Austria

A steady stream of lawsuits continues to pass through the country’s highly experienced courts, even if rights holders are showing increased caution over the cost of contentious action. While regional firms are a significant presence on the IP landscape, much of the country’s patent work is handled by smaller native set-ups, many of which will be hoping to win further briefs from the country’s growing technology start-up scene. Austria remains a relatively stable market, though the upcoming introduction of the Unified Patent Court (UPC) will require firms to be strategically sharp to contend with the increased competition that the new system will likely foster.

Firms: litigation and transactions

1
Gassauer-Fleissner Rechtsanwälte GmbH
GEISTWERT Rechtsanwälte
Schwarz Schönherr Rechtsanwälte KG
2
Baker McKenzie - Diwok Hermann Petsche Rechtsanwälte LLP Co KG
Schoenherr Attorneys at Law
Wiltschek Rechtsanwälte
Wolf Theiss
3
Fiebinger Polak Leon & Partner Rechtsanwälte GmbH
Salomonowitz Horak

Firms: prosecution

1
Beer & Partner Patentanwälte
Patentanwalt Kliment & Henhapel
Puchberger & Partner Patentanwälte
Schwarz & Partner
SONN & PARTNER Patentanwälte
Wildhack & Jellinek
2
Barger Piso & Partner
Haffner und Keschmann Patentanwalte OG
REDL Life Science Patent Attorneys
Baker McKenzie - Diwok Hermann Petsche Rechtsanwälte LLP Co KG
The Vienna base of global heavyweight Baker McKenzie offers a comprehensive suite of IP services with a multi-jurisdictional focus. Representation of a wealth of big-name companies in both contentious and transactional matters bears testament to its effortless cooperation with the firm’s other international outposts. In particular, close coordination with colleagues in Munich, London and Paris makes it ideally placed to take on new matters arising from the UPC. IT maven Lukas Feiler is a “very smart, clever guy” who judiciously guides patent owners through challenging terrain, with a particular focus on infringements. Co-heading the Vienna IP team alongside Feiler is IAM Patent 1000 debutante Martina Grama, who joined in April 2016, adding potency across the board.
Barger Piso & Partner
Domestic market stalwart Barger Piso & Partner has been helping clients to secure IP protection for well over a century. Expert knowledge of supplementary protection certificates (SPC) is a useful string to its life sciences bow, although it is best known for its prominence in the electronics field. Peter Israiloff has a firm grip on even the most technically demanding cases in this sector. Chemistry and mechanical engineering briefs are meat and drink to Werner Barger, who brings an invaluable 45 years of IP experience to the table.
Beer & Partner Patentanwälte
Beer & Partner has all bases covered when it comes to patent protection for clients both at home and abroad. Its four-strong squad of practitioners exudes experience when acting before the Austrian and European Patent Offices and as certified court experts. The technically astute Reinhard Hehenberger is held in high regard for his engineering prowess by clients and peers alike.
Fiebinger Polak Leon & Partner Rechtsanwälte GmbH
Intellectual property remains a stand-out practice area for mid-sized commercial law firm Fiebinger Polak Leon & Partner. A sophisticated understanding of clients’ business needs is key to its offering and has helped to attract instructions from a wide array of sectors, including media and software. Life sciences, however, is where the outfit really shines. A slew of pharmaceutical companies benefit from sage advice on SPCs, regulatory matters and portfolio management. The “smart and pragmatic” Karina Hellbert leads the life sciences department and comes highly recommended for her intuitive solutions to all manner of contentious, licensing and regulatory briefs.
Gassauer-Fleissner Rechtsanwälte GmbH
This “highly efficient” outfit remains a potent presence in the Austrian patent litigation space. The quality of its flagship IP practice is underlined by an inbox stacked full of referrals from a host of Europe’s biggest patent firms. A premier litigator whose “high standing is absolutely justified”, Christian Gassauer-Fleissner is a former president of the European Association of Patent Lawyers (EPLAW) and continues to earn glowing recommendations from all stakeholders. A “reliable, responsive and knowledgeable” litigator who dispenses “high-calibre, timely and cost-efficient” advice, Dominik Göbel excels in life sciences suits and disputes over financial claims relating to patents.
GEISTWERT Rechtsanwälte
GEISTWERT, which opened its doors in 2014, has swiftly cemented its status as one of Austria’s top boutiques. Clients value the direct partner connections on offer, while international law firms flock to the set for high-quality advice on multi-jurisdictional matters dispensed by its enterprising lawyers. “An outstanding Austrian patent litigator”, Constantin Kletzer “has an extremely quick apprehension not only of technical and legal arguments, but also of the client's needs and the economic impacts of strategic positions”. Rainer Schultes is “always in complete control, even when presented with tricky situations”. The adaptable Alexander Schnider can effortlessly handle all manner of briefs, but really sparkles on software and IT cases. The outfit has earned a stellar reputation for its transactional output; the technically gifted Max Mosing’s licensing mastery ensures that patent owners get the most out of their intellectual property. Raising the bar with her award-winning service, Juliane Messner brings further transactional expertise – she has “very strong business acumen and really tries to focus on the economic merits of each project. She is clear, precise and does not waste time”.
Haffner und Keschmann Patentanwalte OG
The 15-strong team at IP specialist Haffner und Keschmann effortlessly bridges the gap between technology, science and the law; its multilingual capabilities are a further boon for inventors seeking protection on the international stage. Clear, comprehensive, commercially attuned guidance is offered to companies of all shapes and sizes across a multitude of sectors, with its approach to each individual brief tailored to the patron’s specific needs. Marc Keschmann is the name for interested parties to reach out to.
Patentanwalt Kliment & Henhapel
Whether the client is an entrepreneurial individual or a mighty multinational, Kliment & Henhapel can provide the necessary tools and insight to build an impregnable IP defence. Its seasoned attorneys eschew a cookie-cutter approach in favour of developing flexible strategies to maximise patent potential. Having notched up some 20 years in the game, Bernhard Henhapel is also a sworn certified court expert; he is a sound selection for any case. Andreas Pfostl’s technical talent puts the firm one step ahead of the competition in the biotech arena.
Puchberger & Partner Patentanwälte
Clients consistently build “excellent mutual trust” with Puchberger & Partner and appreciate its extensive international network and rapid engagement on even the most complex of tasks. The firm has added to its lengthy list of mechanical engineering players – as well as increasing its presence in electronics and software – with its recent acquisition of patent attorney firm Casati & Itze’s portfolio. The set’s high standing in the chemistry and pharmaceutical sectors is largely down to the efforts of name partner Peter Puchberger, whose expert assistance in litigation is in hot demand. An “extremely knowledgeable, thoughtful and serious” professional who co-authored a respected publication on Austrian Patent Office proceedings, Andreas Gehring blazes a trail in the electronics and software fields.
REDL Life Science Patent Attorneys
Committed to securing cast-iron protection and extracting maximum value from industrial property, REDL Life Science commands a presence in the life sciences sector that belies its compact size. The full suite of strategic services are on offer, from filing and prosecution to portfolio management, financing and freedom-to-operate advice. Flying the flag for the team is owner Gerda Redl, a chemistry and biotechnology doyenne who has cultivated an extensive reciprocal global network and is a familiar face in trials as a court-appointed expert.
Salomonowitz Horak
Forward-thinking, client-focused boutique Salomonowitz Horak excels across the full spectrum of IP law. Patrons welcome the percipient, easily implementable advice furnished by its energetic attorneys, for whom the pursuit of practical solutions to all problems is the sine qua non. Quadrilingual name partner Sascha Salomonowitz is an authority on technology transfer and the first choice for many peers in the event of a conflict.
Schoenherr Attorneys at Law
Clients have the “highest respect” for commercial outfit Schoenherr, which is “very strong in all areas. Its lawyers are creative thinkers as well as excellent litigators – they are simply wonderful”. The IP group’s vast cumulative experience allows it to supply tailored advice informed by expert input from the firm’s top-class M&A, competition and regulatory teams. A network throughout Central and Eastern Europe also gives the firm envied multi-jurisdictional capacity. A partner at Schoenherr for over 40 years, Christian Hauer continues to fight on the front lines for global pharmaceutical players: “His pleadings are straight to the point and clear in their structure.” Guido Kucsko smooths the path to protection for Austrian and international clients alike. A master of transactions, licensing and litigation, he is also a prolific author who has contributed regularly to Austria’s most respected IP publications.
Schwarz & Partner
On both sides of the contentious/non-contentious divide, quality is key for the esteemed crew at Schwarz & Partner. Domestic clients benefit from the comprehensive coverage provided by outposts in Graz and Innsbruck, which support the Vienna HQ; while established connections in crucial East Asian markets prove invaluable for internationally focused rights holders. Founder Albin Schwarz knows the pharmaceutical industry inside out. His proficiency is readily exercised at the Commercial Court of Vienna, where he is an expert lay judge alongside Harald Nemec. A chemical engineering hotshot, Nemec makes light work of prosecution and infringement procedures, as well as employee invention disputes. With plentiful in-house experience under his belt, Herwig Margotti takes a holistic approach to cases – he is a safe bet for all things electrical engineering.
Schwarz Schönherr Rechtsanwälte KG
Intellectual property is a central pillar at commercial law firm Schwarz Schönherr, which has become a ubiquitous presence on the Austrian patent litigation scene. A personal approach, flexibility and prompt turnarounds are hallmarks of its service. Though active domestically and internationally in a range of areas, including electronics and mechanics, the firm makes its strongest mark in the pharmaceutical industry. Recent successes for Accord Healthcare in a case relating to its Quetiapine product and for Sandoz in a defence against preliminary injunction proceedings initiated by Roche underline its prowess in this domain. Heading up operations is the redoubtable Georg Schönherr. An “experienced, strong litigator”, he wins praise for his “extremely open-minded, responsive” style. “A perfect litigator – very knowledgeable, reliable and responsive”, Thomas Adocker has a knack for producing “flawless” writs. The life sciences specialist also has a bustling licensing and transactions practice; he recently did much to assist Pts Diagnostics with the complex acquisition of 4a medicom’s patent portfolio.
SONN & PARTNER Patentanwälte
SONN & PARTNER has long been at the top of the patent game, having begun helping clients to maximise the value of their industrial property way back in 1851. Its technically astute attorneys staunchly defend the rights of inventors of all stripes and provide valuable counsel throughout the patent lifecycle. President of the Austrian Chamber of Patent Attorneys Daniel Alge is “one of the top attorneys in the market”, whose “extremely practical approach” makes him a popular choice with clients. Assured handling of SPCs has won Peter Pawloy particular acclaim; he also has impressive experience in oppositions and appeals before the European Patent Office. Boasting inimitable wisdom garnered from 46 years of practice, Helmut Sonn is a walking encyclopaedia of patent law.
Wildhack & Jellinek
Wildhack & Jellinek’s specialised squad of attorneys delivers unwavering support for innovators from the embryonic stages of patent development through to representation in Austrian and European forums. An extensive international network also makes worldwide protection a breeze for rights holders. Praise abounds for “responsive team player” Andreas Wildhack, who “has unmatched technical expertise in the areas of biotechnology and pharmaceuticals. His down-to-earth approach makes him great to work with”.
Wiltschek Rechtsanwälte
Specialising in IP and EU law, Wiltschek provides an A-to-Z patent service across a wide spectrum of sectors. Its streamlined structure allows for maximum cost efficiency, with partners heavily involved on the front lines of cases. A pre-eminent figure in the Austrian market, Lothar Wiltschek has exhaustive knowledge of European law. A go-to for clients seeking guidance in the pharmaceutical field, David Plasser is “highly knowledgeable and an expert strategist” who splits his time between advisory work and litigation. IP all-rounder Katharina Majchrzak is a formidable force on employee invention cases.
Wolf Theiss
Central, East and Southeast European heavyweight Wolf Theiss pulls no punches when it comes to patent law; with 15 offices located throughout the region, its footprint in this corner is unmatched. Rights holders gravitate towards it for its creative approach to unusual cases; filament yarn producer Glanzstoff Austria and medical device kingpin B Braun Melsungen both recently benefited from this in litigation, although the firm’s offering also encompasses validity opinions, acquisitions, licensing and rights transfers. Leading the IP charge is Georg Kresbach, a specialist on multinational cases and “an excellent patent litigator who provides top-notch, concise legal advice”.

Luminaries

Christian Hauer - Schoenherr Attorneys at Law
Albin Schwarz - Schwarz & Partner
Helmut Sonn - SONN & PARTNER Patentanwälte

Individuals: prosecution

Daniel Alge - SONN & PARTNER Patentanwälte
Werner Barger - Barger Piso & Partner
Andreas Gehring - Puchberger & Partner Patentanwälte
Reinhard Hehenberger - Beer & Partner Patentanwälte
Bernhard P Henhapel - Patentanwalt Kliment & Henhapel
Peter Israiloff - Barger Piso & Partner
Herwig Margotti - Schwarz & Partner
Harald Nemec - Schwarz & Partner
Peter Pawloy - SONN & PARTNER Patentanwälte
Andreas Pfostl - Patentanwalt Kliment & Henhapel
Peter Puchberger - Puchberger & Partner Patentanwälte
Gerda Redl - REDL Life Science Patent Attorneys
Andreas Weiser - Weiser & Voith Patentanwälte Partnerschaft
Andreas Wildhack - Wildhack & Jellinek

Individuals: litigation and transactions

Thomas Adocker - Schwarz Schönherr Rechtsanwälte KG
Christian Gassauer-Fleissner - Gassauer-Fleissner Rechtsanwälte GmbH
Georg Kresbach - Wolf Theiss
Georg Schönherr - Schwarz Schönherr Rechtsanwälte KG
Lothar Wiltschek - Wiltschek Rechtsanwälte
Dominik Göbel - Gassauer-Fleissner Rechtsanwälte GmbH
Constantin Kletzer - GEISTWERT Rechtsanwälte
Guido Kucsko - Schoenherr Attorneys at Law
Sascha Salomonowitz - Salomonowitz Horak
Alexander Schnider - GEISTWERT Rechtsanwälte
Rainer Schultes - GEISTWERT Rechtsanwälte
Alexander Cizek - CIZEK | IP
Lukas Feiler - Baker McKenzie - Diwok Hermann Petsche Rechtsanwälte LLP Co KG
Martina Grama - Baker McKenzie - Diwok Hermann Petsche Rechtsanwälte LLP Co KG
Klaus Haslinger - Haslinger/Nagele & Partner
Karina Hellbert - Fiebinger Polak Leon & Partner Rechtsanwälte GmbH
Katharina Majchrzak - Wiltschek Rechtsanwälte
Juliane Messner - GEISTWERT Rechtsanwälte
Max W Mosing - GEISTWERT Rechtsanwälte
David Plasser - Wiltschek Rechtsanwälte
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Issue 85