Germany

In Germany, the long-running UPC saga has left many in a state of limbo. For a while now, it has been unclear whether the German Constitution will even permit the country to be involved – or what will happen to the scheme post-Brexit. As a result, a curious situation has developed where most firms are fully prepared for the advent of the UPC but no closer to knowing when it will arrive. In other market news, a barrage of new technological developments have conspired to stimulate fresh areas of crossover in the German patent scene. The IoT has brought automobile manufacturers into contact with the high-tech industry, sparking a series of fascinating litigation battles that will set the tone for future interactions of this type. AI developments have been making waves across a variety of sectors, while 3D printing, second medical use and biosimilars remain predictably hot areas. Another series of pertinent questions concerns the size and nature of firms, with some choosing to maintain their boutique nature while others aggressively seek expansion and diversification as ways to mitigate the broader market pressure for lower filing fees. It is not impossible to imagine a polarisation in the German market over the coming years, with firms that possess the greatest clarity about their size and specialism emerging as the winners.

Firms: infringement

Firms: transactions

Allen & Overy LLP

Seamless cross-border cooperation, outstanding efficiency and consistent quality are all hallmarks of the London-based behemoth’s German offering. The firm possesses transactional and courtroom expertise aplenty and has been strikingly busy this year, battling and negotiating on behalf of some big names in the pharmaceutical and mechanical fields. Allen & Overy’s litigation offering is collegiate, creative and pragmatic, ready to either attack aggressively or to settle favourably – whatever makes most commercial sense for the client. Leading the way is Joachim Feldges, whose deep experience fighting multinational life sciences patent cases stands his clients in excellent stead. His litigation partner Jan Ebersohl is an equally astute choice. As one top client puts it, “we would recommend Jan and his team to any company facing patent assertions in Germany – he breaks cases down to the key issues and presents them to the court in a very compelling manner. A creative thinker and a fierce fighter”. On the transactional side, some interesting buy-out work for Saudi Arabian giant Aramco and the acquisition of a new autonomous driving technology portfolio for Schaeffler AG have been turning heads. Astute contract negotiator Jens Matthes provides world-leading scrutiny for deals that simply cannot fall through. One client says: “I have worked with Jens for several years, and he has been utterly superb throughout our relationship. He’s highly responsive, practical, thoughtful, technically knowledgeable and clear. He’s easy and pleasant to work with – one of our main German resources for any IP work there.”

Arnold Ruess

This year, it feels as though the exceptionally talented team at Arnold Ruess has broken through from challenger to established offering; as one top-notch litigator puts it, “they are now well past the up-and-coming stage”. Market sources consider the outfit a “young but dynamic firm with a great style they’re very creative and thorough”. “Arnold Ruess is certainly among the top firms in patent litigation and well-placed to deal with complex multinational cases. We’ve been gradually entrusting them with projects of increasing strategic priority as a result.” “Without their thorough, effective case analysis, performed to a very tight timetable, we would not have got such an excellent outcome.” “Remarkably visible” with “good clients and high-quality work”, the side is spearheaded by the technically gifted tandem of Bernhard Arnold and Cordula Schumacher. In the words of one long-time collaborator: “I think that they are both exceptionally talented lawyers – they are excellent with clients and when the going gets tough, they really get going.” Name partner Arnold always cuts the mustard: “He’s extremely experienced in patent matters, with highly refined technical and legal skills”; “he’s a brilliant patent attorney and a skilled manager indeed”. Schumacher also gathers plaudits from far and wide: “She’s an all-rounder who does some great electronics and life sciences litigation. She’s well connected with a great network, rather like Arnold Ruess in general.” “She’s an excellent litigator, a simply outstanding counsel.” “Creative, eager to win her cases, targeted and very reliable. Someone once told me she’s worth 10 ordinary lawyers and I would have to agree.”

Baker McKenzie

Major international player Baker McKenzie has quality to spare nestled in its four German offices; it trains only the best and retains an extensive network of international IP talent to call upon should matters become multi-jurisdictional. The firm is especially strong on the contentious side, with outstanding representation before the German Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) and EPO as its forte. Trailblazing life sciences, automotive and consumer goods litigator Jochen Herr does not confine his crystalline exposition and watertight arguments to the courtroom; boasting a varied, thriving transactional practice alongside his litigation offering, he is a man for all seasons. Triple-qualified, he is at his finest arguing the toss in the life sciences, automotive and consumer goods sectors. Peers praise his proven ability to “build up a practice” by selecting only the finest talent to accompany him on his search for patent perfection. His colleague, transactional maven Constanze Ulmer-Eilfort, now sits on Baker McKenzie’s global executive committee – a promotion that is testament to her sterling work commercialising high-tech, pharmaceutical and media companies’ IP rights for more than 25 years.

Bardehle Pagenberg Partnerschaft mbB 

“A mixed firm with a very good reputation for infringement cases”, “very successful” boutique BARDEHLE PAGENBERG has been an innovative advocate for the blended approach since 1977, when combining patent attorneys and attorneys at law in one firm was highly unusual. “BARDEHLE is a firm where you receive quick service: fast responses, drafts and filings. This can be crucially important sometimes.” On the contentious side, BARDEHLE possesses a deep bench of first-rate talent. Co-leading the patent litigation group is all-around expert Tilman Müller-Stoy, described by a peer as “probably the best of the young lawyers in the patent field”. Müller-Stoy gathers plaudits from the market like there is no tomorrow. “He’s charismatically loud, friendly and a good guy.” “I would describe him as very knowledgeable, strategic and responsive, able to swiftly digest the technical material and present it in a compelling and creative way as part of a truly exceptional service.” The vastly experienced Peter Chrocziel makes an appearance on our infringements and transactional tables this year, as a result of his familiarity with the US system (being a registered attorney at law in New York) and deep expertise in complex cross-border technology, pharmaceutical and automotive matters. He is as comfortable in the backroom as in the courtroom, having advised on some extremely significant R&D agreements over the course of his career. Co-heading the litigation practice with Müller-Stoy is telecoms and automotive sage Johannes Heselberger, whose track record in patent infringement and nullity proceedings places him among the first order of German patent litigators. “Very experienced and eminently trustworthy, Johannes understands the bigger picture: he is not just a litigator or a prosecutor, but instead sees how different types of proceedings interact and what this means for corporate strategy.” Also outstanding in nullity matters is Hans Wegner, whose long experience of patent prosecution in the telecoms and consumer electronics sectors makes him, in the words of one client, “one of the very best patent attorneys I have worked with in my 20-year+ career”. Another is equally complimentary. “He’s a creative thinker and an amazing strategist. He views problems from multiple angles, which has given him the ability to rescue litigation cases that, quite frankly, we had given up on already. Creative and confident, he’s quite simply *the* patent attorney role model for myself and my team.” Colleague Joachim Mader “represents big names in the automotive industry” among other technical fields, having built up a reputation for his prosecution, opposition and appeal work before the EPO. His ability to understand mechanical engineering technology is second to none. Co-managing partner Johannes Lang is a repository of wisdom on all things computer related, possessing notable proficiency in the prosecution and defence of patents before all of the relevant patent offices. Finally, it would be remiss to talk about BARDEHLE PAGENBERG without also mentioning venerable litigator and luminary Jochen Pagenberg, a household name in the field whose drive, skill and quality have helped make the firm the powerhouse it is today.

Bird & Bird LLP

“They’re doing well as always – of course, they’ve always been top tier in Germany.” “They’re market-leading in infringement proceedings. They are the gold standard, really.” “It may just be a coincidence, but this seems to be the Bird & Bird phase of my career – we’re either working with them, or we’re against them at the moment.” Bird & Bird seems to be a permanent fixture on most other top IP practitioners’ case lists, a “prestigious” litigation powerhouse ready to go to war at a moment’s notice. The practice expertly combines courtroom prowess with a carefully curated bench of nullity and prosecution attorneys, to ensure that clients are amply insured against setbacks at any stage of the patent lifecycle. Bird & Bird’s IP group is one of its very strongest in Germany and it is not hard to see why: the firm’s cup overfloweth with first-chair infringement proceedings talent. Head of the group is technical all-rounder Christian Harmsen, who commands great respect from his peers. “He’s a very, very good lawyer and an excellent colleague: it’s always a pleasure to work against him, he operates at the highest level.” “His precise, matter-of-fact style and convincing argumentation have made him the centrepiece of many a successful patent litigation strategy; he’s a skilled advocate and a great technical lawyer.” Electronics sharpshooter Oliver Jan Jüngst dispenses sagacious litigation strategy as a matter of course – he’s “very cool, very focused on the main argument and doesn’t make unnecessary drama out of cases”. “He’s a tough opponent, completely client-oriented and a formidable attorney on top of that.” Another name on everyone’s lips this year is “skilled pharmaceuticals litigator” Anna Wolters-Höhne, her “fantastic” experience in the area belies her relative youth. “She’s very charming and gets on with people well – she absolutely needs to be in the rankings this year.” “One of the very first choices for defending in SEP matters”, Felix Rödiger is more than equal to complex litigation briefs in all hot technical areas. “He’s very experienced and thoughtful – he’s really into the detail. He’s also extremely well connected in the wider industry: overall, a very interesting guy.” Pure IP litigator Boris Kreye is “aggressive in a good sense” according to a fellow practitioner; he has been excelling in infringement, nullity and opposition proceedings for more than 20 years and offers all-around technical ability that keeps the clients rolling in. Bird & Bird’s firepower is not concentrated solely on the contentious side; sterling prosecution and transactional capabilities also await those who knock on its door. Biopharmaceuticals sage Michael Alt is a “sophisticated, globally minded, strategic practitioner who brings genuine rigour to proceedings – a low-key personality with an easy manner, who works exceptionally well as part of a team dynamic. It’s all about the science and the argument for him”. Clients seek him out for outstanding prosecution, nullity actions and infringement support. In the boardroom, transactional specialists Matthias Meyer and Fabian Niemann are well used to shepherding vital deals across the line and dealing with the most extreme pressure. Meyer has the ability to laser in on the most commercially salient aspects of a complex IP licensing agreement, while Niemann knows cloud computing, digital media and data protection deals inside out.

Boehmert & Boehmert 

BOEHMERT & BOEHMERT’s patent prosecution ability is the stuff of legend in Germany; everyone in the market knows that the venerable name stands for top filing quality, across a tremendous bandwidth. “We have found their advice to be right time and time again. They have earned our full confidence in their attention to detail, wonderful customer service and dedication to updating us at all stages of the process.” “On top of their excellent legal and technical acumen, they’re excellent personally. From my perspective, working with BOEHMERT – and achieving the outcome that we did – is one of the highlights of my career.” “I very much appreciate their detailed knowledge, technical expertise and the speedy and precise communication you receive as part of their service.” This year, the firm has further built the reputation of its litigation practice, in doing so creating a firm with simply outstanding capabilities on both sides of the contentious divide. Attorney at law Michael Rüberg deserves a great deal of credit; his valuable in-house experience and “detailed and convincing legal reasoning” combine with his preference for “an open exchange of ideas and relaxed manner” to form a litigator that clients love to work with. On the firm’s much-vaunted prosecution team, patent attorney Markus Engelhard is a standout contributor; alongside his gold-plated life sciences practice, his academic CV gleams with lectures delivered and a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Cambridge. Adept in both patent prosecution and transactional support, Christian W Appelt specialises in supplying the Mittelstand with physics, mechanical engineering and electronics advice that is worth its weight in gold. He is also the co-author, alongside true German luminary Heinz Goddar, of the roaringly successful EPC Handbook – A Guide for Practitoners, which now enters its fourth edition, having been translated into Japanese, Mandarin and Arabic. Last but not least, technology transfer titan Dennis Kretschmann continues to delight clients with his physics and software patent proficiency; if a matter involves computers, he’s “especially strong”.

Clifford Chance Deutschland LLP 

Magic Circle outfit Clifford Chance is no stranger to high-quality, crucially important patent work that makes all the difference to clients. Having debuted in our guide last year, the firm’s German offering has only increased its market visibility in 2018 – and it is not hard to see why. Clifford Chance has a truly global outlook and capability, with the ability to offer clients unrivalled synergy between their IP matters and other commercial areas. Cases do not stop at borders for Clifford Chance; partners around the world know each other and are adept at collaborating to transform a German case into a worldwide battle in a matter of hours. Holding aloft the standard is Claudia Milbradt, whose game-changing work across a variety of technical sectors takes place in both the courtroom and the boardroom. There is no finer choice in Germany for clients who need forensic scrutiny of both litigation strategy and contract fine print.

Cohausz & Florack 

“I’ve recently been extremely impressed by a firm of patent attorneys. It’s very diligent, even on a tight budget – it quickly points out what needs to be done, and then just does it. It seems to find arguments that others have overlooked and is great at phrasing technical questions so that judges understand them. It’s just easy to work with, in all honesty – some firms can be stiff, but not this one.” “It is simply the best patent attorneys’ firm in Germany; it covers all technical areas and is excellent in every one.” The market speaks clearly and unambiguously when the name COHAUSZ & FLORACK comes up; the Dusseldorf-based boutique enjoys a stellar reputation in Germany for patent filing, infringement and nullity proceedings, underpinned by a stable of outstanding individuals. Andreas Thielmann boasts vast experience in patents, gained working in industry, private practice and the German PTO in Munich; his mechanical engineering nous is much admired within the field. Life sciences impresario Arwed A Burrichter is “among the best for chemicals in Germany”, “a strategic thinker with the ability to thoroughly immerse himself in the technical details”. Outrageously talented communications guru Christoph Walke wins rave reviews from clients: “excellent on the technical side and very easy to work with”, he is “fantastic technically, communicates precisely and thinks outside the box”. “He has the ability to fit all of the cases his firm handles for us into one seamless litigation campaign – we count on him for our most technically demanding matters, especially concerning SEPs.” Mechanical sensation Philipe Walter is likewise “able to understand different technologies very quickly and in depth, writing applications that strike a great balance between breadth and focus”. Last but not least, the indomitable Gottfried Schüll, a video compression veteran, continues to prove a major draw for discerning clients looking for the very finest technological skill.

df-mp 

Patent attorney firm df-mp punches well above its weight: this year, it has been kept busy with a host of blockbuster matters for clients in the order of Teva, Strawman, Biogen, Unwired Planet and WIKO, taking on some of the world’s leading telecoms companies in the process. The firm’s market visibility corresponds to its output, with comments on its trailblazing practitioners flooding in from all corners of the German IP scene. US-qualified co-founder David Molnia is described as “very precise, experienced and a lot of fun to work with”, as well as “smart and reliable”. “David is one of the most promising IP practitioners in Germany. He’s an absolutely remarkable patent attorney, the most experienced in the country at SEP/FRAND litigation support, having participated in the very first such action around 20 years ago.” “In the telecoms industry, he’s clearly one of the leading German patent attorneys. His technical knowledge and ability to present complex ideas in a clear manner need to be mentioned.” Often spoken of in tandem with Molnia is Dominik Ho, a watertight drafter whose performance in complex technology patent cases needs to be seen to be believed. “His expertise is remarkable. He’s top-notch in litigation support because he really understands the interplay between litigation and nullity proceedings. In addition to this, he and David are always reachable and up to speed on matters.” “Cooperative, considerate and friendly”, life sciences sage Elisabeth Greiner is considered “one of the top pharmaceutical patent practitioners” in Germany by many. “She is outstanding at communicating her technical points to non-technical judges; her pleading style is genuinely impressive.” “She’s hardworking, dedicated, articulate and creative – her motivation is inspiring to those who work with her.” Ulrich Dörries’ “eloquent and charismatic” style, along with his “sense of humour”, are the icing on the cake for biotech and pharmaceutical clients who already enjoy his “devotion and creativity”. “He’s a very clever person indeed – he has great ideas, he’s often outspoken, just good all round.” Co-leader of this technical group with Dörries is life sciences aficionado Sandra Pohlman, whose considerable talents continue to keep key pharmaceutical players afloat in the courtroom.

DLA Piper

Global player DLA Piper is undoubtedly on a growth trajectory in Germany – the 2017 acquisition of Philipp Cepl, along with the firm’s outstanding work at integrating its German practitioners into its immense global network, is ample evidence of that. DLA Piper will not stop researching the context of a case until it is in the bag and word of this devotion to detail is spreading. Cepl’s lauded practice spans all technical areas, with a particular emphasis on cross-border strategic litigation. “By adding Philipp to the team, DLA has become a visible player in the German patent litigation community – he is an exceptional litigator with a broad range of experience. He has great legal and technical knowledge and gives equally great strategic advice.” “He makes life difficult for the other side, he’s absolutely outstanding in picking up the decisive issues. You’d prefer to be with him than against him.” With a longer tenure at the firm under his belt, prodigiously talented IT and mechanics litigation wizard Markus Gampp is known as a “mature, meticulous lawyer: capable, professional and responsive”. “Whenever we have a patent matter, we’ll retain him without hesitation. He really is an excellent strategist, always able to see the bigger commercial picture.”

Dompatent von Kreisler Selting Werner

Cologne-based Dompatent von Kreisler Selting Werner is a patent attorney firm with one eye fixed firmly on the future: with practitioners to handle advanced technical areas including the IoT, autonomous transportation and AI, the side is well prepared for the patent trends of the 2020s. Mechanical and electrical engineering whizz Alexander von Kirschbaum started his career at the firm in 1996, and has been advising and representing clients with consummate skill ever since. His prosecution partner Christoph Schreiber is “absolutely outstanding in the biotech arena”, renowned particularly for his “widespread international network” and filing nous.

DREISS Patentanwaelte PartG mbB 

Stuttgart-based boutique Dreiss makes matters simple for rights holders. In a variety of fields – ranging from semiconductors to medical technology – the firm’s star is on the rise. “It’s made up of very professional, reliable patent attorneys with excellent technical competence and litigation support experience. I know that they’re increasingly busy at the moment and with good reason.” The mid-sized firm has two professionals in our guide this year: namely, nullity masters Thomas Knapp and Andreas Pfund. Knapp’s forte is aerospace engineering; his finely targeted advice, born of years of industry experience, has helped many an original concept take flight. Pfund’s adroitness in drafting complex nanotechnology patents springs from his gold-plated academic credentials: degrees from Germany, the United States and ETH Zurich demonstrate his first-rate mind for the technical matter in which he manoeuvres.

EIP Europe LLP

Pan-European boutique EIP’s strength is multinational patent litigation – an area in which outstanding success in recent years has placed it firmly in the 2019 league of continental big hitters. Headline-grabbing work for Conversant – in the SEP litigation battle against Huawei, LG and ZTE that has swept across Europe’s courts – has raised EIP’s profile significantly. The firm is now known as a boutique that punches above its weight internationally, leveraging its expertise and connections to put together a seamless offering. Head of the Dusseldorf office Christof Höhne possesses special expertise in electronics, pharmaceutical and mechanical engineering patent litigation. With experience of working in other top European outfits under his belt, his is the name to dial for well-measured multi-jurisdictional counsel. Partner Michael Munsch brings valuable in-house experience in fields from food to elevators; his involvement in high-profile litigation battles also marks him out as a stand-out practitioner on the German scene.

Eisenführ Speiser 

“Highly professional with a very solid grounding in technology, the firm is a true partner to us – it understands our strategy innately and steers us towards our IP potential.” As this review makes clear, Eisenführ Speiser pulls out all of the stops for clients. The commercially minded boutique combines contentious and non-contentious work with ease, earning its reputation as a “very good, highly reliable” all-around firm many times over. The practitioners are passionate about what they do, taking the time to truly understand the businesses they serve, which are often part of the Mittelstand, and contributing generously to industry education. The firm’s litigation capability is spearheaded by first-rate talent Volkmar Henke; “pleasant to work with, reliable and able to achieve courtroom success”, he brings technical mastery gained as a physics tutor at the University of Hamburg to bear in every brief he touches. At the prosecution end of the practice, biotech adept Manuel Söldenwagner caters to clients seeking a sophisticated perspective on their patent filings; having conducted research in Australia and the United Kingdom, he is able to see things from an international perspective. His partner Klaus G Göken specialises in patents across a wide range of technical fields, from telecoms to electroacoustics and control systems – and brings experience of cutting-edge industry research, having previously worked at IBM and Siemens.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP

The “extremely knowledgeable and efficient” team at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP is, by a competitor’s admission, “expanding very successfully”. “The firm has built up a team of excellent young attorneys and trained them well – its technical depth and dedication are really excellent.” The German division of the global behemoth focuses its attention on cross-border litigation and top-notch transactional work, operating from five offices across the country so as to make it easy for clients to receive face-to-face assurance. Courtroom pugilist and licensing pro Frank-Erich Hufnagel is described as an “excellent litigator”; “competent and experienced, he’s a compelling speaker and a highly reputed attorney indeed”. With three languages and two main technical foci, he is an assured choice for cross-border pharmaceuticals and recommendations matters. Fellow warrior Wolrad Prinz zu Waldeck und Pyrmont regularly supplies elite multi-jurisdictional advice in four languages, flawlessly transmitting his “deep technical understanding” and courtroom class across Europe and the world. On the transactional side of the practice, Jochen Dieselhorst “just has a great attitude to customer service, is technically great and so responsive”. “He understands business well and knows that although you need to be dominant in negotiations, there’s no point beating the other party to death because there won’t be any deal that way.”

Gleiss Lutz 

German full-service offering Gleiss Lutz is a favoured supplier of tailored, multi-jurisdictional patent advice. The firm leverages its outstanding technical capability and all-around legal excellence with skill; both inside and outside the courtroom, Gleiss Lutz is connected to some of the biggest names in the business, with Roche, Hitachi and Boehringer Ingelheim just a few recent M&A clients. Litigator Matthias Sonntag’s “experience sets him apart – you can see it in the way he structures his strategy”. “He has an extremely pragmatic approach,” which has paid dividends throughout a career spent firefighting across a range of technical areas. Herwig Lux enters into a class of his own when it comes to technology transfer, R&D cooperation agreements and IP-related mergers; lawyers on the other side of a deal should never underestimate his quality. Healthcare and life sciences luminary Thomas Bopp continues to be a heavyweight presence at the firm; his name serves as a guarantee of quality for anything that comes across his desk.

Grünecker 

“The biggest and the best in Germany; very few firms can offer the requisite quality across a full range of fields, but Grünecker is certainly one of them.” “Grünecker is one of the big players in prosecution; it has a strong reputation for reliability in filing.” “The firm is very professional, rigorous, well-prepared and enormously experienced in oral proceedings at the EPO.” Competitors and clients alike have plenty to say about mixed IP boutique Grünecker, the vast bulk of which is resoundingly positive. “The partners there provide sound counsel, effective advocacy and are fantastic at combining litigators and prosecutors to form an effective team. They’re technically sharp and easily work through challenging issues.” The firm has so many outstanding practitioners that it is difficult to select the top names, but computer science and electrical supremo Reinhard Knauer must surely be among that number. Listed on both our infringements and prosecution/nullity tables this year, he is “one of the few patent attorneys who has a great understanding of business realities and how the legal aspects can be solved without obstructing the dynamics of a patent transaction”, according to one elite competitor. Ulrich Blumenröder co-leads Grünecker’s litigation practice alongside Knauer – with more than 25 years’ experience, he is an assured choice for complex cross-border battles, especially those with a high-tech flavour. Dual-qualified in Germany and New York, Bernd Allekotte offers deep expertise in SEP cases to those astute enough to enlist his gold-plated litigation capabilities. Although its litigation capabilities are refined, Grünecker’s prosecution practice is the main draw. Klara Goldbach “is a great expert in chemical cases” who can be counted on to “provide finely tuned guidance on European patent prosecution”. “Highly proficient and effective in software patent prosecution,” Thomas Eickelkamp impresses clients with his granular command of the art of drafting. Moritz Höffe’s physics and software mastery shines through in his prosecution and strategic advice – his clear yet nuanced opinions are revered by fellow practitioners. Pan-European patent agent Peter Miltényi shares Höffe’s technical strengths, which he combines with linguistic facility in German, English and Spanish to outstanding effect. Rounding off the prosecution side of the practice, Heike Vogelsang-Wenke holds a PhD in molecular biology – and drafts life sciences patents with all of the technical finesse this implies. Last but not least, transactional titan Gerhard Hans Bernhard Barth continues to apply his vast patent licensing experience to portfolios of all shapes and sizes, with predictably excellent results.

Hengeler Mueller

Combining focus and pan-European spread, Hengeler Mueller’s IP litigation practice is one of the premier offerings of its kind in Germany. A highly specialised outfit set within a full-service firm, the patent infringement team is known for selecting only the finest raw talent to train. The firm’s list of recent clients includes names such as General Electric (via German 3D-printing subsidiary Concept Laser), Saint-Gobain and AstraZeneca – ample illustration of the trust that top companies place in its courtroom capabilities. Leading the line is Wolfgang Kellenter, a litigator of 25 years’ vintage described by a peer as “quick-witted, clever in court and familiar with how judges think”. Cross-border cases of all technical hues fall within his ambit, but complex telecommunications matters are arguably his particular strength.

Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek

New to our firm table this year, litigation dynamo Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek is praised as “one of the leading patent groups in Germany, with an impressive track record and the ability to apply extreme care and deep knowledge to cases”. The young Dusseldorf-based commercial firm does not rest on its laurels, preferring instead to prove its worth to its core Mittelstand clientele time and time again. “The team is very thorough, finds arguments where not many would, and communicates frequently and transparently” according to another satisfied customer. Technical all-rounder Anton Horn is always the first name on the team sheet, with over 14 years’ experience in complex, cross-border litigation matters. “He’s a brilliant patent litigator whose presentation of complex technology to non-technical judges is excellent – one of the leading individuals in Germany. He guides clients through the storm and illuminates the path to success.”

HOFFMANN EITLE 

Prestigious pan-European powerhouse HOFFMANN EITLE undertakes patent work of the highest order. With a strong litigation offering and an even stronger prosecution practice, the firm has the unusual ability to cover all technical areas with aplomb. The team is seen by one leading in-house colleague as “extremely experienced, knowledgeable, realistic and excellent in advocacy – that rare kind of external counsel which you would happily allow to talk directly to senior internal stakeholders”. Such professionalism is based on the strength of HOFFMANN EITLE’s practitioners, many of whom are listed in our tables this year. Chemistry supremo Thorsten Bausch specialises in opposition and appeal proceedings before the EPO; as one peer intimates, “he’s an excellent attorney – very strategic, with profound knowledge of the theatres in which he operates and current case law”. Peter Klusmann leads the chemistry group alongside Bausch, producing crystalline opinions and representing before the EPO with distinction. Also in the chemistry group, Morten Garberg’s opposition practice sits comfortably alongside his familiarity with the English legal system, his affinity with the country perhaps stretching back to his education at Keble College, Oxford. Co-heading the firm’s biotech arm are Leo Polz and Joseph P Taormino. Polz’s subtlety and skill in appeal proceedings have not gone unnoticed by his peers: “He’s attentive and profound when addressing questions, clear in his pleadings and doesn’t waste time with waffle.” The US-educated Taormino excels in genetics and cell biology, giving him an unusual niche which he leverages to fantastic effect; a key client of his this year has been Massachusetts-based biotech whizz Vedanta, a licensee of the University of Tokyo. Joachim Renken straddles Munich and Madrid in his quest for biotech mastery; he switches legal climate with ease, no less effective in one setting than the other. Munich-based Andreas Stefferl completes the biotech team, bringing a dash of industry experience to the mix, having been investment manager at a venture capital firm before joining HOFFMANN EITLE. Moving away from the life sciences arena, Dutch and European patent attorney Frank van Bouwelen’s mechanical engineering skill takes him into areas including sealing systems, ultrahard materials and high-pressure fluid dispensers. Fellow mechanical engineering maven Claus Thomas Becher impresses peers across north-west Europe: “He assists us with oppositions, and I’ve always been struck by his structured arguments at oral hearings – he’s a person who seems ideally suited to what he does.” Last but not least, Veit Peter Frank’s electrical engineering nous has saved many a client unnecessary time and treasure; he makes things simple for non-technical judges in every proceeding in which he takes part.

Hogan Lovells

Hogan Lovells needs no introduction: the full-service outfit’s reach stretches far and wide, especially in Germany where the firm has offices in Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg and Munich. Offering a range of services but arguably most effective when leading complex, cross-border litigation battles, Hogan Lovells are the “usual suspects”, an “absolutely top IP firm in Europe”. “The firm is very large indeed, with a pool of talent to match. It’s got an expert in every niche you can imagine. Hogan Lovells is forward-thinking, prescient in anticipating new trends, and always attempts to lead the discussion.” The contentious practice is led by a *bona fide* legend of the German IP scene: pharmaceutical litigator Andreas von Falck is, as one competitor suggests, “a defining individual in the world of German intellectual property”. There is not a single patent litigator in the country unaware of his presence and importance to the German profession; his advocacy can flip the outcome of a case, which is precisely why he is so sought after. Clients will be thrilled that he is returning to full-time practice this year, after a stint leading Hogan Lovells’s global IP team. The dual-qualified Alexander Klicznik makes a point of being “always available”, ready to spring into action at any time on a cross-border brief in nearly any technical area a client might care to name. Martin Fähndrich is gifted with similar technical versatility and contentious skill: “He has outstanding expertise in all IP topics, tremendous technical proficiency and he understands business decisions. His clear, focused attitude has served us very well; we appreciate each and every interaction.” Contentious and transactional ace Miriam Gundt is also based in Dusseldorf. She is comfortable dispensing counsel in areas ranging from biotech to mechanics and is in especial demand for her knowledge of supplementary protection certificates (SPCs). Rounding off the Dusseldorf office is Stephan Neuhaus, a quadrilingual litigator whose adroitness in presenting strong life sciences arguments is much-appreciated by those who rely on him in court. Over in the Munich office, Hogan Lovells is represented by the one-two punch of Steffen Steininger and Benjamin Schröer. Technical all-rounder Steininger is “renowned and technically adept: a likeable, open-minded character and a team player”. “Convincing litigator” Schröer excels at forming creative strategies for infringement proceedings and also possesses a deep bank of knowledge on the UPC scheme for future-oriented clients. In Hamburg, telecommunications and semiconductors sage Christian Stoll garners rave reviews from clients across Europe. “Extremely bright and adept, he is a pleasure to work with.” “He’s a star individual in Germany – he knows even the smallest details of each case but manages not to get lost in them and presents strongly.”

HOYNG ROKH MONEGIER 

HOYNG ROKH MONEGIER is, according to top-class competitors, an “international boutique – an incredible powerhouse with a range of top talent”. Its combination of size and focus is truly exceptional, as others in the market confirm: “It’s a firm of absolute experts, who work hard and dedicate themselves fully to the matter in hand.” The “array of outstanding litigators” are “always well prepared”, with many featuring in our infringement table this year. Klaus Haft’s reputation is sky-high, with clients and fellow professionals alike keen to share their impressions of him. “Klaus is the best patent litigator in Germany – he’s performed flawlessly for us since day one. His judgement of arguments is elite and he knows judges and jurisdictions back-to-front.” “He’s a fantastic litigator, with great technical understanding. He can turn cases around at a critical stage through his outstanding ability to communicate with judges.” “He’s absolutely phenomenal, incredibly talented and a compelling advocate. His physics background enables him to understand complex technology at a level most attorneys cannot reach.” “He’s 15/10, our main lawyer in Germany. If we cannot instruct him, it’s a sad day for the company.” Christian Osterrieth is a former president of the Licensing Executives Society (LES) in Germany, as well as a first-rate developer of multi-jurisdictional litigation strategies for technology-driven clients. Martin Köhler’s expertise spans telecoms, pharmaceuticals and medical devices; he is, as one overseas peer says, “a real asset to have on your side” when matters become contentious. Another practitioner turning heads this year is Christine Kanz. The life sciences maven is “an excellent, persuasive advocate who has the respect of her peers as well as judges – and she’s also one of the most responsive lawyers out there”. “Christine is an outstandingly strategic counsel whose poise, intellect and communication skills are second to none. She grasps the big picture effortlessly and truly shines in coordinating and guiding an international team of counsel to a common goal.” SEP and FRAND dynamo Tobias Hahn’s all-sector litigation and transactional capabilities are renowned: “His skills are highly developed, extraordinary even,” in the words of one satisfied client. Telecoms titan Kay Kasper’s finely honed counsel is worth its weight in gold – his experience of extracting cutting-edge technology from patent pools pays dividends. Sharing his colleague’s technical focus, Mirko Weinert brings a calm, measured presence that fills clients with confidence. He never misses what is truly important in a case. True luminary Thomas Reimann’s 40 years’ experience in intellectual property adds value in any patent situation; he has seen it all and lived to tell the tale.

Jones Day

A firm renowned for its unity and esprit de corps, Jones Day is a master at pooling expertise across its global offices – meaning that its German clients receive access to the considerable wealth of IP talent that it has built up across the globe. This capability makes it a “go-to firm for pharmaceutical and biotech matters”, sought out for both contentious and non-contentious briefs. Munich-based litigator Christian Paul combines his chemistry prowess with an ability to produce only the finest courtroom arguments, with predictably excellent results. Fellow attorney at law Gerd Jaekel also holds a technical degree in physics, which allows him to properly get under the skin of his subject matter before transforming it into adamantine legal argument. Dorothée Weber-Bruls prosecutes and defends assorted mechanical patents with alacrity: as one recent client explains, she’s “expeditious, professional, honest and clear”.

KARO IP – Kahlhöfer Rößler Kreuels Patentanwälte PartG mbB 

KARO IP – Kahlhöfer Rößler Kreuels Patentanwälte PartG mbB may have been founded in 2018 but its practitioners are no strangers to high-level patent work. Agile, focused and extremely familiar with one another’s styles, the team worked together at an esteemed German outfit beforehand. In the words of one client: “It’s a well-organised, proactive firm that provides profoundly knowledgeable and detailed service”. All three name partners are eminently worthy of recognition in this year’s guide. Mechanical engineer Justus Kreuels’s opinions are always clear and cogent, with the quality of his work earning him a reputation that belies his relative youth. Matthias Rößler has been involved in IP rights protection since 1999; “very active in studying and teaching IP law in various jurisdictions” throughout his career, he is a born innovator when it comes to drafting cast-iron mechanical applications. Hermann Kahlhöfer’s “experience in contractual work and knowledge of negotiation techniques are outstanding”. In addition to degrees in astronomy and physics, he is also qualified to work as a patent assessor.

Kather Augenstein Rechtsanwälte PartGmbB 

Kather Augenstein is a name taken seriously in German IP circles. The young litigation boutique has notched up an impressive list of wins in a short time and is being talked about as one of the elite destinations for heavyweight patent litigants. Name partners Peter Kather and Christof Augenstein are the first ports of call for prospective clients. Technically adroit litigator Kather was described by one participant in our research as “a personal hero and one of the most admired people active today in intellectual property” – a sentiment roundly echoed by the rest of the market. “So friendly, never aggressive – a true colleague in every sense of the word, whose pleading can make all the difference.” “He’s quiet, friendly and excellent.” “His knowledge in a number of fields is unusually specific; he’s an esteemed opponent in high-end cases.” Augenstein is also described as “excellent”, with clients especially keen to instruct him in complex mechanical patent infringement cases of all hues. Co-founding partner Miriam Kiefer adds another dimension to the firm – her passion for medical technology patents and excellent advocacy have not gone unnoticed. “Although she isn’t loud or flashy in court, she is calm, analytical and has a lot to offer strategically.”

KLAKA Rechtsanwälte

“Always accessible, to-the-point and reasonably priced”, IP boutique KLAKA plays to its considerable strength as a pure attorney at law firm. Its focus on contentious matters leaves it free to work with the best patent attorneys; clients know that they will receive “outstanding service with the personal touch” whenever they step through the door. For over 30 years, Olaf Giebe has been gracing IP proceedings across Germany with his “sensible, reasonable and well-balanced” advocacy across all technical fields. One peer deems him “one of the lawyers I most admire – he is so charismatic and absolutely key to the success they have enjoyed at KLAKA”. Another technical all-rounder is Stefan Eck, whose experience in complex patent infringement cases sets him apart. He is “the first choice in any contentious patent matter; his responsiveness, accuracy and the fact that he does all of the work himself rather than palming it off onto a junior colleague are appreciated. He has great courtroom presence, and it is a genuine pleasure to draft briefs alongside him.” With a particular focus on telecoms and SEP cases, Constantin Kurtz is known as “a very astute thinker who really dives into the subject matter, exploring it down to its very roots”. Of counsel Michael Nieder specialises in food and drug law; his hard-earned wisdom adds an extra dimension to everything the firm does.

KNPZ Rechtsanwälte

Transactional specialist KNPZ Rechtsanwälte is an expert when it comes to providing commercially astute, clear advice that always considers the bottom line. The firm does it all – licensing, R&D agreements, due diligence and more – with the utmost vigour and attention to detail. KNPZ’s quality comes right from the very top, with name partners Christian Klawitter and Mathias Zintler embodying its values in their respective practices. Klawitter is renowned as a patent licensing sage with excellent industry connections; his time as president of the advisory board of the LES German Regional Group serves as just one example of this commitment. Technology transfer titan Zintler also maintains a robust infringement practice, specialising in questions surrounding biotech patents.

KÖNIG . SZYNKA . TILMANN . VON RENESSE Patentanwälte . Partnerschaft mbB

The “analytic and experienced” KÖNIG . SZYNKA . TILMANN . VON RENESSE is a patent attorney firm par excellence: unselfish, commercially focused and results-driven, its prosecution and litigation support practices are truly something to shout about. Unafraid to put multiple partners on portfolios to achieve optimal results, the firm is creative, collaborative and agile. Name partner and co-founder Gregor Sebastian König is a patent attorney by trade, but “possesses so much courtroom knowledge that he’s practically half-lawyer at this point”. “He’s one of the few patent attorneys with a strategic, as well as a technical, mind: one of the very finest choices for biotech and pharmaceutical litigation support.” Mechanical engineering maven Max Wilhelm Tilmann is described as “quiet and very focused on detail – he can find a way out of the most difficult situations, which is excellent news for his clients”. Life sciences savant Dorothea von Renesse is a master litigation support strategist, for whom the European Court of Justice has proven a happy hunting ground on three occasions in the recent past.

Krieger Mes & Graf v der Groeben 

Dusseldorf-based boutique Krieger Mes & Graf v der Groeben enjoys a stellar reputation for precise, dynamic patent litigation. Established in 1929 in Berlin, the firm collaborates with the finest technical experts to produce legal arguments that withstand the closest scrutiny, time and time again. Leading the way in terms of market feedback is “big-ticket litigator” Axel Verhauwen, whose practice spans the entire spectrum of patent disputes, with a special emphasis on high-tech SEP cases. “He’s particularly outstanding: he analyses cases superbly, writes brilliant briefs, is excellent with the technology and is just a very convincing barrister-type pleader.” “Axel is a formidable attorney who performs excellently in court – he negotiates strongly and displays plenty of creativity when he needs to.” His partner Jochen Bühling’s all-sector patent litigation and licensing capability also draws praise from peers. “He’s totally qualified and highly experienced. He’s highly accomplished, a pleasure to work with and argues very convincingly indeed.” Technically-adroit litigator Jens Michael Künzel combines his expertise in IP law with a thorough grounding in competition law, producing 360-degree advice that is watertight from every angle. Featured on our luminaries table, name partner Peter Mes brings 40 years’ worth of patent pleading to bear on every case he considers; his opinion is worth its weight in gold.

KUHNEN & WACKER Intellectual Property Law Firm 

KUHNEN & WACKER’s pragmatic, intelligent advice is what clients dream of when they engage a patent attorney firm. With over 40 years’ experience strategising, filing and passing on its knowledge to the wider industry, the firm has built an excellent reputation for forming client relationships that stand the test of time. “KUHNEN & WACKER is an extremely responsive firm whose practitioners are very quick to pick up the phone. Working with the firm is a very collaborative experience; I hold it in the highest regard.” Senior partner Stephan Kopp is the go-to name for prospective clients.

Lederer & Keller

Munich-based patent attorney firm Lederer & Keller is innately client-focused, agile and technically versatile. Its opposition, nullity and prosecution practices are guaranteed to impress, while its relatively modest size ensures that every brief receives abundant partner-level attention. The firm’s practitioners enjoy a fantastic market reputation. Günter Keller specialises in the biotech, genetic engineering and pharmaceuticals arenas; his “considerable involvement” in contentious proceedings before the EPO and Federal Supreme Court marks him out as a top-level patent attorney. Michael Best’s track record in blockbuster pharmaceutical proceedings has earned him deep respect from his peers. “He’s brilliant at keeping briefs concise – others submit longer documents, but he manages to achieve more with far fewer words. He’s also extremely experienced and attentive.”

Maikowski & Ninnemann 

“Maikowski & Ninnemann is one of a small circle of German patent attorney firms adept at working alongside attorneys at law in patent litigation proceedings – it can do a lot more than just prosecution.” This client’s impression highlights the firm’s top selling point perfectly: its “technically excellent, proactive and service-oriented” practitioners are as at home in the courtroom as they are at their drafting desks. This multifaceted approach is exemplified by physics and electrical engineering savant Gunnar Baumgärtel, who holds an LLM as well as being a registered German and European patent attorney. He “provides excellent quality, in pleading and in briefs” and “is a pleasure to work with”. His colleague Christoph Schröder shares a similar technical focus, with his “profound knowledge and personal touch” delighting those who look to him for first-rate filing.

Maiwald 

Maiwald can handle complex, interdisciplinary matters in a way in which few other firms can. In both the contentious and non-contentious spheres, it has a reputation for taking on the most difficult challenges and producing excellent results. The word has clearly got around: Maiwald has an excellent overseas client base, with particular strength when it comes to  attracting discerning Asian companies looking to assert their patents before the EPO. Leading litigator Marco Stief is proficient in life sciences cases. “Very experienced” with “a profound understanding of his clients’ needs”, Stief is described as “an excellent patent litigator: prudent, but aggressive if he needs to be”. His licensing and technology-related contract work is also highly prized, with his “cooperative nature and lack of ego” enabling him to stay cool in the most heated negotiations. His colleague Dirk Bühler is cut from the same cloth – a patent attorney with an eye for strategic portfolio management, he is known as “a very good strategic thinker” with a “calm demeanour” who always seems to be one step ahead of the other side. Christian Schäflein’s prosecution practice spans fields as diverse as process automation, transport and data security; he is a true fount of knowledge on future-facing areas such as AI, the IoT and autonomous driving.

Mayer Brown

Global titan Mayer Brown now has roughly 1,600 lawyers stationed in its offices around the world, having opened a Tokyo office in 2018 to bolster its already-strong Asian offering. Needless to say, this means that German clients have access to a formidable network of world-leading IP professionals – as well as the contentious talent residing in the firm’s three German locations. Mayer Brown specialises in building deep teams, often combining a wealth of technical talent to create a winning formula in the courtroom. Ulrich Worm heads the German IP group. With enough automotive, pharmaceuticals and chemicals knowledge to compete with the very best, he “exhibits the highest level of professionalism, always balancing the technical details of a case with the hard realities of the litigation process”. As one client sums up nicely: “There is no more telling indicator of Ulrich’s value than the fact that we continue to use him after all these years; we are in a position to choose anyone we want, but we’re not remotely considering switching.” His colleague Christoph Crützen has a similarly broad range of technical interests. Regarded as a “skilful negotiator”, he possesses “strong contacts with Chinese clients” that are vital to the ongoing success of Mayer Brown’s German offering.

McDermott Will & Emery

Chicago-based McDermott Will & Emery is a gold-plated option for electronics and high-tech rights holders in need of the finest legal representation in Germany. The firm has its finger firmly on the pulse, with razor-sharp expertise in future-facing areas – including the IoT and medical devices – and invests in outstanding client care to boot. The man in the middle is litigator supreme and transactional scholar Henrik Holzapfel, whose “detail-oriented, in-depth” advice has a habit of delighting clients. “Henrik is an excellent litigator with an outstanding ability to handle cases holistically, managing their strategic and legal elements thoroughly.” “He has a ‘take-charge’ personality, in the most positive way. He has a very balanced approach, does not waste time and innately understands where he can add strategic value.” Fellow courtroom warrior Boris Uphoff also instinctively knows how to play his technical hand when staring into the dealer’s face, having entered into the fray on behalf of Michael Telecom as it faces Intellectual Ventures in one of Germany’s biggest patent cases of recent years.

Meissner Bolte Patentanwälte Rechtsanwälte PartG mbB 

Meissner Bolte balances its litigation and prosecution practices adroitly; the firm’s practitioners are experts in combining their strengths on both sides to produce a superb all-around offering. As one client puts it: “The firm handles matters with the utmost priority, speed and precision; it is high quality, but in no way pretentious.” In 2018 the firm expanded into Ratingen, near Dusseldorf, thereby establishing its ninth German office and giving it the ability to reach clients anywhere in the country. Leading the litigation practice is Tobias Wuttke, a litigation and transactional specialist whose cross-border advocacy is sought far and wide. “He has a fine feel for the law and excellent tactical instincts, as well as high levels of technical expertise and the ability to think analytically.” Electro-mechanical engineer Kay Rupprecht has carved out an unusual niche in naval technology matters, which complements the rest of his versatile practice well.

Michalski Hüttermann Patent Attorneys

Michalski Hüttermann’s prosecution prowess is its foremost attribute. The firm’s drafting expertise extends far beyond simple filing; its practitioners possess deep, granular knowledge of what makes a good patent application into a bulletproof one. Drafting connoisseurs Aloys Hüttermann and Guido Quiram serve as the guardians of Michalski Hüttermann’s reputation. Name partner Hüttermann achieves outstanding results for his clients, many of whom operate in the chemicals sector, whereas Quiram largely focuses on electrical and mechanical engineering matters. “Guido is very responsive, totally clear and extremely thorough; he always strikes the right tone and writes extremely convincing, bespoke patent applications.”

Preu Bohlig & Partner

Offering fantastic geographical reach, tremendous energy and a laser focus on finding the right arguments for any technical brief, Preu Bohlig & Partner is a firm whose reputation is flying high at the moment. With more than 50 years’ experience, it enjoys tremendous name recognition in Germany for all the right reasons and continues to prosper despite the loss of some high-profile partners in recent years. Network technologies authority Alexander Harguth spends much of his time putting together outstanding case strategies that are much appreciated by clients. “He literally wrote the book on German patent litigation, which I happen to consult fairly regularly. He has a wonderful ability to explain the nuances of the German system in a way that makes legal sense to a non-German; just a truly outstanding attorney all round.” Christian Donle’s advocacy is just as prized – his classic, barrister-style pleading always hits the mark in court.

Prüfer & Partner mbB 

Prüfer & Partner’s growth trajectory continues: the firm expanded its Munich offering with a second location in the historic Palais Lenbach in 2017 and has gone from strength to strength ever since. The side prides itself on excellent communication and deep personal relationships; clients cite its “quick, apposite responses” as well as its “high degree of legal and technical awareness”. Just like the firm itself, mechanical engineer Jürgen Feldmeier cannot be confined to either side of the contentious divide. His “strong ability to understand complicated technical matters and provide excellent advice” keeps acolytes coming back for more.

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP

Los Angeles-based Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan does an excellent job of replicating the same rigorous litigation standards that its US clients are accustomed to in its four German offices. With outposts in Mannheim, Hamburg, Munich and Stuttgart, the firm is able to attract German clients seeking gold-plated litigation wherever they may hail from. Even in Germany’s crowded infringement scene, the courtroom advocacy of Marcus Grosch and Johannes Bukow stands out. Grosch’s experience in coordinating multi-jurisdictional battles “sets him apart” according to one peer – clients particularly seek him out for matters where patent law and antitrust law intersect. Bukow brings a rare degree of academic achievement to bear alongside his talents as a litigator; outside his practice, he makes time to lecture at Freiburg University and share his knowledge with the next generation.

rospatt osten pross 

A “traditional firm that has raised decades of young German IP lawyers”, rospatt osten pross is renowned for “excellent work” and a personal, partner-oriented ethos which ensures that every piece of work that leaves the office is immaculate. The outfit’s hard-won strength in litigation is legendary, built on decades of quality and knowledge sharing. This year, rospatt osten pross has moved to new offices in Dusseldorf to facilitate further growth, a move necessary to accommodate the sheer demand for its services in ‘hot’ areas including mobile telecoms and biotech. The courtroom triad of Max von Rospatt, Henrik Timmann and Thomas Musmann attracts clients like nectar attracts bees. Von Rospatt counsels clients across various mechanics, pharmaceuticals and medical fields, and is especially potent when operating in Dusseldorf courts – nobody knows the lie of the land there better than him. “He is strategically very astute, quick to pick up technical issues and a pleasure to work with.” The versatile Timmann is “a brilliant attorney who instinctively understands the technical and legal aspects of a case – one of the true stars in the German IP firmament”. Musmann “has an impressive ability to explain technical matters to non-technical judges and to carve out the key issues; he’s also an excellent, persuasive advocate in court”.

Samson & Partner Patentanwälte mbB 

Samson & Partner’s services range from filing to infringement support and licensing advice, all of which are eagerly coveted by clients seeking commercially focused counsel without the hassle. Founding partner Friedrich R von Samson-Himmelstjerna has over 30 years’ experience as a German patent attorney; an applied physics, IT and semiconductor sage, he has seen enough to form refined judgements on the trickiest patent problems. There is very little that Wolfgang Lippich cannot do in the computer science and telecommunications arenas – he prosecutes, defends and enforces with aplomb. With an impressive track record representing companies of all sizes in EPO proceedings, Tobias Stammberger is the man to call for crafty all-sector patent strategy.

Simmons & Simmons LLP

Simmons & Simmons may be headquartered in London, but its fine-tuned German offering is not to be underestimated. Based in Dusseldorf and Munich, the practice is composed of thoroughbred litigators with a transactional streak; the side enjoys the added perk of being able to draw from the wealth of knowledge invested in the firm’s myriad offices around the world. Head of the German IP practice Peter Meyer has a strong pedigree in the life sciences space and this year has been trusted to undertake work for big-name clients including Bayer Healthcare and Samsung Bioepis. His partner Michael Knospe has meanwhile been extremely busy acting for HTC, in what has been another exemplary year for the electronics and mechanics maven. On our litigation and transactional tables this year is Ina vom Feld, whose proficiency in obtaining preliminary injunctions in multi-jurisdictional life sciences, mechanics and technology, media and telecoms sectors has made her a magnet for discerning clients who cannot afford mistakes.

Taylor Wessing

In recent years, Taylor Wessing has been hard at work diversifying its offering beyond the European life sciences matters that used to occupy much of its schedule. This future-facing drive seems to have succeeded admirably, with ASUS, ZTE and Nichia (IT/electronics) now established clients alongside more familiar life sciences names such as Shionogi, Pfizer and Sandoz. Taylor Wessing has the ability to work smoothly across national boundaries and makes coordinating multi-jurisdictional cases look effortless. Christoph De Coster is especially potent in life sciences disputes, where his “diligence” and “excellent technical understanding” shine through. “He’s extremely experienced and great to work with – he’s accomplished but not in the least bit arrogant.” His colleague Dietrich Kamlah is “outstanding – a go-to lawyer in Germany”. “He’s incredibly detail-oriented and will venture into the weeds without hesitation in order to produce results. He gives sage guidance, he’s creative, he’s super-talented. An absolute star.” Cross-border infringement specialist Gisbert Hohagen holds special sway in life sciences and high-tech engineering proceedings. Transactional titan Thomas Pattloch heads up the firm’s China group, utilising his impeccable Asian connections to build bridges from east to west. Munich-based of counsel Sabine Rojahn established Taylor Wessing’s German IP group and continues to lead the way to this day.

Ter Meer Steinmeister & Partner

Ter Meer Steinmeister & Partner’s legal prowess and extensive experience have kept clients flocking to the firm for over 45 years now. The team of highly skilled patent attorneys who call its Munich and Bielefeld offices home have dealt with it all; each and every practitioner is a secure choice for prosecution, litigation support and strategic IP work. Leading the line are Bernd Aechter and Jörg Riemann. Having penned a doctoral thesis in the field of organo-metallic chemistry, Aechter is a safe pair of hands for pharmaceutical and chemical briefs. He is described as “very cooperative, concise and effective” by another leading practitioner. Riemann’s “considerable experience in relation to infringement proceedings” stands him in good stead to represent clients in semiconductor, domestic appliances and telecommunications cases. Christian Hollatz is a similarly astute choice for life sciences clients of all hues.

Uexküll & Stolberg

Uexküll & Stolberg has the ability to mould itself seamlessly to a client’s needs. The IP boutique offers a full suite of services, from drafting to litigation and validity opinions, and maintains a broad technical focus on the chemistry, life sciences, electronics and engineering arenas. European and German patent attorney Peter Franck is well placed to navigate the choppy seas of cross-border patent litigation, having been involved in a large number of pan-European disputes in his career to date. Heinz-Peter Muth specialises in chemistry matters and is renowned for his “extensive experience and excellent preparation”. Albrecht von Menges is a biotech wizard; his subtle pleading before the EPO marks him out as a true strategist, while his PhD in immunology shows that he is the real deal when it comes to technical prowess. Bernd Janssen brings valuable experience gained practising in the United States to the table, having spent time working in private practice in Chicago and for ExxonMobil in New Jersey and Texas earlier in his career.

UNIT4 IP 

Making its way onto our firm table for the first time this year is Stuttgart-based boutique Unit4 IP, which has recently been wowing clients with its flexible, personalised and top-quality litigation and transactional work. Unit4 already has excellent links with Mittelstand companies in the area and is starting to gain wider renown among larger German firms. Infringement and licensing agreement maven Arno Grohmann is at the heart of the firm’s activities, as one satisfied client attests. “He a truly clever strategist, an excellent litigator and a real game changer. Besides his profound legal expertise, he also has deep technical and commercial knowledge. With his pragmatic and thoughtful approach, he is of indispensable value for us.”

Vossius & Partner Patentanwälte Rechtsanwälte mbB 

Although best known for its market-leading prosecution prowess, Vossius & Partner has recently been making waves in the German litigation world. The firm now has nine attorney at law partners to complement the 22 it boasts on the patent attorney side, spread across four offices in Munich, Dusseldorf, Berlin and Basel. Vossius has been known as “one of the big players” in non-contentious intellectual property for a while, but clients also rave about its “competence, attention to detail and kind manner” whenever it is called upon to coordinate cross-border litigation matters. Vossius is also one of the few firms with the size required to cover virtually all technical fields in serious depth, another attribute greatly appreciated by clients. Its nationally renowned prosecution practice is underpinned by a number of star individuals, many of whom reside in its biotech division. Hans-Rainer Jaenichen is “on top of all the current issues” and possesses special expertise in hot new gene-editing technology CRISPR – a niche that has been keeping him extremely busy this year. Fellow biotech doyen Joachim Wachenfeld co-edits the journal Life Sciences Intellectual Property Review alongside his booming prosecution practice. Educated in Scotland, England and Germany, Jürgen Meier possesses top-level biology credentials: his expertise extends to antibody technologies, small molecule drugs and stem cell technologies. On the physics, electrical and mechanical engineering side of the practice, Elard Schenck zu Schweinsberg and Rainer Viktor command a formidable reputation in the market. A partner at the firm since 2007, the “brilliant” Schenck zu Schweinsberg prosecutes, advises and provides Teflon-coated opinions with aplomb. Viktor is a versatile practitioner who splits his time between medical devices, green energy and software portfolios, among other technical areas. On the contentious side, Johann Pitz is “extremely experienced, with very advanced technical and legal skills”; clients know that only the finest arguments will make it to court when he is in their corner. His colleague Thure Schubert comes across as “sophisticated yet straightforward”, always capable of delivering the knock-out blow to the opposition’s case. Luminary Wolfgang Christian von Meibom has advocacy ability in spades and has made it to the very top of the German patent litigation profession as a result of his courtroom finesse.

Wallinger Ricker Schlotter Tostmann 

Success comes naturally to WALLINGER RICKER SCHLOTTER TOSTMAN. In both the contentious and non-contentious spheres, the firm has had a bumper year: its mixed stable of patent attorneys and attorneys at law have performed extremely well on behalf of clients including Fresenius Medical Care and Vertex Pharmaceuticals. Name partner Michael Wallinger is the first port of call for clients contemplating complex infringement actions – his adroitness in the many fields of mechanical engineering has seen him achieve results before the German Federal Supreme Court time and time again. On the non-contentious side, his co-founder Mathias Ricker combines genuine academic expertise in the life sciences with granular knowledge of what allows a patent application to flourish. Chair of the high-tech practice Michael Platzoeder spends his time distributing pearls of strategic wisdom to clients with the good sense to retain his services.

Weickmann & Weickmann PartmbB 

At the centre of a “well-organised worldwide network”, Weickmann & Weickmann projects “a certain reputation and authority” that shines through in every document it produces and every brief it presents. The blended team of patent attorneys and attorneys at law does everything in its power to build long-term client relationships, on a foundation of unimpeachable work, trust and total transparency. Physics cognoscente Markus Herzog never fails to develop “a very deep understanding of the technology”; he excels at complex prosecution, nullity and infringement support. One client is effusive in their praise. “He’s outstanding – head and shoulders above the rest of the patent attorneys I’ve worked with across the globe over the last 25 years. His counsel is always thoughtful and guided by a ‘client first’ approach; Markus is a top-notch attorney with a down-to-earth attitude who never generates work for its own sake.” Chemistry savant Wolfgang Weiß has capabilities across the IP spectrum, with licensing, strategy, prosecution and litigation support all falling within his competence.

Wildanger Kehrwald Graf von Schwerin & Partner mbB 

“Wildanger Kehrwald Graf von Schwerin & Partner mbB always digs deeper into a case than you might expect, systematically revealing highly relevant new insights.” The pragmatic, knowledgeable team of litigators that call the firm home win praise from far and wide – not only for their legal proficiency but also their “attitude of fair play”. The firm is an exceptionally elite address for complex SEP litigation; in cases of extreme complexity, it has been known to assign numerous high-profile partners to ensure the right outcome for top clients. Peter-Michael Weisse is one such practitioner: a key figure on the SEP and FRAND scene, he has handled some of Germany’s top recent cases. “He’s very exact: fair, sharp-minded and quick-thinking.” “He really gets stuck into his briefs and never considers giving up.” Wolf Graf von Schwerin is “a great patent litigator”, an all-around technical juggernaut with “fantastic case management skills”. Eva Geschke is a source of consummate courtroom quality, a strong advocate with talent to spare. Roland Kehrwald specialises in IT, genetics, electrical engineering and medical technologies cases – a strikingly rare blend of technical versatility. Joerg Schmidt is an expert in border seizure proceedings, which makes him a target for clients wanting more than just outstanding patent infringement nous. Brand-new acquisition Alexander Reetz brings a wealth of FRAND knowledge to the table and looks set to be a client magnet for years to come.

Witteweller

Stuttgart-based boutique WITTEWELLER is “always available and easy to get a good answer from – it has a real depth of technical experience and has become a go-to firm”. The practice is in no doubt as to its mission: as a team of patent attorneys, it files and strategises with skill and relies on an excellent, handpicked network of attorneys at law to do the rest. Stephan Keck drives the firm forwards by leveraging his multifaceted engineering knowledge to produce impeccable drafts, time and time again.

Wuesthoff & Wuesthoff 

Wuesthoff & Wuesthoff holds an important place in German IP history, having been co-founded by the country’s first female patent attorney, Freda Wuesthoff, in 1927. Although its core strength is mainly on the prosecution side, it also enjoys outstanding capabilities in contentious proceedings and is often to be found fighting clients’ corners before the EPO and German PTO. Rainer Röthinger’s expertise in drafting communications systems and software-related inventions is a major draw for technology-rich clients: he’s “fast, professional and reliable” in the words of one peer. Bernhard Thum has honed his skills both in private practice and industry; he brings three years’ valuable in-house experience at Siemens AG to the table, in addition to his tenure at several renowned IP firms over the years. Life sciences supremo Hendrik Wichmann performs as well in complex EPO proceedings as he does at the drawing-board stage.

Zimmermann & Partner Patentanwälte mbB 

Zimmermann & Partner digs deep, unearths ground-breaking arguments and generally brings home the bacon for clients. The firm is “extremely professional and very familiar with the litigation process”; having Zimmermann on your side means having a firm hand at the tiller. Put simply, the firm is accustomed to winning in opposition, nullity and infringement proceedings – and also does an excellent job when it comes to complex drafting, prosecution and freedom-to-operate mandates. At the centre of Zimmermann’s offering is Joel Nägerl, a physics PhD with the ability to represent clients before the upcoming UPC. Clients and fellow practitioners love his technically adroit approach. “Joel is a professional who provides the very highest level of technical expertise in mobile telecommunications proceedings – compared to most other patent attorneys, he has vast experience in litigation.” “He’s a brilliant researcher and destroyer of patents and excels especially in nullity actions.” “He cares not for the cultivation of his own image, but about achieving the optimal case outcome. His expression is succinct, precise and very convincing. I cannot imagine a better professional in his field.” Dominique Gobert “is a skilled and experienced patent attorney”, “smart and capable” with deep knowledge in many branches of physics including automation technology and power systems. Benedikt Neuburger is academically qualified in both physics and economics; an ideal blend of technical mastery and commercial sense, he is an asset to any portfolio he touches.

Other recommended experts

CBH Rechtsanwälte’s Kurt Bartenbach is a licensing and R&D contract connoisseur; his sage advice is worth its weight in gold to his stable of clients. Rolf Claessen of Freischem & Partner is the real deal when it comes to chemistry patent expertise; having trained in patent hotspots Cologne, Dusseldorf and Munich, he brings a pan-German influence to his meticulous patent attorney practice. The “charming and warm” Friedrich Emmerling, newly of Braun-Dullaeus Pannen Emmerling, garners a truly remarkable amount of praise for his infringement and nullity prowess in the electronics and telecommunications fields. “He is one of the most brilliant colleagues I have ever met, and the go-to practitioner in Germany in his field. His accuracy and precision are exemplary, remarkable. He really is an exceptional phenomenon among German patent attorneys – respected by colleagues and judges across the land.” Reed Smith’s Anette Gärtner has been described as “a younger partner making waves – very intelligent and a prominent competitor”. She is dual-qualified to practise in England and Wales as well as Germany, giving her a valuable international edge for cosmopolitan clients. Hosea Haag of AMPERSAND is “very pragmatic, client-oriented, highly knowledgeable and responsive”: in short, any high-value client’s dream litigator. As one explains: “It is the combination of his hard-nosed litigation and his empathetic approach that helps us create win-win outcomes with our opponents.” KNH Patentanwälte’s Christian Heine is a multifaceted physics maven with bags of experience of testing patents’ validity in various European and German arenas. “Technically astute” and “concise” in his arguments, he is favourite of examiners. Bettina Hermann, who works out of VO, “provides excellent and timely advice, always with a kind and helpful manner” in her preferred fields of microbiology, genetics and chemistry. Glawe Delfs Moll’s Christof Keussen is a fantastic choice for life sciences SPC procedures, as one peer was happy to confirm. “A super-bright patent attorney with particular strength in strategy, he is an utter pleasure to work with.” The “extremely committed and highly successful” Friedrich W Klinkert of Klinkert Rechtsanwälte knows all there is to know about the planning and implementation of cross-border strategy. Harmsen Utescher’s Karsten Königer is an “excellent” physics attorney at law with fantastic collaborative skills: as one peer points out, “he’s managed to build up a remarkable patent team in a firm which was mostly known for its outstanding trademark practice”. The “highly experienced” Thomas Kurig at Becker, Kurig, Straus in Munich is an inspired choice for those needing mechanical patent advice of the highest order. His PhD was in the field of control systems but his competence also stretches to MP3 and microprocessor matters. Fritz Lahrtz at Isenbruck Bösl Hörschler is a “top-notch life sciences prosecutor”: “very cooperative with deep expertise”, his counsel is finely judged and sometimes game-changing. Tim Meyer-Dulheuer, of the eponymous Dr Meyer-Dulheuer & Partners LLP, has the ability to offer refined drafting, technical mastery and legal intuition in one tidy package. He is especially sought out for portfolios requiring a forensic knowledge of employee invention law. The “excellent” Ralph Nack at Noerr is especially in demand for complex contentious and transactional work; he belongs to the firm’s healthcare practice group but is also well qualified to advise in fields as diverse as mechanical engineering and telecoms. Dieter Pellkofer of Manitz, Finsterwald & Partner holds a PhD in the field of computer-aided design; his cultured, precise drafting makes it instantly clear why his clients’ innovations are so worthy of protection. CBH’s Martin Quodbach is a formidable opponent in contentious patent proceedings, a multitalented professional who finds time on the side to impart his copyright knowledge to students at the Cologne University of Music. Specialising in solid-state and semiconductor physics, electronics and computing patents, Müller-Boré & Partner’s Carsten Rocke stands out from the crowd for his sheer technical quality. “Experienced and capable in the courtroom with a brilliant history of success,” Christian Schmidt of Manitz, Finsterwald & Partner is a patent attorney whose strength resides in the crystalline clarity of his technical argumentation. Osborne Clarke’s Andrea Schmoll knows how to make patents work to their owners’ advantage. Her experience of shepherding high-value M&A deals across the line makes her a top target for companies that need watertight quality. Michael Schneider is a seasoned professional whose multi-jurisdictional strategic prowess has to be seen to be believed. High-tech and medical devices are his greatest technical strengths – he works out of Pinsent Masons. Julia Schönbohm of Linklaters is widely admired for her success in boosting the firm’s practice in recent years; her team-building skills combine with her finely tuned pharmaceutical and electronics litigation capabilities to make a lawyer everyone wants on their side of the table. 2s-ip Schramm Schneider Bertagnoll’s Michael Schramm is a dual-qualified physics whizz with a deep interest in helping small and medium-sized companies get their IP portfolios off the ground. Norbert Struck of Gille Hrabal is viewed as “very professional, with a long history of outstanding litigation”. His technical expertise centres around internet/telecommunications matters and his area of focus spans the entire non-contentious spectrum. Possessing “extraordinary skills in the area of automotive technology”, Ter Smitten Eberlein Rütten’s Hans Ter Smitten is a safe pair of hands for all manner of contracts with IP dimensions and employee inventions matters. “High technical expertise, precise prosecution and excellent assistance in patent litigation and nullity actions” are the hallmarks of Frank Truckenmüller’s practice, according to one respected peer. His firm, Geitz & Truckenmüller, is renowned for the same attention to detail. Of counsel Paul-Alexander Wacker of Stolmár & Partner began his career in 1975 and has provided sterling patent advice in telecommunications and automotive engineering matters ever since. Haseltine Lake’s James Ward maintains a formidable practice from the firm’s Munich office. His acuity across a diverse range of electronics and communications technologies wins him pan-European renown. Meticulous drafting, contractual nous and impeccable strategic thinking await all who have the good sense to enlist the services of JONAS’s Nils Weber for their trickiest patent snares. Jörk Zwicker at ZSP Patent Attorneys is a life sciences specialist with undisputed excellence in proceedings before various offices across Europe and Germany. He has second-to-none academic credentials and is a former recipient of a scholarship from the German-American Fulbright Commission.

Individuals: infringement

Individuals: prosecution and nullity

Individuals: transactions

  • Christian W Appelt - Boehmert & Boehmert 
  • Kurt Bartenbach - CBH Rechtsanwälte
  • Gerhard Hans Bernhard Barth - Grünecker
  • Peter Chrocziel - Bardehle Pagenberg Partnerschaft mbB 
  • Christoph De Coster - Taylor Wessing
  • Jochen Dieselhorst - Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP
  • Joachim Feldges - Allen & Overy LLP
  • Arno Grohmann - UNIT4 IP
  • Jochen Herr - Baker McKenzie
  • Henrik Holzapfel - McDermott Will & Emery
  • Frank-Erich Hufnagel - Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP
  • Gerd Jaekel - Jones Day
  • Hermann Kahlhöfer - KARO IP – Kahlhöfer Rößler Kreuels Patentanwälte PartG mbB
  • Christian Klawitter - KNPZ Rechtsanwälte
  • Dennis Kretschmann - Boehmert & Boehmert
  • Herwig Lux - Gleiss Lutz 
  • Jens Matthes - Allen & Overy LLP
  • Matthias F Meyer - Bird & Bird LLP
  • Claudia Milbradt - Clifford Chance Deutschland LLP
  • Ralph Nack - Noerr LLP
  • Fabian Niemann - Bird & Bird LLP
  • Christian Osterrieth - HOYNG ROKH MONEGIER
  • Thomas Pattloch - Taylor Wessing
  • Andrea Schmoll - Osborne Clarke
  • Michael Schneider - Pinsent Masons 
  • Marco Stief - Maiwald
  • Constanze Ulmer-Eilfort - Baker McKenzie
  • Ina vom Feld - Simmons & Simmons LLP
  • Andreas von Falck - Hogan Lovells International LLP
  • Mathias Zintler - KNPZ Rechtsanwälte

Luminaries