Austria

The Austrian market continues to see stable and steady levels of patent activity. With little movement regarding the Unified Patent Court and its fate still uncertain, practitioners are waiting to see how this project ultimately pans out. Although the burgeoning life sciences sector still accounts for a significant proportion of patent litigation, IP firms are now also engaging in increasing volumes of high-technology work.

Firms: litigation and transactions

  • Gassauer-Fleissner Rechtsanwälte GmbH
  • GEISTWERT Rechtsanwälte
  • Schwarz Schönherr Rechtsanwälte KG
  • DORDA
  • Schoenherr
  • Wiltschek Plasser Rechtsanwälte
  • Wolf Theiss
  • Baker McKenzie - Diwok Hermann Petsche Rechtsanwälte LLP & Co KG
  • Salomonowitz Rechtsanwälte Attorneys at Law

Firms: prosecution

  • Highly recommended
  • Puchberger & Partner Patentanwälte
  • SONN & PARTNER Patentanwälte
  • Wildhack & Jellinek
  • Recommended
  • Beer & Partner Patentanwälte
  • Patentanwalt Kliment & Henhapel
  • REDL Life Science Patent Attorneys
  • Schwarz & Partner

Baker McKenzie - Diwok Hermann Petsche Rechtsanwälte LLP & Co KG

Baker McKenzie’s Vienna outfit handles some of the highest-profile IP matters in Austria with confidence and poise. Utilising the wider firm’s expansive international reach firm to superb effect, it provides invaluable assistance to clients on complex patent and technology transactions and cross-border disputes. With expertise encompassing patent, trademark, design and copyright law, Martina Grama is a perfect fit for those with diverse portfolios. An authority on e-commerce and internet law, and in fields such as software, telecommunications and data protection, Lukas Feiler is another engine of the practice.

Beer & Partner Patentanwälte

Patent prosecution in cutting-edge technical fields is meat and drink to Beer & Partner. The boutique not only secures strong, enforceable and monetisable patents, but maintains them in optimal health, so clients never need worry about chinks in their armour.  A certified court expert for over two decades, mechanical engineer Reinhard Hehenberger is a key point of contact on the four-person team.

DORDA

DORDA’s growing IP and IT division has forged a reputation for dynamism in the Austrian patent market. Recent recruitment efforts are paying handsome dividends, and the now 10-strong squad has the versatility and dexterity to handle a broad spectrum of nuanced briefs.  Reflecting this range, it recently went out to bat for Echosens against a Chinese competitor offering an infringing medical device product at a trade fair; the team seized the device from the company’s trade stand and masterminded successful court proceedings in Germany. Spearheading these efforts were Axel Anderl and Bernhard Heinzl, who attract lavish praise: “Their service is excellent and they work with a positive, can-do attitude. They are also extremely well connected in other jurisdictions.” Managing partner and IP department head Anderl “takes care of everything and ensures smooth sailing in complex cases”. “Bernhard comes up with out-of-the-box solutions that are tailor-made for the matter at hand. If you need more than standard legal advice, Bernhard and DORDA are the ideal choice.”

Gassauer-Fleissner Rechtsanwälte GmbH

When it comes to patent litigation in Austria, Gassauer-Fleissner is a firm of “the highest calibre”, particularly in the pharmaceutical space. It is a guiding light for drug originators and the preferred partner of leading patent law firms from the United Kingdom and Germany requiring tightly coordinated strategies for multi-jurisdictional disputes. Pacing the field are rainmakers Christian Gassauer-Fleissner and Dominik Göbel: “Extremely proficient in all respects, their advice and representation are always targeted to the satisfaction of clients’ business needs. They are completely reliable and do their work rigorously and in a timely manner, while bringing a striking level of industry insight to the table.”  Debuting in the IAM Patent 1000 this year, newly minted partner Manuel Wegrostek is another repository of trust for pharmaceutical titans. “Manuel is an exceptionally clear communicator and he isn’t afraid to stand firm on a point if he believes it is in your best interests to do so.”

GEISTWERT Rechtsanwälte

Nimble, aggressive and energetic, GEISTWERT brings the heat in Austrian patent litigation and cuts a dash at the deal negotiating table too. The partners in this an outstandingly collaborative group link up well and play off each other’s strengths to carry the day in critical disputes. A team formed by Constantin Kletzer, Rainer Schultes and Alexander Schnider, for example, recently prevailed for TeleTan in a widely reported infringement claim against one of Austria’s largest banks, which had used TeleTan’s online banking authentication process on its own platform. Kletzer “works fast, thoroughly and effectively, with an intense focus on solutions. With him, you’re in the best of hands.” Schultes is hailed as an “extremely smart lawyer with excellent technical knowledge”; while Schnider is an authority on software and internet law. While these assured litigators all know how to cut a deal, the firm’s top transactional specialists are Max Mosing and Juliane Messner. Coming in for particular praise, Messner has a “deep understanding of business issues” and “only sees solutions, not problems”.

Patentanwalt Kliment & Henhapel

From three offices in Austria, Kliment & Henhapel dispenses a precision prosecution service. Not just a filing shop, however, it has abundant contentious experience, especially as many of its members regularly sit as court-appointed experts; their keen awareness of what happens to patents downstream makes them effective counsellors who know how to keep clients out of court. A reliable guide throughout all phases of prosecution and in adversarial proceedings, the internationally minded Bernhard Henhapel is a first port of call for those seeking sophisticated guidance, particularly mechanical innovators.

Puchberger & Partner Patentanwälte

Puchberger & Partner is a “respected firm with a long history” in Austria and beyond. Its success is founded on the filing and portfolio management dexterity of its well-qualified, highly trained professionals. In Andreas Gehring, the firm has “one of the best and most experienced patent attorneys in the country”. “Andreas impresses with a level of pragmatism that is rare for Austrian attorneys. He is extremely perceptive and insightful, and grasps key issues quickly while finding solutions that best match his clients’ business needs.” His substantive patent law knowledge is exemplary, and, to his great credit, he devotes significant time and energy to IP education initiatives. While Gehring takes the lead on electronics and software prosecution, Georg Puchberger does meticulous work in the mechanical and process engineering fields, which have long been bastions of strength for the firm. Another star of the practice, former Austrian Chamber of Patent Attorneys president Peter Puchberger, is a contentious specialist who regularly appears as an expert in chemical and pharmaceutical IP disputes and sits as a lay judge.

REDL Life Science Patent Attorneys

A one-stop shop for pharmaceutical and biotechnology entities, REDL Life Science takes care of strategic IP needs while locking down cast-iron patent protection. No other outfit in Austria has such an acute understanding of the business drivers of the life sciences industry – its senior European patent attorneys have all held senior positions in innovative companies. Take Gerda Redl, for example, who accumulated vast in-house management experience prior to founding the firm. The quality and reach of her network make her an essential contact in a globalised market.

Salomonowitz Rechtsanwälte Attorneys at Law

New firm on the block Salomonowitz Rechtsanwälte is staffed by a seasoned team of IP practitioners and delivers crisp results on all patent instructions. At the helm is versatile pro Sascha Salomonowitz, who puts his finely honed negotiation skills to good use on patent and technology transactions. Having worked across the pharmaceutical and high-technology industries, he has a broad view of the Austrian patent landscape.

Schoenherr

Schoenherr has been a favourite of international clients for decades and remains a key mover and shaker in the Austrian patent litigation and transactional spaces. The full-service outfit is a discerning choice for pharmaceutical companies and has attracted the attentions of colourful catalogue of high-technology innovators.  A vital ally to these, co-head of the department Michael Woller sets the tone from the top. He coordinates the activities and engagement of the firm’s 15 international offices and desks, and has cultivated deep regional IP knowledge as a result. Fellow co-head and revered IP authority Guido Kucsko has authored and edited a selection of comprehensive IP books which are regularly used by the Austrian Supreme Court – a forum in which he makes regular appearances as a practising lawyer.

Schwarz & Partner

Well positioned, with its three offices, to cater to domestic clients wherever they are based, Schwarz & Partner offers a full suite of non-contentious IP services, from the drafting of patent applications to enforcement and commercial IP exploitation. Not just domestically focused, the ensemble has an extensive international network, giving it enviable geographical scope. With a deep technical bench, the firm has four eminent scientists recommended in the IAM Patent 1000 for 2020. Former software and audio engineer Herwig Margotti is a safe pair of hands for anything electronic or computer related; Harald Nemec is the top chemistry and materials expert on board; Andreas Pföstl makes light work of food science and biotechnology briefs; and Albin Schwarz is the man for pharmaceutical companies to call.

Schwarz Schönherr Rechtsanwälte KG

Schwarz Schönherr is a driving force on the Austrian patent litigation scene. “Only a small number of patent litigation cases reach the Austrian courts every year and Schwarz Schönherr is usually involved. Its team has outstanding expertise and experience.” Captain Thomas Adocker is a tenacious litigator: “What truly sets him apart is the fact that, while he knows exactly what he is talking about regarding patent and procedural law, he assiduously seeks out the advice of experts to deepen his technical understanding. His complete knowledge, therefore, of the problems at hand gives him a major advantage in negotiations with opposing counsel and in presentations before court.” Founding partner Georg Schönherr is cut from similar cloth and is hailed as “one of the toughest litigators around”. Together, they recently represented Becton Dickinson in a commercially significant battle with competitor B Braun Melsungen over injection needles.

SONN & PARTNER Patentanwälte

Contemporary, vigorous and innovative, SONN & PARTNER harnesses technology and business know-how to conduct efficient, targeted patent prosecution at both domestic and international levels. Daniel Alge, Rainer Beetz, Peter Pawloy and Helmut Sonn form a dedicated troubleshooting team ready to take on any instruction. Thriving in the life sciences, Alge is a staunch protector of start-ups, but has the range to advise global pharmaceutical companies too. Undertaking prosecution tasks with finesse, Beetz also shines in opposition and revocation proceedings; likewise organic chemist Pawloy. In his of counsel role, the venerable Sonn serves as a vital strategic sounding board for colleagues and clients alike.

Wildhack & Jellinek

No newcomer to the market, mid-sized IP outfit Wildhack & Jellinek has a track record of excellence stretching back 50 years. However, it is also a dynamic and energetic player, with a relatively youthful profile – the oldest partner on deck is just 45 years old. Its approach is resolutely pragmatic: the attorneys here don’t file by numbers, but carefully consider the business implications of every move they make with the aim of adding value. Active in litigation as well as prosecution, they are broad-minded and understand what goes into making a patent enforceable. The names to know are Andreas Wildhack and Michael Stadler; the former is a must for anything complex or litigious, while the latter is considered “the most important up-and-coming patent attorney in Austria and a future luminary of the profession”.

Wiltschek Plasser Rechtsanwälte

An IP boutique with a special emphasis on patents, Wiltschek Plasser is an agile, cost-effective outfit that dispatches mandates efficiently, but always with quality as the first priority. Though active across diverse industries and technical disciplines, the team is distinguished by its pharmaceutical nous: Lothar Wiltschek and David Plasser know the industry extremely well and strategically advise and litigate on behalf of some of its key players. “David is smart and fair and doesn’t fight over things that don’t matter – he plays hard, but plays by the rules.” Wiltscheck is simply “one of the greatest minds in Austrian intellectual property”.

Wolf Theiss

Cross-border proficiency is the USP of Wolf Theiss – the muscular full-service commercial firm can support the total legal and business needs of prestigious patrons from across the continent. However, it earns its place in the IAM Patent 1000 thanks to its flair for major high-stakes patent litigation. Gold-rated head of intellectual property Georg Kresbach is a “strong advocate and a responsive, thorough lawyer who gives robust advice on strategic and more academic legal issues”.  With ample experience before the Commercial Court of Vienna, he is also sought out for non-infringement and validity opinions.

Other recommended experts

Alexander Cizek is the founding partner of CIZEK | IP. The former DLA Piper lawyer is an adroit adviser in all areas of intellectual property. Heading up the IP practice at Graf & Pitkowitz Rechtsanwalte GmbH is Claudia Csáky, who handles patent disputes with the utmost care and precision. Klaus Haslinger of Haslinger/Nagele & Partner has rich IP expertise and is a go-to on matters at the intersection of patent and unfair competition law. Head of Fiebinger Polak & Partner’s life sciences department Karina Hellbert acquits herself with distinction in the pharmaceutical and medical device arenas. Marc Keschmann of Haffner & Keschmann is recommended for his mechanical engineering know-how. Debuting in the IAM Patent 1000 this year is Alexander Koller of Schmidtmayr Sorgo & Wanke; having written books and articles on the subject of intellectual property, he is “is extremely knowledgeable, particularly with respect to appeal cases in Austrian infringement proceedings”. Weiser & Voith namesake Andreas Weiser is a veritable encyclopaedia when it comes to Austrian patent law and also serves as a lay judge.

Individuals: litigation

  • 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
  • Georg Schönherr - Schwarz Schönherr Rechtsanwälte KG
  • Rainer Schultes - GEISTWERT Rechtsanwälte
  • Guido Kucsko - Schoenherr
  • David Plasser - Wiltschek Plasser Rechtsanwälte
  • Alexander Schnider - GEISTWERT Rechtsanwälte
  • Michael Woller - Schoenherr
  • Axel Anderl - DORDA
  • Alexander Cizek - CIZEK | IP
  • Claudia Csáky - Graf & Pitkowitz Rechtsanwalte GmbH
  • 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
  • Bernhard Heinzl - DORDA
  • Karina Hellbert - Fiebinger Polak & Partner Rechtsanwälte GmbH
  • Alexander Koller - Schmidtmayr Sorgo & Wanke
  • Juliane Messner - GEISTWERT Rechtsanwälte
  • Max W Mosing - GEISTWERT Rechtsanwälte
  • Sascha Salomonowitz - Salomonowitz Rechtsanwälte Attorneys at Law
  • Manuel Wegrostek - Gassauer-Fleissner Rechtsanwälte GmbH

Individuals: prosecution

  • 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
  • Marc Keschmann - Haffner & Keschmann
  • 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
  • Andreas Weiser - Weiser & Voith Patentanwälte Partnerschaft

Luminaries

  • Albin Schwarz - Schwarz & Partner
  • Helmut Sonn - SONN & PARTNER Patentanwälte
  • Lothar Wiltschek - Wiltschek Plasser Rechtsanwälte