work together with specialised litigators from law firms such as Noerr or Simmons & Simmons.

In the chemicals and pharmaceuticals sector, the firm will now have to build up its business. It will base this on its strong connections to Asia, as well as current overlaps with existing business areas. For example, it aims to focus on the chemical aspects of battery construction in the automotive industry.

UPC in view

For MFG, the hire of Zinner also broadens the patent attorney firm’s team and expertise in view of the impending launch of the Unified Patent Court.

Frank Meyer-Wildhagen, partner at MFG, says, “With Sandra Zinner, we are in a position to serve clients from all fields of technology, now also from chemistry and life sciences in granting proceedings and on the litigation side. We are thus strengthening our position in the market of patent attorney firms, especially with regard to the upcoming UPC.”

Patent attorneys are authorised to conduct litigation at the new court, although they must obtain a special litigation certificate. Thus, patent attorneys will likely handle many isolated revocation cases. When it comes to infringement cases, however, most patent attorneys want to conduct these together with lawyers. This is mostly for liability reasons.