Austria

Despite uncertainty surrounding the impact that the Unified Patent Court and Brexit might have on their practices, it is business as usual for Austrian firms. The pharmaceutical litigation space continues to be dynamic and a major source of instructions for the top law firms, while a buzzing start-up scene has been a boon to the country’s leading patent attorney outfits. Minimal changes have been made to the IAM Patent 1000 rankings this year, which reflects the stable nature of the market.

Firms: litigation and transactions

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

Firms: prosecution

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

Baker McKenzie – Diwok Hermann Petsche Rechtsanwälte LLP & Co KG

Baker McKenzie’s Vienna team led by senior associates Lukas Feiler and Martina Grama fully exploits the wider firm’s global reach and sophisticated technical tools to strategically assess patent portfolios and oversee the IP aspects of cross-border transactions. It also performs assuredly in the courtroom and recently defended Skidata in the Supreme Court in a landmark trade secret dispute with Axess; the court ruled that, under Austrian law, information does not have to be protected to qualify as a trade secret. Feiler is one of the market’s brightest up-and-coming technology stars, while Grama impresses with the breadth of her IP, unfair competition and media law expertise.

Beer & Partner Patentanwälte

A fount of IP wisdom, Beer & Partner chaperones clients through all stages of patent protection, doing whatever it takes to protect clients’ intangible rights domestically and internationally. Leading the charge in a four-partner team is mechanical engineering sage Reinhard Hehenberger, who offers outstanding service and is “excellent at coordinating international cases”.

DORDA

DORDA debuts in the IAM Patent 1000 this year; it boasts one of the largest and most specialised IP groups in the country – to which it added three new experts in 2018 – and showcases exceptional proficiency when it comes to matters sitting at the intersection of IP and IT law. The team renders clear, concise advice and gets straight to the point, saving clients time and money. Setting the tone in this regard is Axel Anderl, a software law maven who is “extremely good at achieving great results in difficult cases”. Flanking him is rising star Bernhard Heinzl, who is “a highly intelligent lawyer with an outstanding grasp of the nuances of his cases and how to work them to his clients’ advantage”. The two recently linked up to represent Echosens against a Chinese competitor; moving swiftly and assertively under criminal and civil law, they orchestrated a trade fair seizure before securing a verdict of patent infringement in court proceedings in Dusseldorf. For Echosens and other patrons, the team coordinates cross-border matters with incisive efficiency.

Gassauer-Fleissner Rechtsanwälte GmbH

Gassauer-Fleissner is a gilt-edged outfit, widely considered to be “the first choice for patent litigation in Austria”. IP celebrities Christian Gassauer-Fleissner and Dominik Göbel act for a who’s who list of pharmaceutical innovators and, as a result, are busier than their peers in the Austrian courts. As one respondent espouses: “They can be relied on 100% for clear, focused advice that addresses business needs; they understand their clients and the industries within which they operate.” Former European Patent Lawyers Association president Gassauer-Fleissner comes in for particular praise, he is a leading light for the entire market. “Time and time again he shows profound legal knowledge as well as finely tuned strategic instincts. He gets to the best results in complex cases in the shortest possible time.”

GEISTWERT Rechtsanwälte

A pragmatic, forward-thinking, commercial, innovative and solutions-focused firm, GEISTWERT boasts one of the most robust IP and technology practices in Austria. Whatever the nature of their patent problems, clients get the support they need thanks to the expertise of each of GEISTWERT’s five talented partners and the collaborative approach with which they run the practice. Focusing on litigation and transactions, Rainer Schultes, Constantin Kletzer and Alexander Schnider are dynamic operators who get straight down to business. “Efficient, fast and unafraid to try new things,” Schultes and Kletzer manoeuvre deftly in must-win pharmaceutical disputes and – with Schultes moving up this year – both secure IAM Patent 1000 gold tier honours for 2019. Schnider is at his best in the software domain and negotiates software development agreements with poise. Specialising in patent transactions, Juliane Messner and Max Mosing know how to get signatures on the dotted line of a lucrative deal. A fluent Italian speaker admitted to the bar in Italy as well as in Austria, Messner oversees the firm’s Italian desk. “Juliane thoroughly explores the backgrounds and business intentions of the parties to a transaction and tailors sensible structures for each deal.” Brokering international agreements is what Mosing does best.

Patentanwalt Kliment & Henhapel

Kliment & Henhapel guides a diverse client base, including major corporates and solo inventors, through all phases of patent prosecution with assuredness. Its highly trained team of Austrian and European patent attorneys maintain a carefully cultivated network of foreign associates, which enables them to assist their clients across multiple jurisdictions. A “smart and diligent patent attorney who gets straight to the point,” Bernhard Henhapel is lauded for both the quality of his representation and his efficiency. He always provides a personalised service and has inculcated this approach in the rest of the team.

Puchberger & Partner Patentanwälte

Important recent developments at storied Vienna patent firm Puchberger include technological diversification and increasing involvement in contentious matters. Regarding the former, the set has expanded further into the electrical engineering, telecoms, software and chemistry fields, while maintaining its traditionally resolute mechanical engineering practice; expanding on the latter, the team now regularly files oppositions at the EPO for a prominent client. Unusually for an Austrian patent attorney outfit, Puchberger has a vibrant patent litigation practice; Peter Puchberger is a regularly appointed court expert in pharmaceutical disputes and is also a lay judge at the higher regional court in Vienna; Andreas Gehring has passed the diploma on patent litigation at the Centre for International Intellectual Property Studies and stands ready for the UPC; and Georg Puchberger regularly advises his clients on infringement matters.

REDL Life Science Patent Attorneys

REDL Life Science Patent Attorneys provides invaluable commercial support to cutting-edge innovators in the life sciences domain. Prosecution is the bedrock of the practice and the team works tirelessly before the Austrian Patent Office to give clients the business assets they need to take things to the next level. The set also excels at dispensing strategic advice regarding portfolio management and transactions. Having held senior management positions in several biotech and pharmaceutical companies, Gerda Redl knows exactly what her clients are looking for and surpasses expectations at every turn. She has an excellent international network that is a real advantage to any company looking to expand its connections.

Salomonowitz Horak

Salomonowitz Horak consistently demonstrates winning ways in cross-border litigation. Founding partner Sascha Salomonowitz has “incredibly strong patent expertise” and is emerging as a leader among Austria’s next generation of IP stars. Major pharmaceutical companies are among his disciples; he does a lot of work with drug originators who turn to him when fighting against generics. High-tech companies appreciate his expertise on standards and his transactional prowess.

Schoenherr

Muscular full-service firm Schoenherr takes intellectual property seriously and maintains a specialised team that is ready to deploy on major patent litigations and transactions at a moment’s notice. Its strong regional presence puts it in a prime position to advise on cross-border IP issues too. In 2018 the firm invested heavily in its patent practice by promoting Michael Woller to the partnership. Showing himself to be a thought leader through his extensive publishing and teaching activities, he is also doing great things in the courtroom and has recently been battling for a global pharmaceutical player in a complex case that has gone up to the Supreme Court. On the commercial IP side, he advised private equity firm Advent International on its acquisition of General Electric’s distributed power business in Austria and Hungary, which was one of the largest deals in Austria in 2018. Woller co-heads the IP practice with Guido Kuckso, a life sciences sharpshooter who recently represented Bayer in Supreme Court proceedings regarding the duration of a supplementary protection certificate. Kuckso is also known for his contributions to academia and is a highly respected IP authority.

Schwarz & Partner

With offices in Graz, Innsbruck and Vienna, well-rounded boutique Schwarz & Partner is always within easy reach for its domestic clients. “Diligent, responsive and dedicated” is the verdict on the outfit’s technically accomplished team which can handle any invention in just about any scientific or engineering field. For hardcore chemistry matters, Harald Nemec is the person to call; software and electrical engineering are the preserve of Herwig Margotti; life sciences innovators find a key ally in Andreas Pföstl and a top-level strategist in of counsel Albin Schwarz, the firm’s eminent founding partner.

Schwarz Schönherr Rechtsanwälte KG

“Schwarz Schönherr is one of the most experienced law firms in Austria when it comes to patent litigation and enforcement.” The side’s IAM Patent 1000 submission bears this out and includes a large number of work examples detailing representations in high-stakes pharmaceutical, biotech and high-tech disputes. One case that stands out is its handling of a legally challenging supplementary protection certificate matter on behalf of Sandoz against global healthcare leader MSD. Leading the way on this one is Thomas Adocker, who garners many positive reviews from the market: “What sets Thomas apart is that, in spite of his already vast knowledge, he never stops seeking to learn. He makes sure to fully understand his clients’ problems.” Adocker and head of intellectual property Georg Schönherr team up to form a formidable strike force for prestigious clients such as Becton Dickinson, on whose behalf they are fighting against B Braun Melsungen in a commercially consequential case regarding injection needle technology; they emerged victorious from the battle’s infringement proceedings. Schönherr is hailed as “one of the most ferocious litigators in the field”.

SONN & PARTNER Patentanwälte

“SONN & PARTNER has one of the broadest and most extensive patent prosecution practices in Austria.” Passionate technologists Helmut Sonn, Peter Pawloy, Daniel Alge and Rainer Beetz make up a dream team. A consultant to the group, Sonn is one of Austria’s IP thought leaders and knows the country’s patent system inside out. He has a background in physics and is a licensing ace. Pawloy is an expert in chemistry, pharmacy and process engineering and directs his efforts towards securing the best results in patent disputes; Alge is a repository of trust for pharmaceutical and biotech clients looking to protect and enforce patents. Beetz does a top job in patent and trademark oppositions.

Wildhack & Jellinek

The partners at Wildhack & Jellinek collaborate harmoniously and adopt a unified approach that ensures consistently satisfying results for clients. As lay judges, Andreas Wildhack and Michael Stadler are well placed to provide unique insight on the litigation decision making process. Wildhack is fluent in English, French, German, Italian and Swedish and is a prominent figure in the pharmaceutical litigation space, while being equally celebrated for his prosecution prowess and well-calibrated validity and infringement opinons: “He really understands his clients’ business objectives and supports them all the way communicating practical and commercial advice.” High-end strategist Stadler is a safe pair of hands and the name to note for IT, mechanics and software-related issues.

Wiltschek Plasser Rechtsanwälte

Streamlined and highly specialised in patents, Wiltschek Plasser is the firm to call when you want something done efficiently and to the highest standard. In the past year the firm has been putting in resonant performances in pharmaceutical litigation, including biosimilar cases. Lothar Wiltschek and David Plasser are the beating heart of the firm. Wiltschek is an Austrian IP luminary and is considered by many to be “the number one expert in patent litigation and a tough opponent”. Plasser brings the heat when necessary but is admired both professionally and personally by his peers as being a “prudent, diligent and pragmatic lawyer who is excellent in negotiations”.

Wolf Theiss

Wolf Theiss “has all the resources large clients could need” and is respected for its ability to handle cross-border patent infringement litigation, with key elements being played out in the Commercial Court of Vienna. The first name on the team sheet is head of intellectual property Georg Kresbach who is an “incredibly responsive and fast lawyer and formidable patent litigator who provides top-notch, concise legal guidance and representation”. He is currently representing B Braun Melsungen in the Austrian leg of its complex pan-European dispute against Becton Dickinson.

Other recommended experts

Alexander Cizek of CIZEK | IP provides a well-rounded service which covers the entire IP spectrum and spans the contentious/non-contentious divide. He is also equipped to handle commercial matters, which makes CIZEK a veritable one-stop shop. Claudia Csáky takes the lead on IP matters at Graf & Pitkowitz. Best known for her trademark, copyright and unfair competition nous, she is also an excellent strategist when it comes to patent disputes. Klaus Haslinger is an expert on issues encompassing IP and unfair competition law. He is a founding partner of Haslinger/Nagele & Partner. Karina Hellbert leads the life sciences practice at Fiebinger Polak & Partners. Her broad expertise, which encompasses patent, unfair competition and data protection law, is a boon to her many pharmaceutical clients. Marc Keschmann of young and innovative outfit Haffner & Keschmann is a master of high-efficiency prosecution. Having authored a comprehensive book on the subject, Andreas Weiser of Weiser & Voith is profoundly knowledgeable regarding substantive patent law in Austria.

Individuals: litigation and transactions

  • Thomas Adocker - Schwarz Schönherr Rechtsanwälte KG
  • Christian Gassauer-Fleissner - Gassauer-Fleissner Rechtsanwälte GmbH
  • Constantin Kletzer - GEISTWERT Rechtsanwälte
  • Georg Kresbach - Wolf Theiss
  • Georg Schönherr - Schwarz Schönherr Rechtsanwälte KG
  • Rainer Schultes - GEISTWERT Rechtsanwälte
  • Dominik Göbel - Gassauer-Fleissner Rechtsanwälte GmbH
  • Guido Kucsko - Schoenherr
  • David Plasser - Wiltschek Plasser Rechtsanwälte
  • Alexander Schnider - GEISTWERT Rechtsanwälte
  • 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
  • Juliane Messner - GEISTWERT Rechtsanwälte
  • Max W Mosing - GEISTWERT Rechtsanwälte
  • Sascha Salomonowitz - Salomonowitz Horak
  • Michael Woller - Schoenherr

Individuals: prosecution

  • Daniel Alge - SONN & PARTNER Patentanwälte
  • Andreas Gehring - Puchberger & Partner Patentanwälte
  • 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
  • Michael Stadler - Wildhack & Jellinek
  • Andreas Weiser - Weiser & Voith Patentanwälte Partnerschaft

Luminaries

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