It’s business as usual on the Austrian patent scene: filing activity remains healthy and practitioners enjoy a steady stream of work from domestic and international businesses across the contentious/non-contentious divide. Innovation in traditional sectors such as pharmaceuticals continues to boom and there has also been an uptick in the computer-implemented inventions space of late, leading to an increase in instructions for local prosecution firms. Meanwhile, the indications suggest that the Austrian government plans to do away with the traditional prosecution/litigation divide with a view to allowing patent attorneys and litigators to work together under one roof. While this initiative is by no means a certainty, the mere prospect has certainly created a buzz in the Austrian patent community.
Firms: litigation and transactions
- Gassauer-Fleissner Rechtsanwälte GmbH
- GEISTWERT Rechtsanwälte
- Schwarz Schönherr Rechtsanwälte KG
- Wiltschek Plasser Rechtsanwälte
- Wolf Theiss
- Baker McKenzie
- CERHA HEMPEL
- Salomonowitz Rechtsanwälte Attorneys at Law
- Schmidtmayr Sorgo & Wanke
- Highly recommended
- Puchberger & Partner Patentanwälte
- Schwarz & Partner
- SONN & PARTNER Patentanwälte
- Wildhack & Jellinek
- Beer & Partner Patentanwälte
- Patentanwalt Kliment & Henhapel
- REDL Life Science Patent Attorneys
A highly respected name on the domestic IP scene and further afield, Baker McKenzie’s Austrian patent contingent works hand in glove with its counterparts across the globe to deliver results seamlessly. The team is intimately familiar with the ins and outs of regional and international legal practices, making it an ideal partner for innovators looking to protect their assets both at home and abroad. Spearheading the group is the seasoned Lukas Feiler, whose meticulous attention to detail in enforcement and licensing matters is of great benefit to multinational software entities. Adroitly blending IP and unfair competition law know-how, Martina Grama grasps matters from every angle.
Beer & Partner Patentanwälte
Precision prosecution gives Beer & Partner an edge in the Austrian market. Clients appreciate its pragmatic, no-nonsense approach to patent protection and its ability to shepherd files through to grant with minimum fuss. With a flair for all things mechanical and almost three decades in the game, Reinhard Hehenberger has everything needed to navigate inventors through tricky patent office scenarios.
Compact, well-run firm CERHA HEMPEL offers an all-inclusive service with a boutique feel. Although it is best known for its trademark expertise, it has significantly bolstered its patent capabilities and has also started making waves in the transactions space. One example of this is its integral role advising gbtec Holding on the high-profile cross-border acquisition of software solutions company avedos GRC. The firm’s practitioners stand out for their strategic oversight in commercial settings – and none more so than Katharina Majchrzak, who has spent over a decade focusing on employee inventions. She regularly counsels in the biotechnology and life sciences spheres, and recently advised San Pacific Investments and Austrian entrepreneur Erich Erber on a shareholding sale of the ERBER group to Royal DSM.
A new entrant in the IAM Patent 1000 this year, the Austrian outpost of CMS is a vital cog in the firm’s extensive network spanning 43 countries worldwide; this enviable reach proves particularly expedient on multi-jurisdictional mandates. In Vienna, the practice is a discerning choice for patent infringement litigation and licensing briefs, courtesy of its granular understanding of SPC, SEP and FRAND issues. Leading the troop is Egon Engin-Deniz, who showcases his creative, commercially savvy instincts in cross-border disputes in the agro-pharma and electronics sectors.
“The entire DORDA team is extremely responsive: they treat every client as a top priority and take the time needed before acting swiftly.” Housing one of the largest IP squads in Austria, the firm has further enhanced its offering by establishing an interdisciplinary digital industries group that combines talents from diverse departments to best serve the needs of digital and technology heavyweights. Managing partner and all-rounder Axel Anderl guarantees smooth sailing from the get-go. “I love his industry knowledge and ability to make things happen,” enthuses one client. “Axel always ensures that the most skilled professionals are involved in each matter and that the case is handled efficiently.” He recently linked up with Bernhard Heinzl to assist Kriesel Electric – one of the world’s most innovative battery development companies – in licensing negotiations. Of Heinzl, a patron reports: “He is an approachable and hardworking patent attorney who you want on your side in cross-border cases.” The duo are also co-contributors to the first comprehensive commentary on Austrian patent law.
Gassauer-Fleissner Rechtsanwälte GmbH
The redoubtable Gassauer-Fleissner adopts a fearless approach to make-or-break pharmaceutical disputes and has become a prime destination for myriad originator companies as a result. It regularly joins forces with the best firms in Germany and the United Kingdom to design and coordinate the tightest of litigation strategies. A trusted partner to research institutes, Dominik Göbel “is well versed not only in patent law, but also in regulatory issues, and provides in-depth analyses of any given situation. He offers creative, well-thought-through solutions”. “As humble as he is brilliant, Dominik is the one to call when a case crops up in Austria.” Colleague Manuel Wegrostek likewise “delivers fantastic solutions. Some lawyers may worry too much about ruffling feathers, but Manuel’s ability to politely challenge has always been impressive – he is an essential tool in any effective litigation team”. Overseeing things with a hawkish eye is the eminent Christian Gassauer-Fleissner who garners effusive praise from peers: “Christian is a man who needs no introduction – everyone knows he is simply the best. He holds a very prominent position and is one of the most experienced patent litigators in the country.”
Trailblazer GEISTWERT is hailed as “a ground-breaking firm that has changed the face of the market. There is no other comparable set-up, where five innovative partners are all stars in the IP field”. “The firm works on a partner level, which gives clients utmost confidence in its super-clear results. Its response times are ultra-quick and its entrepreneurship allows the team to fully see and understand each company’s commercial goals.” Contentious firepower is provided in abundance by Alexander Schnider, Rainer Schultes and Constantin Kletzer. A “master strategist and logical thinker”, Schnider is “the ace up your sleeve when you need legal advice that is crucial to your business operations. The great thing about Alex is that there are no problems for him – only solutions. He sees right through the white noise and cuts to heart of any issue”. The “top-tier” Schultes has “profound knowledge of case law and very good technical understanding, and is extremely well prepared for each case – he dives straight to the point and never strays away from the subject matter”. Kletzer is also highly recommended: “Quick, sharp and efficient, he is a top choice.” Commercialisation specialist Juliane Messner “is an outstanding negotiator, an extraordinary practitioner and a great team player. Her business knowledge is incredible and she provides advice that hits core issues in a quick turnaround time”. Another active member in the transactional setting is Max Mosing, “one of Austria’s best deal makers. He is tough and has extremely broad legal knowledge, but stays gracious and calm, even in the most difficult situations”.
Patentanwalt Kliment & Henhapel
For over 80 years, Kliment & Henhapel has been resolutely focused on providing cost-effective IP protection and comprehensive guidance that is easily applied in a business context. The outfit exhibits remarkable range in tailoring its services to companies of all shapes and sizes across the industry spectrum. Austrian and European patent attorney Bernhard Henhapel has a rare affinity for all things mechanical. He is in high demand at the Austrian courts, where he provides concise yet thorough opinions that often contribute to national practice.
Puchberger & Partner Patentanwälte
Puchberger & Partner “delivers exceptional IP services at a consistently high quality”. The firm has spent more than a century turning domestic patent protection into a fine art; and having lately trained its attention on international horizons, it is fast becoming a trusted adviser to foreign clients too. Fuelling this momentum is Peter Puchberger, whose gravitas shines through in his position as a court-appointed expert and lay judge. “He provides quality commercial advice when formulating filing strategies and dealing with any objections from the patent office.” Colleague Georg Puchberger “quickly acquaints himself with the complex and legal aspects of a case, demonstrating unmatched expertise in patent infringement and cancellation proceedings”. An authority on computer-implemented inventions, Andreas Gehring recently contributed to a textbook on procedural law at the Austrian Patent Office along with Georg.
REDL Life Science Patent Attorneys
“One of the best firms in the biotechnology field, REDL Life Science Patent Attorneys is simply excellent.” Its superb strategic counsellors prove their worth time and time again on all manner of pharmaceutical instructions. The squad takes its cue from firm founder Gerda Redl, a prominent industry name with 20 years of both in-house and private practice under her belt. She works wonders on non-contentious briefs; while IAM Patent 1000 debutante and molecular biologist Manuela Loidl manages portfolios with a deft touch.
Salomonowitz Rechtsanwälte Attorneys at Law
Boutique Salomonowitz Rechtsanwälte Attorneys at Law may be smaller than some of its peers, but this has proved no obstacle to success. It forges deep and lasting relationships with patrons, has an intimate understanding of their needs at both a legal and business level, and comes up with creative ways to defend their interests. Namesake Sascha Salomonowitz is an “exceptional lawyer” who draws on two decades of experience to conjure up durable litigation strategies.
Schmidtmayr Sorgo & Wanke
A new addition to the Austrian listings this year is commercial outfit Schmidtmayr Sorgo & Wanke, which makes its debut in no small part due to the enthusiastic feedback garnered by IP division lead Alexander Koller. The shrewd adviser is a driver of dialogue among the IP sector and a sage counsellor to A-listers in the electronic, pharmaceutical and mechanical engineering sectors. “Alexander gives valuable advice and practical contributions in a way that makes for effective and enjoyable cooperation. He communicates clearly and has a fantastic ability to embrace a case, even in the most advanced stages – all while keeping existing case law at the forefront of his mind. This allows him to provide precise, specific and well-reasoned suggestions and an exceptional service.”
‘Innovation’ and ‘quality’ are the watchwords at Schoenherr, a firm which is in particularly hot demand for its contentious capabilities. It recently strengthened its offering by uniting its IP and technology groups and increasing overall headcount – moves which should further benefit its cutting-edge clientele. Guido Kucsko and Michael Woller run a tight ship and never lose sight of the bigger picture. The distinguished Kucsko – a veteran of some 30 years’ standing – has a poised courtroom demeanour that sets him apart from his adversaries. Woller is a sparkling communicator whose comprehensive technical knowledge translates into easily implementable guidance. Rounding off the team, the “detail-oriented” Dominik Hofmarcher is a rising star whose fine-tuned understanding of trade secrets has earned him a place in the IAM Patent 1000 this year.
Schwarz & Partner
Ascending to the highly recommended tier for 2021, Schwarz & Partner comes warmly endorsed for its prosecution proficiency, carefully thought-out filing programmes and judicious advice across the industry spectrum – although biotechnology and pharmaceuticals are fortes. Founder Albin Schwarz provides outstanding leadership to the team; while certified court expert Andreas Pföstl is a font of insight. Holding things down on the electrical engineering front is Herwig Margotti, a favourite of players in the automotive sector. Armed with a degree in chemistry, Harald Nemec can quickly get to grips with even the most complex portfolios.
Schwarz Schönherr Rechtsanwälte KG
A firm fixture on the Austrian market, Schwarz Schönherr “is one of the few boutiques that has accessible partners who deliver exceptional quality and have unmatched expertise in contentious patent, trademark and design matters”. It has carved a particular niche in the pharmaceuticals space, although no technology is off limits: as an example, the outfit recently successfully defended A1 Telekom, Austria’s biggest telecommunications provider, in preliminary injunction proceedings against TeleTan. Head of the IP team Georg Schönherr is “a court veteran who knows the system inside out. You can always rely on him for the right advice”. Pharmaceutical maven Thomas Adocker has “enormous know-how in substantive patent law. He is one of the few lawyers who really understands the legal and the technical aspects, delivering very thorough work, great advice and lightning-fast replies”.
SONN & PARTNER Patentanwälte
SONN & PARTNER is “a well-established office that has made the leap into the modern age. With its own tools, it closes the gap between companies and the IP world, and has long understood how to speak the language of its clients”. Coupling strategic nous with refined management skills is department head Rainer Beetz. The mechanics whizz “has a deep understanding of patent law, is open minded when it comes to critical discussions and provides creative advice”. Working alongside him in the mechanical arena is IAM Patent 1000 newcomer Johannes Strobl, a “highly ambitious attorney” who receives high praise from patrons. “I greatly appreciate his insight, kind personality and ability to act in the interest of our firm as if it were his own,” reports one. Peter Pawloy and Daniel Alge take the lead on the life sciences side; frequently going up against some of the biggest names in the industry, they make the firm “number one when it comes to prosecution”.
Wildhack & Jellinek
Earning rave reviews from peers and clients alike, Wildhack & Jellinek acquits itself with distinction in prosecution and handles litigation with finesse, all while providing a bespoke, attentive service. Chemistry ace Andreas Wildhack is a brilliant strategist who meets and exceed the demands of even the most exacting clients: “He is a versatile expert with a responsive, easy-going nature.” Focused on electrical engineering and computer technology, Michael Stadler has a keen eye for detail and an astute business sense; having previously served as a judge, he also has first-hand insight into the inner workings of the courts.
Wiltschek Plasser Rechtsanwälte
Highly specialised litigation boutique Wiltschek Plasser is deeply embedded in the Austrian legal landscape. Although it runs lean, it punches well above its weight and has all the contentious smarts needed to bring even the most heated of life sciences disputes to a successful close. The “extremely bright” David Plasser can quickly tease out the trickiest technical knots; patents, designs, unfair competition and pharmaceutical law are all within his wheelhouse. Senior statesman Lothar Wiltschek has played a hand in all the major infringement cases that have come before the courts over the last 20 years and is a guiding light at the firm.
Full-service giant Wolf Theiss understands the business of patents on a global scale, and the sheer depth and strength of its team ensure that most complex mandates are dispatched with utmost efficiency. Although it receives instructions from a myriad of industries, the outfit really makes its presence felt in the pharmaceutical sphere, tending to the needs of some of its top players. Heading up the IP and IT team is Georg Kresbach, a “fantastic lawyer whose ability to handle international instructions from industry heavyweights is one of his most precious assets”. He puts in resonant performances both in the courtroom and at the negotiating table.
Other recommended expertsAdmitted to the New York and Austrian Bars, CIZEK IP founder Alexander Cizek is an IP renaissance man with a cosmopolitan outlook. “Up-and-coming” Claudia Csáky of Graf & Pitkowitz Rechtsanwalte GmbH is “ambitious and technically skilled. She expertly handles international briefs and is doing an excellent job of growing Graf’s patent practice”. Haslinger/Nagele & Partner co-founder Klaus Haslinger showcases his polished advocacy skills in solving challenging disputes at the intersection of competition, patent and design law. When life sciences aficionado Karina Hellbert is not duking it out in court, she spends her time training the future generation of patent lawyers as a lecturer; she operates out of Fiebinger Polak & Partners. At Torggler & Hofinger, Stephan Hofinger is a “brilliant and diligent patent attorney”. The IAM Patent 1000 newcomer has a broad practice encompassing both patents and trademarks. Haffner & Keschmann’s Marc Keschmann is meticulous in his approach and speaks the language of inventors, which makes for fruitful cooperation and gets patent applications through to grant in no time. “One of the best and most experienced lawyers in the country”, Barbara Kuchar of KWR Karasek Wietrzyk Rechtsanwälte GmbH is an “essential partner” who “provides invaluable assistance. Her superiority lies in her deep business understanding and ability to sense the direction which a judge is leaning in”. At Tonninger Schermaier & Partner, Bernhard Tonninger makes it his mission to secure the wins that clients need in make-or-break cases. He dives deep into the nitty-gritty of each case to work out how best to present it in court. Many precedent-setting Austrian decisions bear the fingerprints of the “truly excellent” Andreas Weiser, who has also contributed to the most comprehensive commentary on Austrian patent law. He can be found at Weiser & Voith Patentwälte Partnerschaft.
Individuals: litigation and transactions
- Thomas Adocker - Schwarz Schönherr Rechtsanwälte KG
- Christian Gassauer-Fleissner - Gassauer-Fleissner Rechtsanwälte GmbH
- Dominik Göbel - Gassauer-Fleissner Rechtsanwälte GmbH
- Constantin Kletzer - GEISTWERT Rechtsanwälte
- Georg Kresbach - Wolf Theiss
- Alexander Schnider - GEISTWERT Rechtsanwälte
- Georg Schönherr - Schwarz Schönherr Rechtsanwälte KG
- Rainer Schultes - GEISTWERT Rechtsanwälte
- Alexander Koller - Schmidtmayr Sorgo & Wanke
- Guido Kucsko - Schoenherr
- Juliane Messner - GEISTWERT Rechtsanwälte
- Max W Mosing - GEISTWERT Rechtsanwälte
- David Plasser - Wiltschek Plasser Rechtsanwälte
- Michael Woller - Schoenherr
- Axel Anderl - DORDA
- Alexander Cizek - CIZEK | IP
- Claudia Csáky - Graf & Pitkowitz Rechtsanwalte GmbH
- Egon Engin-Deniz - CMS Reich-Rohrwig Hainz
- Lukas Feiler - Baker McKenzie
- Martina Grama - Baker McKenzie
- Klaus Haslinger - Haslinger/Nagele & Partner
- Bernhard Heinzl - DORDA
- Karina Hellbert - Polak & Partners
- Dominik Hofmarcher - Schoenherr
- Barbara Kuchar - KWR Karasek Wietrzyk Rechtsanwälte GmbH
- Katharina Majchrzak - CERHA HEMPEL
- Sascha Salomonowitz - Salomonowitz Rechtsanwälte Attorneys at Law
- Bernhard Tonninger - Tonninger Schermaier & Partner
- Manuel Wegrostek - Gassauer-Fleissner Rechtsanwälte GmbH
- Daniel Alge - SONN & PARTNER Patentanwälte
- Andreas Gehring - Puchberger & Partner Patentanwälte
- Michael Stadler - Wildhack & Jellinek
- Andreas Wildhack - Wildhack & Jellinek
- Rainer Beetz - SONN & PARTNER Patentanwälte
- Reinhard Hehenberger - Beer & Partner Patentanwälte
- Bernhard P Henhapel - Patentanwalt Kliment & Henhapel
- Stephan Hofinger - Torggler & Hoffinger
- Marc Keschmann - Haffner & Keschmann
- Manuela Loidl - REDL Life Science Patent Attorneys
- Herwig Margotti - Schwarz & Partner
- Harald Nemec - Schwarz & Partner
- Peter Pawloy - SONN & PARTNER Patentanwälte
- Andreas Pföstl - Schwarz & Partner
- Georg Puchberger - Puchberger & Partner Patentanwälte
- Peter Puchberger - Puchberger & Partner Patentanwälte
- Gerda Redl - REDL Life Science Patent Attorneys
- Johannes Strobl - SONN & PARTNER Patentanwälte
- Andreas Weiser - Weiser & Voith Patentanwälte Partnerschaft
- Albin Schwarz - Schwarz & Partner
- Helmut Sonn - SONN & PARTNER Patentanwälte
- Lothar Wiltschek - Wiltschek Plasser Rechtsanwälte