Germany

Munich, Frankfurt, Dusseldorf and Berlin remain hotbeds of patent activity, and competition among firms to capture a bigger slice of the pie and attract new talent is fierce. However, there has reportedly been a drop in the number of infringement disputes being filed, prompting many to shift their attention from litigation to hot topics such as SEP licensing. FRAND defences have featured prominently in the many hybrid telecommunications and automotive cases that have come before the courts, as both industries continue to navigate the issues thrown up by technological convergence. Like their colleagues across Europe, patent professionals in Germany wait in anxious anticipation of further developments with regard to the proposed Unified Patent Court (UPC). Some remain optimistic that it will soon become a reality; others are more sceptical about its fate; and still others are ambivalent, confident that Germany will remain a crucial patent hub whichever way things go.

Firms: infringement

Firms: transactions

Allen & Overy LLP

Allen & Overy’s German contingent has seen an explosion of multi-jurisdictional activity this year. From multiple patent infringement litigations on behalf of Samsung to advising Eli Lilly on a significant cross-border dispute and providing both contentious and non-contentious support to Volvo, it has not stopped for breath. Overseeing the Samsung and Volvo briefs is the renowned Jan Ebersohl, global head of the firm’s newly formed automotive group. Complementary expertise in telecoms makes him ideally placed to handle the ever-growing number of disputes relating to car connectivity. Taking the wheel on the work for Eli Lilly is Joachim Feldges, who has spent 30 years litigating patents in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology sectors. He heads up Allen & Overy’s German life sciences group and has recently begun tackling cases in the complex new area of CRISPR technology. On the transactional side is the “highly experienced, clear and responsive” Jens Matthes, hailed as “very practical, to the point and a great problem solver”. “When faced with complicated and challenging issues, he is creative in finding solutions that meet clients’ goals and are acceptable to the counterparty.”

Arnold Ruess

A “young and energetic boutique with very high-profile cases”, Arnold Ruess combines the legal nous of a leading international law firm with the personal touch of a smaller outfit. “The team does a great job at keeping an overview, managing the complexity of the case and being a valuable resource when needed. Its business acumen and nuanced approach are greatly appreciated.” It has featured in some of the most precedential actions on the market, including securing the first-ever anti-anti-suit injunction on behalf of Nokia.  The ground-breaking decision will likely have a knock-on effect on car connectivity cases throughout the jurisdiction and beyond, and was masterminded by a team of litigators including Cordula Schumacher and Arno Riße. “Cordula is excellent – very responsive and a compelling advocate in the courtroom.  She really fights for her clients and looks under every stone to improve the case and the written and oral arguments. A great strategic thinker, she gets to the heart of the issues very quickly and is not afraid to suggest radical strategies to ensure that the case is won.” Riße is likewise celebrated by clients, who observe: “His technical understanding is exemplary.” Engaged on high-value litigation for Sanofi is department head Bernhard Arnold, an “excellent litigator with extremely strong technical and legal skills”.

Baker McKenzie

Baker McKenzie’s remit is as vast as its global network and abundant resources. Its growing team of German litigators consistently knocks out the wins for clients in sectors as varied as pharmaceuticals, telecoms and software. One recent highlight was its staunch defence of world-leading cinema technology provider RealD Inc, led by Jochen Herr. Herr is a rare hybrid of patent attorney and attorney at law; the advantages of this versatility cannot be overstated, especially in disputes that require deep technological understanding. His dual education in law and engineering also proves invaluable both in the courtroom and at the licensing negotiation table. Also on hand to offer transactional support is Constanze Ulmer-Eilfort, who has been providing percipient guidance on licensing, collaborations and R&D agreements for more than two decades.

BARDEHLE PAGENBERG Partnerschaft mbB 

BARDEHLE PAGENBERG’s are the digits dialled up by clients of all stripes when facing patent prosecution, infringement and transactions emergencies. Even competitors admit: “If you have an urgent case, they’re always available. They work very hard and can act very quickly.” Founded in 1977, the firm is a favourite of corporations from across Europe, the United States and Asia, in particular within the telecoms, software and electronics spheres; domestic corporates and SMEs that have become world leaders in their fields also feature prominently on the roster. Global A-listers include Apple, for which Johannes Lang, Christof Karl and Tobias Kaufmann have been busy filing at both the EPO and the German Patent Office. Lang and Karl “combine technical expertise with courtroom acumen to deliver great results. Most importantly, they bring good judgement to assessing and helping us mitigate the risks we face in a difficult legal environment. They are thorough, insightful and effective time and time again.” Kaufmann is likewise “very knowledgeable, responsive, professional and friendly”. Other big names include Adidas, for which Hans Wenger and Tilman Müller-Stoy have been prosecuting and defending patents. Wenger is a patent attorney whose wider expertise includes specialist knowledge in FRAND and SEP matters. Dynamic attorney at law Müller-Stoy “has the full respect of his opponents and the relevant judges”; “He has good business sense and his advice is characterised by sound strategic understanding.” On the automotive side, Joachim Mader has been managing Aptiv’s patent portfolio, providing “a high-quality service using a profound understanding of both prosecution and litigation in Germany”. Equally knowledgeable is Johannes Heselberger, whose dual qualification as an attorney at law and patent attorney makes him a smart choice for big-picture briefs; his myriad specialisms include compulsory licensing proceedings in the pharmaceutical and biotech fields. Another practitioner with diverse capabilities is attorney at law Peter Chrocziel. As comfortable engaging in cross-border patent infringement proceedings as advising on complex corporate transactions, he is noted for his familiarity with US law and offers “sophisticated and comprehensive solutions which reflect his clients’ interests”. Finally, the esteemed Jochen Pagenberg has been deftly coordinating multi-lingual, multi-disciplinary teams on landmark patent suits for more than 30 years.

Bird & Bird LLP

According to the industry at large, “there is no question” that Bird & Bird is the epitome of a gold-tier firm. Its German team, comprising almost 50 patent lawyers, benefits significantly from its sweeping global presence and has the technical chops to delight discerning clients such as Canon, Fresenius and Huawei across almost every sector. Leading on the work for Huawei is Christian Harmsen, co-head of the international IP group. For more than 20 years he has spearheaded multinational patent litigation proceedings; as has partner Oliver Jan Jüngst, a “technically astute and knowledgeable” lawyer and a “respected and effective advocate in court”. Key contact for Canon and head of the Munich litigation team Boris Kreye boasts a similar skillset, as the architect of major worldwide enforcement campaigns on behalf of companies from Europe, the United States and Japan. Felix Rödiger is a pioneer in the telecoms sector who was the first to successfully raise a FRAND defence in a German infringement action: “Felix has the capability to act fast in infringement matters. He always has the relevant information and gives the best possible advice to solve the case as quickly as possible.” Matthias Meyer’s many talents include conjuring up wins both in diverse patent cases in the German courts and at the EPO, and in the drafting and negotiation of complex licensing agreements. On the life sciences side, pharmaceutical specialist Anna Wolters-Höhne is a poised performer before the civil courts, the EPO and the Federal Patent Court. Her prowess in the field is shared by “practical and astute” patent attorney Michael Alt: “He is personable and explains things well, and is diplomatic and robust in outlining the benefits and drawbacks to various routes to the desired outcome.”

BOEHMERT & BOEHMERT 

With a stellar reputation for its prosecution practice, BOEHMERT & BOEHMERT has spent the past year building out its contentious division to boost its profile in this area. It is now a persuasive one-stop shop for prosecution, litigation and transactions mandates, thanks also to enhanced collaboration between the Munich and Dusseldorf offices. The key figures on the contentious side are Michael Rüberg and Dennis Kretschmann, who match an “impressively strategic approach” with a wealth of licensing, technology transfer and employee invention know-how. Rüberg is an attorney at law whose coordination of cross-border infringement disputes is silky smooth; whereas patent attorney Kretschmann shines in examination proceedings before patent offices both at home and abroad. A lodestar on the prosecution side is veteran physicist Heinz Goddar; he manages a hefty patent portfolio on behalf of Intel Corporation together with fellow physicist Christian W Appelt, who is the darling of internationally minded players from Japan, China and the United States. Appelt and Goddar are also a talented writing duo whose EPC Handbook – A Guide for Practitioners has proved tremendously popular and was recently published in its fourth edition in Japan. On the life sciences front, Markus Engelhard has expertise in therapeutic biomolecules and pharmaceutically active agents, and this year began managing a large patent portfolio for Novo Nordisk. “Markus has excellent communication skills. He is clear thinking and rigorous in his analyses, and comprehensive in his approach. His excellent analytical skills, eye for detail and lateral thinking are highly valued, and he always provides solutions which meet clients’ requirements while embracing their economic interests.”

Clifford Chance

Whether coordinating cross-border litigation or advising on high-rolling licensing agreements and transactions, international behemoth Clifford Chance combines local insight with a global outlook to superb effect. Its commercially informed approach has instant appeal for domestic, European and global players alike. The IP practitioners collaborate closely with their counterparts on the firm’s potent antitrust practice, in light of the ever-growing overlap between the two areas. “The team provides excellent service, responds very quickly and gives great, business-focused advice.” At the helm in Germany is the “very knowledgeable and responsive” Claudia Milbradt, who makes light work of patent litigation, technology transfer and licence agreements. In the words of one patron: “I worked with Claudia in a case dominated by procedural hurdles and contractual difficulties, which she and her team mastered excellently. Despite lengthy proceedings, Claudia provided us with consistently good support and brought us to a favourable conclusion. I value Claudia not only for her competence, but also for her pragmatism and convincing appearances in court.”

COHAUSZ & FLORACK 

More than 60 years of precision prosecution have made the redoubtable COHAUSZ & FLORACK a firm fixture on the German patent landscape. Traditionally known for its mechanical engineering work, the firm has recently made successful incursions into fields such as electrical engineering and life sciences. This is not least thanks to the efforts of Arwed A Burrichter, who holds a doctorate in hydrocarbon chemistry from the University of Southern California: “He is well known as the chemical and life sciences person to go to in Germany. He is sharp, to the point and very good to work with.” FRAND-related infringement cases are another burgeoning specialty, with Christoph Walke and Gottfried Schüll pairing up effectively on one such dispute. Walke is “absolutely loyal and an excellent team player; he has an extremely high level of technical, strategical and legal expertise”; while Schüll “has the rare ability to predict the outcome of a case, whether positive or negative”. Mechanical engineer Andreas Thielmann is “highly committed to his clients” and has particular expertise in mining technologies. He has been with the firm for more than 25 years and holds the distinction of being an honorary judge in the Senate for Patent Attorney Matters at the Federal Court of Justice in Karlsruhe. Finally, on the electrical engineering side, the standout practitioner is Philipe Walter, who knows how to get results in disputes involving smartphone manufacturers, set-top box manufacturers and automotive suppliers. He also has specialist knowledge of international licensing pools concerning technical standards – especially those for Blu-Ray technology and video-coding methods.

df-mp 

In the 20 years it has been on the market, Munich-based prosecution shop df-mp has distinguished itself for its technical dexterity, turning out impeccable work product on everything from pharmaceuticals to mechanics and electrical engineering. Its patent attorneys – 10 of whom are partners – are regulars at the EPO, the German Patent Office and the Federal Patent Court. Founding partner David Molnia has a total command of the telecommunications and medical technology fields. To quote one collaborator: “I would say that David is the most experienced and sharpest-thinking colleague I work with. His overview of a whole project is outstanding.” Physics and software Dominik Ho maven receives equally effusive praise: “Dominik is probably the brightest patent attorney I’ve ever come across. If you’ve got any technical question, he will answer it in the way that a lawyer understands. He’s got an unbelievable brain.” Yet more impressive talent comes in the form of molecular biologists and founding partners Ulrich Dörries and Sandra Pohlman, both of whom have expert knowledge of supplementary protection certificates (SPCs) and thrive in administrative proceedings. Also armed with SPC expertise is Elisabeth Greiner, who puts her pharmaceutical prowess to use in preparing patent infringement and validity reports.

DLA Piper

DLA Piper’s German office continues on a spectacular trajectory of growth, enjoying its most successful year to date in 2019. Drawing judiciously on the firm’s global network of offices and affiliate offices, it adroitly handles some of the most complex multi-jurisdictional patent litigation on the market, including major work for Aptiv, Harman and Nike. Heading the practice and leading on the Aptiv and Harman briefs is the “very capable, professional and responsive” Markus Gampp – “a mature, meticulous lawyer who provides consistently excellent support”. His sparkling communication skills and encyclopaedic knowledge of German, European and US patent law are highly valued by organisations on the other side of the Atlantic. Standing alongside Gampp is Philipp Cepl, whose arrival transformed the practice in 2017. “He is very efficient, reliable and highly responsive, always keeping an eye on clients’ interests and costs. Before court, Philipp performs vigorously and will always come up with the perfect strategic solution for each case.”

DREISS Patentanwälte PartG mbB 

Stuttgart-based prosecution outfit DREISS is “very professional, timely and terrific to deal with”. It is the trusted confidant of multinationals from as far afield as the United States, Korea and China, as well as numerous domestic SMEs – primarily within the fields of electrical engineering, physics and chemical engineering.  One new client that came on board this year is Bosch Packaging Technology; the pharmaceutical component of its patent portfolio is managed by David Sinz, who comes commended for his creative thinking. Colleague Andreas Pfund is another reliable patent attorney whom clients trust implicitly; the holder of a PhD in semiconductor nanophysics and nanotechnology, he swiftly gets to grips with the most technically complex matters. Completing the trio of expert DREISS attorneys ranked this year is Thomas Knapp, whose hands-on experience in the aerospace industry proves invaluable on the diverse engineering mandates for which the firm is known.

EIP Europe LLP

EIP’s star in Germany is firmly on the ascendant, thanks to polished performances in multinational patent litigation, particularly in the field of electronics. It is playing a crucial role in the ubiquitous Conversant v Huawei spat, which has sparked a web of litigation across the continent. Teaming up on this are partners Christof Höhne, Florian Schmidt-Bogatzky and Michael Munsch, all of whom are well versed in the intricacies of cross-border disputes. Höhne is celebrated for his “collaborative approach and ability to always provide creative, on-point advice”; while the “responsive, thorough and dedicated” Schmidt-Bogatzky “is driven to get the right result and has a great grasp of all details”. The extensive in-house experience of Munsch brings an added dimension to his treatment of multinational disputes.

Eisenführ Speiser 

With both patent attorneys and attorneys at law on deck, “professional and reliable” boutique Eisenführ Speiser is the full package. The swift assembly of interdisciplinary teams tailored to the specific brief and the client’s business goals is a USP that chimes with clients: “Eisenführ Speiser’s assistance has been extremely convincing, precise and timely. The technical knowledge on display, as well as the familiarity with the dynamics of our specific business area, have been outstanding.” This year the prosecution group has been busy filing nationally and internationally for Panasonic; taking charge here is physicist Jochen Ehlers, a “really sharp, technical guy who understands technology well”. A leading consultant on IT and software, he is renowned for his role in the Orange Book Standard case before the Federal Court of Justice, which triggered a hugely influential FRAND defence. Also adept at supporting litigation is Klaus G Göken, who shares his wisdom through his role as North German director of Centre for International Intellectual Property Studies training in European patent law at the University of Strasbourg. Manuel Söldenwagner also passes on his hard-earned knowledge on a regular basis, lecturing not only within Germany, but also as far afield as Japan. Day to day, he manages the patent portfolios of life sciences entities of all shapes and sizes. On the contentious side, electronics expert Volkmar Henke “really partners with clients, understands their broader business objectives, achieves results in litigation and is most pleasant to work with”. Fellow courtroom sharp-shooter Tilman Müller is “great to work with because he understands our business considerations and keeps them at the forefront of his mind”.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP

The boundless ambitions of Freshfields’ German squad are yielding tangible results –competitors acknowledge that “the team is developing significantly”. The firm conducts cross-border litigation and dispenses stellar transactional advice from five bases across the country, with support from its wider network ensuring a joined-up global service. In Dusseldorf, head of patent litigation Frank-Erich Hufnagel is fluent in the technologies that define the telecoms and pharmaceuticals spaces: “A great team player, he is professional before court, does a good job at supervising his team and is great to work with.” Also proficient in the telecoms sector is Russian speaker Wolrad Prinz zu Waldeck und Pyrmont, who knows his way around SEPs; his thriving practices in both IP and competition law complement each other beautifully. The firm is also home to consummate deal maker Jochen Dieselhorst, whose incisive advice on complex IP-driven commercial agreements is in hot demand among pharmaceutical and biotech organisations.

Gleiss Lutz

Full-service outfit Gleiss Lutz provides the full suite of patent litigation and transactional services, including coordinating and engaging in multinational disputes, preparing freedom-to-operate analyses, and advising on technology transfers and licence agreements. As one of Germany’s largest law firms, it has a wealth of resources on tap, which proves hugely beneficial for all clients. Key to the firm’s success is Matthias Sonntag, a litigator who comes recommended by peers for his assured performances in disputes across a diverse range of technical areas, including electronics, telecoms and medical devices. Life sciences players have long relied on the wisdom of Thomas Bopp, whose tenure with the firm is approaching the 30-year mark. On the transactional side, Herwig Lux is on hand to provide sage counsel on licence agreements and R&D collaborations.

Grünecker 

“High-quality scientific and legal expertise, responsiveness to requests for service, clarity of communication, awareness of and adherence to strategic client goals, reasonable costs and proven success in opposition and examination matters characterise the work done by Grünecker attorneys.” The firm has both a gold-tier prosecution practice and a flourishing litigation group, which between them have every technology covered. The prosecution team has won the enduring loyalty of blockbuster clients such as Microsoft and Samsung, both of which are capably assisted by Moritz Höffe, Reinhard Knauer and Thomas Eickelkamp. Höffe is a doctor of physics who has all the right moves in oppositions and appeals, and provides invaluable contentious support. Knauer is a Portuguese speaker with deep knowledge of computer science; this is also the metier of Eickelkamp, who additionally has expertise in areas such as nanotechnology and renewable energies. Also collaborating on the Microsoft brief is Peter Miltényi, who has the distinction of being qualified as a Spanish patent agent. On the life sciences side, Heike Vogelsang-Wenke has been conducting flawless prosecution for almost 30 years and is dually qualified with diplomas in chemistry and biology; while colleague and chemist Klara Goldbach is celebrated for her ability to “deliver consistent, top-quality legal services”. Together, the firm’s patent attorneys are a formidable force. “They are all careful, thorough and creative. It is one of the best teams I’ve worked with,” enthuses one client. On the contentious front, Bernd Allekotte is “very professional, rigorous and well prepared”. “He is a highly effective communicator, has impeccable judgement and has delivered excellent results. He presents very difficult and complex issues simply and clearly.” Ulrich Blumenröder is another standout litigator with useful ancillary knowledge of competition law.

Hengeler Mueller

Intellectual property is a central plank of the offering at general commercial outfit Hengeler Mueller. The rainmaker on the patent team is courtroom commando Wolfgang Kellenter; although best known for his pharmaceutical and telecoms expertise, he has lately made forays into other areas, such as 3D printing and heating and air conditioning technologies. “Wolfgang continues to do outstanding work and is a great partner to collaborate with,” reports one client. “He is clear, responsive and asks the right questions.” Off the back of his illustrious career in patent litigation, he has become a thought leader in intellectual property, lecturing at Dusseldorf Law School and co-authoring the book Patent Litigation – A Global Guide together with colleague Benedikt Migdal.

Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek

The “very strong and reliable” patent team at Heuking knows just what it takes to prevail in infringement and nullity proceedings before the German courts. This year alone it has been duking it out in a medical technology dispute on behalf of ECHOSENS and in infringement proceedings on behalf of packaging leader Brødrene Hartmann, in addition to countless other cases in various sectors. Captaining the patent group is Anton Horn, a litigator whose reputation precedes him. “Anton is a real pleasure to work with. He has exceptional knowledge of the law, the case law and the practices of the various courts. His extremely structured approach allows him to bring the client onboard and to obtain all technical or factual input needed.” “Anton is enthusiastic, very sharp and on top of all the detail. He cares very much about the cases that he tackles and goes above and beyond.” “I would recommend Anton for his qualitative, results-driven work, as well as for his transparency and smooth communication with the client.” For patent mandates that are interlaced with antitrust issues, the firm’s secret weapon is Sabine Dethof: she comes equipped with a doctorate on the subject, and is particularly well versed in healthcare and the life sciences.

HOFFMANN EITLE

Competitors hail HOFFMANN EITLE as “one of the top prosecution firms in Germany, as well as the leader in handling oppositions before the EPO”. Its prosecution stars include Claus Thomas Becher, Joachim Renken, Peter Klusmann and Andreas Stefferl. Mechanical engineering aficionado Becher is “a very distinguished and longstanding practitioner”. Renken is “outstanding” in the life sciences; as is Klusmann, who predominantly focuses on oppositions and appeals before the EPO, the German Patent Office and the Federal Patent Court in the chemical and pharmaceutical fields. Oppositions and appeals are also effortlessly handled by Stefferl, although he moves largely in the biotechnology space; as does Leo Polz, who leads the firm’s biotech group and brings specific knowledge of the cosmetics and paper industries. Likewise excelling on oppositions and appeals are Morten Garberg - a chemist who dispatches up to 20 EPO hearings each year - and molecular biologist Joseph Taormino, whose wider expertise stretches from pharmaceuticals to food chemistry. With a command of English, French and Italian as well as his mother tongue, polyglot Thorsten Bausch is “definitely one of the go-to patent attorneys in Germany for SPCs”. Veit Peter Frank secures cast-iron protection for mobile communications and antenna innovations; while Frank van Bouwelen combines patents with design rights to build unassailable fortresses for inventors. While stellar prosecution is the bedrock of its practice, the patent service at HOFFMANN EITLE is A-to-Z. Fluent Japanese speakers Dirk Schuessler-Langeheine and Clemens Tobias Steins have deep-rooted connections to, and keen insight in, the Japanese market: Schuessler-Langeheine is a litigator, whereas Steins focuses on contracts and transactions, but both spend much of their time counselling Japanese enterprises on German and European patent law.

Hogan Lovells International LLP

Hogan Lovells’ presence in the gold tier of the *IAM Patent 1000* is “unquestionable”, thanks to the complex cross-border litigation it handles from its four German offices. The firm has a pristine track record in some of the continent’s most noteworthy disputes, due to judicious marshalling of its global resources and the sheer quality of its lawyers. Ford, HTC, Spotify, Nikon, and Roche are just some of the household names that have instructed its lawyers this year. The Ford work is masterminded by distinguished litigators Steffen Steininger and Andreas von Falck. The “highly responsive” Steininger pairs automotive expertise with broad knowledge of matters pertaining to 2G, 3G and 4G technology. “He consistently provides strong legal advice, excellent representation and better than expected results.” Von Falck is likewise a “very good patent litigator” who is just as comfortable handling patent nullity matters in court as at drafting and negotiating licence agreements. He has recently been involved in two cases for Roche, working alongside partner Stephan Neuhaus. Neuhaus is a known quantity in the life sciences and telecoms spheres, and regularly conducts parallel litigations across key European jurisdictions. Qualified as both a patent attorney and an attorney at law, Alexander Klicznik brings the heat in technically complex litigation and also analyses large patent portfolios with panache. Another litigator with impressive scientific capabilities is Martin Fähndrich: equipped with dual academic credentials in law and engineering, he is the nemesis of all patent trolls. Miriam Gundt tenaciously pursues infringement suits in the pharmaceutical and biotech spheres, while also advising on licensing and R&D agreements. This versatility is shared by colleagues Clemens Plassmann and Christian Stoll. Plassmann balances his transactional activities with the infringement cases he has been tackling for the last 20 years and is an oracle on all things UPC. Likewise, the “extremely bright and adept” Stoll gets lucrative deals inked alongside his thriving infringement practice; he is described as “a star individual in Germany”. Rounding out the unit is ace patent litigator Benjamin Schröer, who also advises on employee invention law.

HOYNG ROKH MONEGIER 

Europe’s biggest IP boutique, HOYNG ROKH MONEGIER is “precise and creative, with a fantastic team who all deliver top-quality work”. “Their legal skills and patent litigation experience are outstanding, while their ability to understand complex technology and to engage in direct discussions with engineers is impressive. They also have a very good understanding of complex business needs and their advice is always down to earth and practical.” One noteworthy client is Apple, for which Tobias Hessel, Klaus Haft and Mirko Weinert have been handling a multilayered global dispute. As well as acting in infringement suits, Hessel spends his time fighting in parallel opposition and nullity proceedings at the EPO; Haft is an “excellent litigator” with dual qualifications in law and physics; while Weinert relishes the cut and thrust of multi-jurisdictional litigation in the fields of information technology, medical devices and telecommunications. The telecoms space is also the spiritual home of Stefan Richter and Kay Kasper, who have recently been doing battle for Huawei in extensive patent infringement proceedings before the regional courts of Dusseldorf, Mannheim and Munich, with parallel proceedings taking place in the United States. Richter has experience across the pond both academically and professionally, having earned a postgraduate law degree at the University of Michigan Law School and worked for an international law firm based in Chicago. Kasper is “one of the best to turn to in respect of complex patent disputes” and is known for his adroit coordination of SEP-related litigation. “Kay’s negotiation skills, particularly for complex and multifaceted matters, are unmatched.” Tobias Hahn dreams up robust FRAND and antitrust defences for international telecoms companies: “The keys to his success are his analytical skills and ability to think outside the box and adopt new perspectives, which result in compelling arguments and winning strategies. He also knows the legal playgrounds – both national and international – and, equally important, the needs of an international business. In combination with his attention to detail and business-mindedness, this makes him an outstanding attorney that any client can confide in.” Also garnering glowing notices is Christine Kanz: “Dr Kanz is a superb attorney, a brilliant strategist and an incredibly articulate advocate who quickly integrates herself with an international business and legal team. Her manner of communication allows all team members, irrespective of nationality, to work together to achieve a common purpose. In the German courts, she is held in the highest esteem; she knows the judges and she knows how best to argue a case.” “Her knowledge, advocacy and tenacity are second to none.” Peers and clients alike have nothing but praise for Christian Osterrieth and Martin Köhler, both of whom regularly share their expertise with students at various academic institutions. Litigation and licensing maven Köhler also acts as a visiting lecturer at Hagen Law School; while Osterrieth serves as chairman of the IP Committee of the German Bar Association. An elder statesman whose influence continues to ripple through the firm is Thomas Reimann: he has charted the evolution of the German patent landscape for almost five decades.

Jones Day

US titan Jones Day is tipped as “the go-to firm for pharmaceutical and biotechnology matters, with a very knowledgeable team”. The experience and backgrounds of its practitioners are wide and varied, as reflected by showings in all three tables of the IAM Patent 1000. Lawyer and scientist Christian Paul gains entry to the infringement table for his supreme grasp of suits involving chemistry, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology. Featuring in the prosecution table is Dorothée Weber-Bruls, head of the physics team across Germany and Europe. Over a career spanning almost 30 years, she has drafted meticulous applications in cutting-edge spaces such as nanotechnology, autonomous vehicles, medical devices and AI. In the transactions table is another physicist, Gerd Jaekel, who advises on lucrative M&A and IP financing transactions and conducts IP portfolio and risk management, as well as maintaining his litigation practice. “He is excellent, very creative and comes up with lines of argument that not even his own clients have in mind.”

karo IP Patentanwälte Kahlhöfer Rößler Kreuels PartG mbB 

Automotive and smart technology are happy hunting grounds for karo IP: the firm has caught the eye of numerous household names in both spaces and operates fluently at the intersection of the two. The expert validity and infringement opinions of founding partner Matthias Rößler come laced with “deep knowledge”; his “practical and efficient way of working” also proves invaluable in opposition proceedings. Co-founder Justus Kreuels is well versed in automotive and computer science technologies; like Rößler, he provides insightful infringement and validity opinions. Also present is sage veteran Hermann Kahlhöfer, who manages portfolios involving everything from engines to textile machines and power generation with a deft touch.

Kather Augenstein Rechtsanwälte PartGmbB 

“Remarkable” firm Kather Augenstein has a “laser-sharp focus” on IP litigation. Its lawyers can weave a compelling narrative and effortlessly distil complex technical issues down into simple terms - skills which resonate with blockbuster clients such as Audi, Volkswagen and Porsche. All six partners listed in the IAM Patent 1000 have played a role in sprawling litigation for the automotive A-listers, including namesakes Peter Kather and Christof Augenstein. Kather has racked up the wins in hundreds of patent infringement cases before the district and higher regional courts and the Federal Court of Justice, as well as in opposition proceedings before the EPO; while Augenstein is “a true strategist with a deep understanding of judges’ thinking”. Practising alongside the eponymous pair are Christopher Weber, Alexander Haertel and Miriam Kiefer. With all the answers to FRAND and SEP questions, Weber has a “can-do attitude and a willingness to work tirelessly for clients”. Haertel is a founding member of the firm who is “always available and ready to provide a thorough analysis of the situation and possible solutions”. Kiefer “is extremely knowledgeable, skilled and a good communicator,” enthuses one client. “She provides clear and easily understandable recommendations and has been excellent at looking not only at intellectual property, but also at our business interests more broadly.”

KLAKA Rechtsanwälte

Boutique KLAKA offers an “outstanding service with a personal touch” from twin bases in Munich and Dusseldorf. It assembles agile, flexible teams to tackle infringement suits across all industries, alongside regular oppositions, nullity and cancellation proceedings before the EPO. Star litigators include Olaf Giebe and Constantin Kurtz, both of whom are familiar faces at the Federal Patent Court. Giebe is a technical renaissance man with an intuitive understanding of everything from pharmaceuticals to materials science, vehicles and bicycles. Kurtz has been kept busy of late on significant SEP-related matters on behalf of WIKO, while also gaining new automotive and construction clients. Stefan Eck guides biotech research companies through intense negotiations with multinationals; while founding member Michael Nieder dispenses sage advice on patent infringement and the related areas of unfair competition law and food and drug law.

Klinkert Rechtsanwälte PartGmbB

“Hardworking and diligent, the Klinkert team are terrific strategists with deep technical understanding.” The firm combines its own superior legal expertise, with the dense scientific know-how of connected patent attorneys and an extensive network of affiliate firms abroad, to superb effect. Namesake Friedrich Klinkert is a “hands-on yet subtle lawyer” with “great knowledge which combines the related areas of patents and trade secrets”. Along with his partner Philip Ess, he is a shrewd coordinator of complex international litigation. Ess, like Klinkert, has a fine-grained understanding of both patents and trade secrets, and a flair for the fine print of licensing agreements. Nora Keßler impresses for her “sharp strategic thinking and excellent language skills”: fluent in Italian, she has become a vital point of contact for clients from the jurisdiction. “She not only provides thorough legal advice on the procedural law practice, but also crafts creative arguments and success-oriented suggestions for defence strategy. Nora is smart, very knowledgeable and pleasant to work with. She can present complex ideas in a clear and understandable manner and is quick to respond to enquiries.”

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

KÖNIG . SZYNKA . TILMANN . VON RENESSE is characterised not only by its creativity and ability to think outside the box, but also by its collaborative approach: its lawyers dovetail seamlessly with each other to find the best solutions to even the trickiest briefs. The firm regularly engages in oppositions and appeals, and also provides contentious support, turning out highly technical, meticulous work product informed by a variety of perspectives. Effective strategy is mapped out by carefully assembled teams that blend the diverse talents of partners, including life sciences mavens Gregor Sebastian König and Dorothea von Renesse. König has recently tackled some blockbuster pharmaceutical litigation; while biochemist von Renesse shines for her advanced grasp of  SPCs. For mechanical engineering matters, Max Wilhelm Tilmann boasts insider industry insight from a stint in a German chemical group and in the wind turbine segment of a large British electrical power group.

Krieger Mes & Graf v der Groeben 

A mainstay of the German IP scene for close to a century now, Krieger Mes & Graf v der Groeben stands out for its pioneering patent litigation work, incisive portfolio advice, on-point evaluation of IP rights and flawless contract drafting. Informed by more than 40 years’ experience in the game, the writings of founding partner Peter Mes are some of the most widely referenced and respected around - in particular, his commentary on the Patent and Utility Model Act. The esteemed patent professionals who take their lead from Mes include Axel Verhauwen, a “high-quality litigator” who dukes it out in infringement proceedings on behalf of global electronics companies. He has special expertise in SEPs and his bulging contact book comes in handy when coordinating cross-border matters. Jochen Bühling is another courtroom heavyweight who also shares his knowledge by teaching at the University of Munster and authoring the German chapter of Global Patent Litigation. Finally, the group benefits from Jens Michael Künzel’s expertise on design and unfair competition matters, which complements his patent infringement practice.

KUHNEN & WACKER Intellectual Property Law Firm 

Based in Freising, KUHNEN & WACKER provides far-sighted, client-focused patent prosecution services to innovators across all sectors, from pharmaceuticals to mechanical engineering. Whether conducting patent searches, portfolio management, due diligence or freedom-to-operate analyses, it operates with percipience and finesse; it also has all the answers to competition law questions. The trusted allies of companies not only from within Germany and Europe, but also from as far afield as Asia and North America, its attorneys regularly collaborate to ensure a perfectly tailored service. Many have hands-on experience as R&D engineers, which means they speak the language of their clients and intimately understand their needs.

Linklaters LLP

Linklaters makes its debut in the German listings this year thanks to growth in both its Frankfurt and Dusseldorf offices and the victories it has clinched in high-profile patent litigation. Its star-studded client roster includes worldwide leaders in pharmaceuticals, telecoms and semiconductors, among others. A global enforcement campaign for Seoul Semiconductor is being managed by partners Julia Schönbohm, Bolko Ehlgen and Atif Wolfgang Bhatti, involving action in Germany and the coordination of litigation strategy in other jurisdictions, including parallel European proceedings and US litigation. Schönbohm “is very skilled as a lawyer – quick and very passionate. She does not stop at the first obstacle and she is capable of creative and holistic solutions.” Ehlgen and Bhatti are similarly adept at courtroom manoeuvres: usefully, Ehlgen is also admitted to practise in New York; whereas Bhatti is a go-to for SEP and FRAND matters in the automotive and telecoms sectors. “For a lawyer, Atif has particularly well-developed technical expertise. This enables him to capture the cases not only from a legal but also from a technical point of view, and to develop convincing arguments. Furthermore, he always incorporates the business context into his advice and thus demonstrates profound commercial awareness.”

Maikowski & Ninnemann 

The star of Maikowski and Ninnemann remains firmly on the ascendant - as evidenced by its recent decision to open a Frankfurt base to support its three thriving offices in Berlin, Munich and Leipzig. While they excel at original drafting and filing, many of its patent attorneys have lately shifted their focus to providing technical support in infringement proceedings. In the words of one collaborator: “Maikowski & Ninnemann is in my view the strongest patent attorney firm for patent litigation in Germany. I have litigated dozens of patents together with them over the past 10 years and they have always done an incredible job. When the going gets tough, they are the type of guys you want to have on your side.” The group has played a key role in litigation on behalf of Broadcom, LG Electronics and Vodafone, which has been managed by Gunnar Baumgärtel, Ralf Emig, Andreas Tanner and Felix Gross. Baumgärtel is a physicist who has chalked up more than two decades at the firm; while mechanical engineer and polyglot Emig can communicate with clients in English, Spanish and French, as well as his native German. Tanner’s technical nous encompasses everything from electrical engineering to software and medical systems; while chemical engineer Gross shares his knowledge by teaching patent law at both the Technical University Berlin and ETH Zurich. Fellow chemical engineer Christoph Schröder is also academically renowned, boasting a doctorate from the Georgia Institute of Technology – he is a smart choice for prosecution tasks on behalf of clients domestic and foreign alike.

Maiwald Patentanwalts- und Rechtsanwalts-GmbH 

When clients engage Maiwald, they gain instant access to the services of its talented troop of patent attorneys and attorneys at law. This streamlined approach is rare in the jurisdiction, but it proves immensely popular with clients: “Maiwald is our preferred firm regarding all IP-related questions. We particularly value their understanding of our technology and products, and the creativity and responsiveness with which they approach all our questions. Beyond being brilliant lawyers, they apply a hands-on mentality and a very practical approach, which leads to efficient and valuable solutions. We think that the diversity of Maiwald’s team brings particular benefits - not only do they have engineers and scientists with a broad range of specialties in their team of patent attorneys; they also have a large team of very experienced IP lawyers bringing in additional legal expertise, especially in the area of litigation and IP contracts.” The lawyers here include Marco Stief, who “brings great technical understanding and a very outcome-oriented and practical approach to any project, is always very responsive and has a brilliant strategic mind”. “He is very convincing in court and always thinks one step ahead.” Patent attorney Christian Schäflein is “invaluable when it comes to portfolio and prosecution strategy”; in-depth knowledge of US and European litigation rules and procedures makes him a useful asset for clients seeking a global perspective. Eva Ehlich is another wise choice for international briefs – her focus is on advising innovative US and Japanese pharmaceutical companies on filing strategies and worldwide portfolio management. Further pharmaceutical nous can be found in the form of Andreas Ledl, who gives “exceptional strategic advice”; and SPC maestro Dirk Bühler, who has co-edited European handbook Supplementary Protection Certificates. He loves diving into the nitty-gritty of complex oppositions before the EPO; as do chemistry specialists Derk Vos and Norbert Hansen. Vos’s technical hotspot is organic and inorganic chemistry, encompassing everything from pharmaceuticals to pesticides, lubricants, oil recovery and coatings; while Hansen excels in the fields of chemical engineering, materials science and semiconductors.

Mayer Brown

US law firm Mayer Brown has established a firm foothold on the German patent scene through its bases in Frankfurt and Dusseldorf. Seamless coordination of major cross-border patent litigation in sectors ranging from pharmaceuticals to telecoms is a hallmark, under the watchful direction of office heads Ulrich Worm and Christoph Crützen. Many of the team come armed with technical degrees and industry experience in areas such as computer science, mechanical engineering, microbiology and chemistry. For instance, Worm’s chemistry background informs his litigation and transactions work – he is currently engaged in multi-jurisdictional proceedings on behalf of Guangdong Alison Hi-Tech Co, a manufacturer of aerogel sheets. Stationed in the Dusseldorf office, master strategist Crützen is a particular favourite of the firm’s Chinese clients. The litigator par excellence also has an active transactional practice, advising on mergers and acquisitions, collaborations, joint ventures and other commercial arrangements.

McDermott Will & Emery

Cross-border litigation is meat and drink to McDermott Will & Emery’s German patent contingent, which marries broad industry knowledge with rich IP expertise and a resolutely commercial outlook. The last year has seen the firm juggle high-stakes suits in the telecoms and medical devices fields with a host of complex licensing work for leading international automotive suppliers. The secrets to its success are visionaries Henrik Holzapfel and Boris Uphoff. Holzapfel “has a holistic approach, combining the view on the legal and economic aspects of the cases. He can look at complicated issues as a whole, seeing the important issues and resolving them. His negotiation skills are very good and in the courtroom Henrik is also very skilled – he is always very clear in his presentation, and very good both on infringement cases and invalidity actions.” English-qualified Uphoff likewise garnered rave reviews from clients: “Boris is very straightforward, which I really appreciate. He tells you what you need to hear, rather than what you want to hear. His analyses have been spot-on and he has also been creative in a positive way.” “He is a very professional and dependable IP litigator who anticipates the opposing side’s next moves. If something unexpected happens, he deals with it. He is familiar with the courts and judges and knows what to expect.”

Meissner Bolte Patentanwälte Rechtsanwälte PartG mbB 

One of the select few firms in the jurisdiction that is home to both patent attorneys and attorneys at law, Meissner Bolte has been going gangbusters on both the prosecution and infringement fronts of late. Its seven offices across Germany (supported by an eighth in Halifax, England) are processing a deluge of instructions: some 50 pending patent litigations are being handled by the contentious team, on top of the firm’s equally prolific prosecution output. The varied remit of consummate litigator Tobias Wuttke also includes portfolio analysis, construction and utilisation, as well as the elegant drafting of technology transfer and R&D agreements. Meanwhile, the star on the prosecution side is Kay Rupprecht, an electrical engineer who has been appointed as an honorary judge of the Senate for Patent Attorney Matters at the Munich Higher Regional Court. Wuttke and Rupprecht are applauded as “reliable, experienced, and great experts in their respective fields”.

Michalski Hüttermann Patent Attorneys

Michalski Hüttermann enjoyed a banner year in 2019, not least thanks to the opening of two new offices in Essen and Frankfurt. The impeccable standards upheld by its committed and technically capable patent attorneys have new and existing clients alike flocking to its doors. First among equals is named partner Aloys Hüttermann, a doctor of synthetic organic chemistry who can foresee and plan for all eventualities in EPO opposition proceedings. Alongside him is the acclaimed Guido Quiram, another regular visitor to the EPO: “Guido is a very innovative patent attorney and open-minded person who has an ability to grasp facts from a legal point of view, while always taking the economic context into account. He is able to think outside the box and has passion and a dedication to maintaining quality.”

Osborne Clarke

Osborne Clarke’s deep understanding of clients’ businesses and the markets in which they operate has earned it a sterling reputation throughout Europe and beyond. Four of the firm’s 24 offices are located in Germany and each is a magnet for high-level infringement and transactions instructions. The contentious practice benefits from the expertise of Johannes Ballestrem, who has a complete command of the automotive supply industry and keen insight into all things digital. Commercial mediator Tim Reinhard can talk the talk and walk the walk when it comes to the life sciences, telecoms and media sectors. Gifted deal maker Andrea Schmoll has many strings to her transactional bow, including significant experience on technology transfer agreements, R&D projects and the protection of trade secrets.

Preu Bohlig & Partner

A mainstay of the German market for more than 60 years, Preu Bohlig is home to 30 attorneys at law working from four offices located throughout Germany and a fifth in Paris. Telecoms is a stronghold for the firm, which this year went out to bat for Huawei in myriad infringement and nullity proceedings against various NPEs. Leading the charge here is Christian Donle, who also lectures regularly as an honorary professor at a university in Berlin. This eminent mind proves a formidable opponent – one rival remarks: “Donle is one of the few lawyers I’m scared of, because he has brilliant ideas. He’s an exceptional character who makes me think.” Another big-name client at the firm is Hewlett Packard Enterprises, which cosmopolitan attorney at law Alexander Harguth is representing in a complex web of patent infringement suits. He is frequently on his feet at the EPO and the Federal Patent Court; network technologies are a speciality.

Prüfer & Partner mbB 

Nimbly straddling the contentious/non-contentious divide, full-service outfit Prüfer & Partner has all bases covered when it comes to patent protection and enforcement. “The firm has technically proficient and skilled patent attorneys, and in addition to this, they are also well versed in the law. This places them in a relatively unique position where European and German patent prosecution are concerned – particularly in opposition proceedings.” “The overall level of its services is excellent. Its response is always very quick and its ability to understand and analyse legal and technical issues is high.” Managing partner and patent attorney Jürgen Feldmeier shines in the fields of mechanical engineering and automotive technology, and wins plaudits for his “expert opinions and comprehensive consultancy”: “He has a strong ability to understand complicated technical matters, provide appropriate advice and act with urgency.” Like Feldmeier, fellow managing partner Dorothea Hofer provides decisive support in contentious scenarios; her technical know-how is underpinned by industry insight gained working for Siemens in the area of semiconductor physics. Patent drafting, oppositions and appeals, and contentious support are all in a day’s work for Andreas Oser; the “smart and reliable” biochemist boasts sparkling academic credentials, having completed a PhD and postdoctoral studies at the Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry.

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP

“Quinn Emmanuel stands out from the crowd in terms of electronics and telecommunications. It is outstanding and is present in all the major litigations.” The esteemed litigators at the heart of its German operation are Marcus Grosch and Johannes Bukow, whose both practise at the intersection between patents and antitrust law. Pharmaceuticals, medical devices and high tech are all within the purview of Grosch; while the similarly versatile Bukow has committed his expertise to print in textbook The Patent Law Handbook.

rospatt osten pross 

From its two offices in European patent litigation hotspots Dusseldorf and Mannheim, rospatt osten pross handles more than 100 suits each year for the likes of Samsung Biologics, Samsung Electronics, Siemens and British Petroleum. Its expert practitioners are “good communicators who work well as a team”. Named partner Max von Rospatt has the tech locked down on everything from mechanical engineering to pharmaceuticals; peers observe that he is “brilliant at finding modern solutions”. Rising star and SEP specialist Hetti Hilge “is open-minded, works very thoroughly and has a good style of pleading that makes a great impression on judges. With her, a case is in good hands”. Henrik Timmann “sticks out as one of – if not the – top attorney in the field of patent law. He is sharp-minded, full of profound legal expertise and experience, and has an astonishing sense for technically complex matters. His writs and pleadings are crisp, crystal clear and to the point. He is fast, efficient, respected by his peers and feared by his opponents. Dr Timmann wants to understand every technical detail and in the meantime knows the underlying science, which means he can focus the litigation to the relevant and promising arguments.” Further contentious firepower comes in the form of IAM Patent 1000 Thomas Musmann, who keeps a cool head in must-win cases; his offensive and defensive strategies are well regarded by judges and opponents alike.

Samson & Partner Patentanwälte mbB 

The agile, quick-thinking practitioners at Samson & Partner love nothing better than diving deep into the technical nitty-gritty, but they can turn on a sixpence when the occasion demands: “The attorneys are able to change their line of argument during oral proceedings when advisable, depending on how they develop – even in technically complex cases. This is a skill rarely seen.” Founding partner Friedrich R von Samson-Himmelstjerna sets the tone from the top: he has “a very sharp technical understanding and discusses topics until the very last doubts have been dealt with”. Colleagues include physicists Tobias KW Stammberger and Wolfgang Lippich. Stammberger has a first-hand appreciation of the client’s perspective from a stint at a major multinational electrical engineering group; while Lippich is literally a nuclear physicist, having earned his doctorate in experimental particle physics at CERN.

Simmons & Simmons LLP

UK juggernaut Simmons & Simmons has carved a firm foothold on the German patent scene, thanks to its poised performances in high-stakes patent infringement suits and the “perfect communication” it maintains with clients. Rainmaker Peter Meyer is a “strategic and insightful” litigator who is “excellent” for matters with a competition element. Michael Knospe is “impressively responsive, logical and detailed in his advice, and very patient with professionals with limited experience in the region”. He thrives on complex cross-border SEP suits for companies such as HTC, and also has niche expertise in gambling and gaming.

Taylor Wessing

When technology and life sciences companies find themselves facing existentially consequential litigation, they call up Taylor Wessing. With offices throughout the continent, the firm has boots on the ground in all of Europe’s patent hotspots; this impressive reach proves a comfort for Japanese, Chinese and US clients embroiled in European patent disputes. This year alone it has worked its magic for the likes of Mylan, Valeo and ZTE in nullity actions, infringement disputes and FRAND cases. On the life sciences side, two relentless warriors are Christoph De Coster and Gisbert Hohagen, both masters of cross-border litigation. De Coster also regularly brokers IP-related transactions, while Hohagen appears in administrative proceedings before the EPO and the Federal Patent Court. Also well-versed in the life sciences, but also with a broad knowledge of IT, is Dietrich Kamlah, who dedicates time to both advising on licensing law and tackling disputes. Roland Küppers is another smooth coordinator of multi-jurisdictional litigation involving everything from automotive and electronic engineering innovations to medical devices; he also has expertise in the adjacent area of unfair competition law. Heading the IP division of Taylor Wessing’s China group, Thomas Pattloch regularly shuttles between his Munich base and the Beijing and Shanghai offices. He is a conduit for Chinese clients that become enmeshed in litigation in Europe, and for European companies making forays onto the Chinese market. Finally, Sabine Rojahn is something of a grande dame of the patent litigation scene, having secured numerous ground-breaking decisions over more than 30 years appearing in the continent’s courtrooms.

Uexküll & Stolberg

Uexküll & Stolberg may be compact, but it punches well above its weight across the patent spectrum. With experts available whatever the technology, backed up by an extensive network of associate attorneys worldwide, the firm has all the skills and know-how needed to provide a comprehensive offering. Albrecht von Menges and Heinz-Peter Muth have been partners of the firm since 1999 – von Menges spends his time prosecuting life sciences patents and has keen technical acumen in biochemistry and genetics; while Muth is a chemistry whizz. Both regularly appear in oppositions and appeals at the EPO; as does colleague Bernd Janssen. He has valuable insight of the US patent landscape and the needs of US inventors, having worked across the pond for companies in Illinois, New Jersey and Texas.

UNIT4 IP 

Transactional nous comes by the truckload at UNIT4, which stands out for its exquisite drafting and silky negotiation of licensing agreements, R&D agreements and non-disclosure agreements. It has also recently built up the contentious side of its practice, engaging in patent infringement proceedings and cooperating with renowned external patent attorneys to handle nullity proceedings. Executing flawlessly in both spheres is Arno Grohmann, who delights clients for his skill and attentiveness: “He excellently navigates complex litigation matters and is essential for us as litigator in the German courts, especially in the context of comprehensive multinational disputes. With his profound legal and technical knowledge and his dedicated attitude, he is extremely pleasant to work with.”

Vossius & Partner Patentanwälte Rechtsanwälte mbB 

Already a titan of the prosecution space, Vossius & Partners has been steadily gaining ground on the litigation front and now has a contentious arm to match, with 13 courtroom sharp-shooters on deck. Clients appreciate their no-nonsense, outcome-oriented style: “Their approach is honest and they avoid promising unachievable results, providing objective analysis and suggestions instead. They realistically highlight strengths and weaknesses, advising us on the best way to successfully proceed.” “They are extremely competent, easy to cooperate with and very quick.” Kai Rüting “is one of the best German patent litigators I have worked with,” declares one client. “He has a very strategic mindset and will come up with the right answer to any questions which may arise throughout litigation. He is a true team player and always keeps an eye on business needs. He definitely knows what he is doing.” Beside Rüting on the front lines are Thure Schubert, Georg Rauh, and Johann Pitz. Complementing his thriving infringement practice, Schubert often teams up with patent attorneys in opposition and revocation proceedings before the EPO. Rauh “is a brilliant litigator who provides straightforward, business-orientated advice. He is very creative and always thinks outside the box when planning for litigation. In court, he is quick-thinking and very assertive”. Pitz is likewise hailed for his “extremely high technical and legal skills”. On the prosecution front, the firm has been busy handling multifaceted mandates for pharmaceutical giants Merck and Roche, in addition to major telecoms corporations. The work for Roche – encompassing strategic advice as well as representation in administrative proceedings – is being tackled by biologists Hans-Rainer Jaenichen and Jürgen Meier. Jaenichen is an expert in DNA molecules, enzymes and antibodies; while Meier’s supreme biotech know-how has seen him appointed as chair of the International Association for the Protection of Intellectual Property Biotech Committee. Joachim Wachenfeld is another master biologist who has been with the firm for more than 20 years. A frequent collaborator with the biology and biotech department is Elard Schenck zu Schweinsberg – the mechanical engineer has a unique affinity for inventions at the interface between mechanics/physics/engineering/IT and biology/biochemistry. Rounding out the team in the IAM Patent 1000 this year is Rainer Viktor, who understands the specific needs of university spin-outs and manages the patent portfolio of several start-up enterprises in the fields of green energy, automotive simulation technology and digital imaging software.

WALLINGER RICKER SCHLOTTER TOSTMANN 

With dazzling proficiency that runs the gamut of patent prosecution and litigation – and everything in between – WALLINGER can meet and exceed all demands and expectations of its discerning clientele. “Meetings with the firm are always very frank and transparent, and they build a very strong basis of trust right from the beginning,” reports one satisfied customer. “On those occasions when there is a need to increase resources temporarily because of an unforeseen increase in workload, they always respond quickly.” “The firm can provide a global service, thanks to a very good network of partners who can communicate in the local language – something extremely important, especially when it comes to litigation. When needed, it is always possible to contact a lawyer on very short notice.” Founding partner Mathias Ricker is a collaboratively minded patent attorney who regularly joins forces with his attorney at law colleagues to provide a killer one-two punch in infringement suits. He heads the chemistry and pharmaceutical group and counts AstraZeneca, Merck and Fresenius among his clients. Fellow founder Michael Wallinger has been on the scene for more than 35 years, handling literally hundreds of patent infringement, nullity and opposition cases, as well as immersing himself in IP arbitration. He is a favourite among players in the automotive industry and has this year undertaken work for BMW alongside Michael Platzoeder and Thomas Schachl. Platzoeder is a master of physics whose industry experience in the fields of telecoms and semiconductors informs his role as head of the high technology group; while attorney at law Schachl provides razor-sharp advice on the enforcement of damages claims in infringement cases.

Weickmann & Weickmann PartmbB 

Illustrious prosecution shop Weickmann & Weickmann can trace its history all the way back to 1882. “The firm has a deep understanding of clients’ businesses and a personal and professional relationship with inventors, decision makers and in-house IP departments. Its advisory service on patent strategic and remuneration questions is highly valued. The staff are professional, friendly and have a good client-facing attitude.” Leading light Markus Herzog is an honorary judge in the Senate of Patent Attorneys’ Matters at the Federal Court of Justice; in addition to drafting watertight applications, he provides incisive freedom-to-operate and due diligence analyses; as does biochemist Wolfgang Weiß, who also shines in opposition proceedings both in Germany and at the EPO. Fellow biochemist Christian Heubeck wows clients with his resilience, commercial eye and technical acumen: “Dr Heubeck’s scientific knowledge means that he gets technology patent-protected against all conceivable obstacles. He also provides continuous advice on improving the technology. He is a joy to work with, always coming up with solutions.”

Wildanger Kehrwald Graf von Schwerin & Partner mbB 

The 11 lawyers at boutique Wildanger – eight of whom are partners – are exclusively dedicated to solving IP conundrums of all shapes and sizes. Their knowledge of patent law and practice is exhaustive, with the knotty issue of SEPs a particular forte. Peter-Michael Weisse has lately been involved in landmark cases in this field, securing some of the first German judgments post Huawei v ZTE. Alexander Reetz has likewise hammered out the right results for telecoms giants in myriad multinational disputes, many of which involved FRAND and antitrust components. Meanwhile, Joerg Schmidt’s  glowing track record in major preliminary injunction and inspection proceedings before the European courts speaks for itself. Moving beyond the telecoms sector, biochemistry expert Wolf Graf von Schwerin has a flair for pharmaceuticals and medical technologies; many precedential decisions bear his fingerprints. Medical technologies are likewise on lock for Roland Kehrwald, who also litigates and advises in fields including IT and genetic and electrical engineering. This versatility is shared by Eva Geschke, who practises with verve across the technical spectrum. She is a champion of innovative German SMEs, doing battle for them in infringement suits and in opposition and nullity proceedings before the EPO.

Wuesthoff & Wuesthoff

With a history dating back almost a century, Wuesthoff & Wuesthoff is a venerable presence on the German patent landscape. Industry heavyweights such as LG Electronics, Olympus Corporation and Colgate appreciate its meticulous filing and prosecution, and its steadfast representation in actions before all of the major German and European courts. Hendrik Wichmann is a biotech and chemistry expert with a specialism in plant varieties. In addition to his contentious practice – encompassing complex oppositions and appeal proceedings before the EPO, as well as technical support in multinational patent litigation –Wichmann undertakes strategic consultation work, including freedom-to-operate analyses and portfolio assessments. The career trajectory of mechanical and biomedical engineer Bernhard Thum is described as nothing less than “meteoric”. His prosecution practice is informed by insights gleaned in the R&D department of the Siemens Medical group. Physicist Rainer Röthinger also has an insider’s view on innovation, having spent time in the semiconductor research department of Daimler-Benz AG; today, he drafts and prosecutes patent applications, engages in opposition, revocation and infringement proceedings, and advises on lucrative licensing opportunities.

Zimmermann & Partner Patentanwälte mbB 

Perfectly balancing the technical and the commercial, Zimmermann is a compelling one-stop shop for all patent needs. On the prosecution side, it “provides comprehensive counsel and assistance on navigating issues of EPO law. The firm has the scientific experience to quickly understand the technologies at hand and to translate complex concepts as necessary. Additionally, it performs very well in oppositions, demonstrating deep experience and capability”. Oppositions and appeals pro Joel Nägerl “is a fierce litigator with an enormous amount of experience in trial preparation and pleading in court. He is a highly esteemed sparring partner for vigorous technical and legal discussions.” Also making light work of administrative proceedings is Benedikt Neuburger, an engineer and physicist who counts General Electric among his clients. He is a familiar figure at the EPO; as is Dominique Gobert, a “skilled and experienced attorney” who tutors at the EPO’s Patent Academy. “His analysis of EPO’s examiners’ communications and his drafts of response are very accurate,” reports one client. “We can communicate with him easily and in a very personable manner.”

Other recommended experts

Matthew Thomas Barton of UK-based Forresters files and prosecutes flawless patent applications in the fields of chemistry and mechanics from the firm’s Munich office, while also appearing in oppositions and appeals at the nearby EPO. EPO oppositions and appeals are likewise the metier of Lederer & Keller’s Michael Best, a chemist who “really gets to the point”. He has wide experience of working on behalf of blockbuster pharmaceutical companies, and has also been known to work in the field of polymer chemistry. Telecoms corporations have Friedrich Emmerling of Braun-Dullaeus Pannen on speed dial for his cross-jurisdictional SEP expertise: “He is very knowledgeable, legally and technically, and is also a charming and warm man, who is a pleasure to deal with and speak to.” Anette Gärtner leads the IP team at Reed Smith’s Frankfurt office and is regularly called upon to advise on patent matters both contentious and non-contentious, particularly within the life sciences and automotive fields. “Attentive”, “results oriented”, “skilful” and “pragmatic” is the consensus on AMPERSAND’s Hosea Haag: “He is a watertight drafter and particularly effective in complex telecommunications cases, where he is one of the best litigators around. His courtroom presence is strong and he knows how to connect well with judges.” “He understands the needs of his client very well. He is an attorney at law who can follow very complex technical argumentation easily, while constructing a defence with the ideal level of simplicity. He has keen attention to detail and situational awareness.” Working out of VO, microbiologist Bettina Hermann is “extremely accurate and detail oriented”, and consistently builds a strong rapport with clients. Stephan Keck at WITTEWELLER draws on hands-on experience in the fields of communications engineering and high-frequency technology in his thriving computer science practice. At Glawe Delfs Moll, Christof Keussen dispenses astute advice in the life sciences, particularly on the topics of SPCs and plant variety rights. At Harmsen Utescher, Karsten Königer has a bird’s-eye view of the global patent litigation landscape; the “outstanding lawyer” has “a high level of expertise in the field, along with responsiveness and attention to detail in serving clients’ needs”. Fritz Lahrtz of Patentanwälte Isenbruck Bösl Hörschler is a master of the contentious realm, who handles everything from opposition and nullity proceedings to cross-border infringement suits. He also artfully builds and coordinates patent portfolio strategy for start-ups, universities and major multinationals alike. Edgar Lins, named partner at Gramm, Lins & Partner, is an electronics and physics maven with a highly precise and analytical mind. “Dr Lins registers very carefully all technical aspects of a legal problem and appreciates detailed input on all relevant technical points. With the ability to memorise hundreds of pages of a file, he carefully observes all submissions of counterparties and comments from the bar, and answers at the best procedural point in time.” Working alongside Lins is Kai Stornebel, who “distinguishes himself by his quick comprehension and outstanding technical understanding”. Ralph Nack of Noerr LLP is an expert on patent monetisation and licensing, who shares his knowledge with the next generation of lawyers by lecturing at the University of Heidelberg. Based at her eponymous firm, Elisabeth Opie is well versed in international trade law and is a qualified solicitor in Australia, England and Wales and Ireland – she knows all the secrets to sewing up IP-rich transactions. At Ter Meer Steinmeister & Partner, electronics expert Jörg Riemann has invaluable industry insight from a stint in the patent department at Philips. Colleague Bernd Aechter is a chemistry and pharmaceuticals whizz; in addition to prosecution and contentious support, he provides incisive validity and freedom-to-operate opinions and gets patent licences locked down. Physicist Christian Schmidt has spent almost 25 years at Manitz, Finsterwald & Partner, filing in the fields of electronics and mechanics; sensors and lasers are a niche focus. Pinsent Masons’s Michael Schneider is a high-tech mastermind with a percipient take on all things SEP and FRAND. He is praised by peers for his “quick understanding and general intuition”. Michael Schramm is a founding partner of 2s-ip Schramm Schneider Bertagnoll. As a lawyer and patent attorney, he can handle just about any patent instruction regarding an application, deal or litigation. His counsel has a holistic quality as a result. Preliminary injunctions and how to get them are the specialist subject of Ina vom Feld – she has prevailed in more than 15 such proceedings in recent years, while also conjuring up effective international litigation strategies. She recently joined Herbert Smith Freehills from Simmons & Simmons. Patent attorneys Alexander von Kirschbaum and Christoph Schreiber – each with more than 20 years’ experience behind them – provide precision prosecution services from Dompatent von Kreisler Setling Werner. Von Kirschbaum specialises in mechanical engineering; whereas biotech and life sciences are fortes for Schreiber. Oxford alumnus James Ward makes regular trips to the EPO from his base at the Munich office of Haseltine Lake Kempner. He has extensive experience in oppositions and appeals involving everything from 3D printing to DVD technologies, firefighter safety and television programme guides. Nils Weber of JONAS impresses for his poised performances in preliminary injunction proceedings and ancillary competition law know-how.

Individuals: infringement

Individuals: prosecution and nullity

Individuals: transactions

Luminaries