The Hungarian government has been clearly signalling that the promotion of innovation and research is one of its priorities. In line with this, it has also made a concerted effort to streamline litigation by inducing parties to front-load evidence early in courtroom proceedings. In June 2018 the Hungarian Constitutional Court ruled that the Unified Patent Court Agreement could not be ratified without a constitutional amendment, owing to the lack of an appropriate mechanism to do so. These developments have taken place against a backdrop of otherwise-minimal change, with pharmaceutical litigation continuing to dominate the Hungarian patent scene. Major pharmaceutical companies have allied themselves to particular law firms and appear unlikely to move anytime soon, which has contributed to stability in the legal market, as a result, at a firm level the IAM Patent 1000 listings are unchanged for 2019.
Firms: litigation and transactions
- Danubia Patent and Law Office LLC
- Szecskay Attorneys at Law
- Bird & Bird
- Hegymegi-Barakonyi és Társa Baker McKenzie Attorneys at Law
- SBGK Attorneys at Law and Patent Attorneys
- Danubia Patent and Law Office LLC
- Gödölle, Kékes, Mészáros & Szabó
- SBGK Attorneys at Law and Patent Attorneys
Bird & Bird
Global full-service player Bird & Bird has a top-notch Hungarian offering, with its team in Budapest particularly excelling in complex pharmaceutical litigation cases. Trusted by an assortment of generic drug manufacturers due to the firm’s global connections and top-notch advocacy, its life sciences litigation unit is truly impressive. An integral part of the international team is Bálint Halász, an adroit litigator whose expertise extends well beyond pharmaceuticals to electronics and information technology.
Danubia Patent and Law Office LLC
In January 2019 Danubia and Sár & Partners separated to allow each entity to provide a more targeted service, with Danubia chosen to be home for the erstwhile set’s patent division. Leading the contentious side of the practice with a one-two punch is duo József Tálas and Eszter Szakács. An authority on technology transfer as well as litigation, Tálas was chosen to author the Hungarian chapter of Kluwer’s Global Patent Litigation. Szakács’ practice focuses on pharmaceutical regulatory issues as well as straightforward litigation. The contentious and non-contentious sides of the firm are closely linked thanks to the role played by experienced professional Imre Molnár; he became a patent attorney in 1980 and has been working wonders in prosecution for decades, while also offering invaluable support to pharmaceutical patent litigation efforts. Árpád Pethő is equally adept when it comes to complex life sciences patent filing and litigation support. Up-and-coming mechanical engineering maven Gabor Harangozó specialises in digital electronics and communications systems; he is a sure-fire choice for those who need crystalline and concise patent advice.
Gödölle, Kékes, Mészáros & Szabó
Established in 1990, Gödölle, Kékes, Mészáros & Szabó is “a veteran in the Hungarian patent market” and a repository of trust for companies seeking iron-wrought patent protection. In the cockpit sits an experienced triumvirate of attorneys who truly know how to create IP value. The venerable István Gödölle is the main man; he has been practicing since 1969, forging a career that has taken him to London, Munich and a host of other patent hotspots to utilise his expertise. He leads the firm today and is one of the best-connected people in Hungarian intellectual property, if his long list of trade body memberships is anything to go by. Daisy Machytka-Frank boasts a similarly cosmopolitan background, having studied at the universities of Budapest, Oxford and Bonn before dedicating her efforts to high-quality patent drafting. International Association for the Protection of Intellectual Property Hungarian group president Marcell Kereszty is renowned for his electrical engineering and computer-related nous.
Hegymegi-Barakonyi és Társa Baker McKenzie Attorneys at Law
Global outfit Baker McKenzie has been a formidable force on the Hungarian legal market for more than two decades; its local crew serves up finely crafted legal strategies in numerous disciplines, from employment to competition and corporate law. The team also manoeuvres deftly in intellectual property, thanks to the sterling efforts of Zsófia Lendvai whose background includes shaping IP legislation at the Ministry of Justice and working in house at a pharmaceutical company. In private practice, she has ample experience in litigation and transactional settings and can be counted on to deliver commercially expedient results.
Full-service venture Oppenheim has built up a loyal following in Hungary, with clients raving about the firm’s responsiveness, proactive attitude and willingness to go the extra mile: “The team is thorough, clearly on top of the subject matter, efficient and swift.” Such expertise and agility comes as a result of its members’ boutique training and commitment to clients. Oppenheim’s patent service offering takes in litigation, filing and everything in between, with transactional work becoming ever more important over the last couple of years as word of the side’s negotiating proficiency has spread. “Helpful, knowledgeable and professional” with “great communication skills”, Áron László is a shrewd litigator. He demonstrates a mastery of patent and litigation strategy and is not afraid of getting stuck into interesting and challenging cases; recently he took one concerning adidas football boots all the way to the Supreme Court.
Venerable firm SBGK has been in practice for 50 years – and has roots that go back even further all the way to the very genesis of the IP scene in Hungary. Combining a refined prosecution offering with on-the-money litigation capabilities, SBGK does not compromise on quality. Celebrated attorney at law Katalin Szamosi is currently chair of the board; her practice is versatile and encompasses most conceivable technical areas and multiple legal disciplines. Gabriella Sasvári and Péter Lukácsi are two more of the firm’s leading contentious lights. Sasvári has been honing her craft since 1980, and has built up an industry contact book to match her experience. Lukácsi is a fresher face on the scene, but is no less legally adroit – the recipient of a research scholarship at the Max Planck Institute, he is exceptionally familiar with the procedural side of things. An anchor on the prosecution side, chemical engineer Zsolt Szentpeteri has been a partner at the firm for 11 years. He brings his trademarked brand of careful and measured application drafting to a long list of grateful clients across a diverse array of industries.
Szecskay Attorneys at Law
In the words of a top competitor: “I would recommend Szecskay if I had a conflict – the firm represents outstanding quality.” The well-regarded IP boutique continues to shine when advocating for rights holders in high-stakes pharmaceutical litigation; client-focused, diverse and inventive, the team battles hard in the courtroom, but is always open to resolving disputes by other means if it makes better strategic and commercial sense. Founder András Szecskay is one of the market’s most authoritative voices and is esteemed for his profound experience in commercial and IP litigation, foreign investment processes and for his balanced judgement of cases and their relative merits. Gusztáv Bacher, who serves as the head of Szecskay’s IP group, is famed for his transactional precision; licensing contracts, R&D collaboration agreements and know-how transfer negotiations are his meat and drink.
Other recommended expertsGábor Germus founded Germus & Partners in 2009 and since then his reputation for excellent representation in pharmaceutical litigation has only grown. In addition to his practice, he still finds time to speak regularly at industry events, sharing some of the knowledge he has gained over a storied career. “Brilliant physicist” Sophia Kacsuk of Kacsuk Patent is well-regarded throughout the market; her popularity as a patent attorney stems from her technical dexterity and talent for languages. Kovári and Partners leader Zoltán Kovári is “outstanding in chemistry and great with clients”. A Hungarian and European patent attorney with academic acumen in the field of computer-assisted biology, Kovári is a safe bet for clients with complicated briefs.
Individuals: litigation and transactions
- Gusztáv Bacher - Szecskay Attorneys at Law
- Eszter Szakács - Danubia Patent and Law Office LLC
- Katalin Szamosi - SBGK Attorneys at Law and Patent Attorneys
- András Szecskay - Szecskay Attorneys at Law
- József Tálas - Danubia Patent and Law Office LLC
- Gábor Germus - Germus & Partners
- Bálint Halász - Bird & Bird
- Áron László - Oppenheim
- Zsófia Lendvai - Hegymegi-Barakonyi és Társa Baker McKenzie Attorneys at Law
- Péter Lukácsi - SBGK Attorneys at Law and Patent Attorneys
- Gabriella Sasvári - SBGK Attorneys at Law and Patent Attorneys
- István Gödölle - Gödölle, Kékes, Mészáros & Szabó
- Gabor Harangozó - Danubia Patent and Law Office LLC
- Sophia Kacsuk - Kacsuk Patent
- Marcell Kereszty - Gödölle, Kékes, Mészáros & Szabó
- Zoltán Kovári - Kovári and Partners Patent and Trademark Attorneys' LLC
- Daisy Machytka-Frank - Gödölle, Kékes, Mészáros & Szabó
- Imre Molnár - Danubia Patent and Law Office LLC
- Árpád Pethő - Danubia Patent and Law Office LLC
- Zsolt Szentpéteri - SBGK Attorneys at Law and Patent Attorneys