Hungary

Patent activity in Hungary remains healthy, with the life sciences and particularly pharmaceuticals generating the bulk of the instructions handled by local practitioners. The hot conversation point is the government’s push to revamp the research and innovation system – a move which seems to have led to an uptick in filings this year. Due in no small part to the efforts of Minister of Innovation and Technology László Palkovics, there has also been a concerted effort to strengthen cooperation between Hungary and international institutes, companies and local universities such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, General Electric and the University of Debrecen . This should help to cement Hungary’s position as a regional innovative hub, promote entrepreneurship and keep the local IP scene flourishing. The Hungarian Intellectual Property Office (HIPO) is also making its services more accessible to private individuals and SMEs in a bid to enhance IP awareness.

Firms: litigation and transactions

Firms: prosecution

Baker McKenzie

Thanks to the wider firm’s unparalleled geographical reach, the Budapest branch of this international titan is perfectly positioned to assist both domestic and multinational clients seeking to protect and commercialise their inventions. The tight-knit IP group, led by Zsófia Lendvai, regularly assists major pharmaceutical companies in enforcement scenarios and comes through for non-governmental organisations in their R&D endeavours. “Zsófia is simply fantastic,” enthuses one peer. “Her licensing and transactional work is brilliant, and she creates really strong enforcement plans too.” Lendvai’s broad practice encompasses trademarks, copyright, patents and know-how, which makes for precise, holistic advice.

Bird & Bird LLP

In Hungary – as elsewhere in the world – Bird & Bird is “a top-notch and highly reputable firm with an exceptionally strong IP group and a tough patent litigation team”. Since the local group merged with Weil, Gotshal & Manges’ Budapest contingent a few years ago, it has been on an unstoppable upwards trajectory, executing flawlessly on instructions from the world’s leading pharmaceutical, life sciences and electronics companies. A crucial cog in these operations is division captain Bálint Halász, a superb litigator and astute strategist. The percipient counsellor can find the optimum solution to any patent conundrum, courtesy of his broad IP, IT and data protection expertise.

Danubia Patent and Law Office LLC

“One of the best and biggest in the country”, Danubia has stood at the vanguard of the national patent scene for over seven decades. From strategic consulting and European and Hungarian patent prosecution to dispute resolution and licensing, there is nothing this eminent stalwart cannot do. On the contentious front, József Tálas and Eszter Szakács form a dynamic duo. Accomplished litigator Tálas has published widely on the subject of patents, while also maintaining a vibrant technology transfer practice for local start-ups and investment companies. Pharmaceutical giants and innovative SMEs alike love working with Szakács, whose refined regulatory knowledge and encyclopaedic understanding of patent law make her a critical ally in must-win cases. Danubia’s star-studded prosecution line-up is comprised of Imre Molnár, Árpád Pethő and Gábor Harangozó. Having honed his craft for 40-plus years, Molnár works wonders when patenting inventions and has received several awards in recognition of his work. Fellow life sciences ace Pethő is equally adept at complex filings and litigation support. He speaks the language of inventors and is every in-house counsel’s dream, having worked as a research scientist himself. Those in need of thorough yet digestible patent novelty and purity searches should look no further than mechanical and electrical engineering department head Harangozó. The master prosecutor is at home before the HIPO, the EPO and the USPTO. Joining them in the guide this year is IP all-rounder Miklós Sóvári; a regular speaker and author, he holds prominent positions in numerous international associations and has his finger on the pulse of evolving market trends.

Gödölle, Kékes, Mészáros & Szabó

One of Hungary’s elite prosecution outfits, Gödölle, Kékes, Mészáros & Szabó impresses with its storied history, impeccable filing track record and steadfast commitment to quality. Its professionals ensure that each application is meticulously drafted and offers watertight protection, while remaining budget friendly. Firm founder István Gödölle has “amazing technical knowledge” from over 45 years in the game and has cultivated in-depth insight into European legal systems through positions at high-profile academic institutions. “For pharmaceutical work, Daisy Machytka-Frank is one of the best: she is fantastic and highly experienced in all things technical. She and Marcell Kereszty explain complex matters really well and their skills perfectly complement those of a litigator’s, making them great to collaborate with.” “Marcell is super-knowledgeable on both the technical and legal sides; he is well connected internationally and very pleasant to work with. Simply, he is my first choice.”

Oppenheim

Full-service outfit Oppenheim prides itself on supporting innovators – from start-ups to household names – in many meaningful ways. Home to a crack squad of litigators, it knocks it out of the park on contentious mandates, while its technical experts make light work of prosecution. Its patent practitioners also work shoulder to shoulder with their colleagues in the M&A department to ensure that every commercial opportunity is explored and patrons get maximum reward on their investments; in one recent example, it assisted the Research Centre for National Sciences of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences with its IP agreements. Robust leadership is provided in abundance by Áron László, a shrewd litigator who dives into the nitty-gritty of each case in pursuit of the optimal solution. He recently represented Slovak atomic energy company IVS Trnava before the HIPO, the Budapest Metropolitan Court and the Supreme Court. Working alongside him on this matter was rising star András Cserny, who receives effusive praise: “He has an extremely strong legal and technical understanding of each case and brilliant communication skills; and his results-oriented yet cost-efficient mindset is a massive plus.”

SBGK Attorneys at Law and Patent Attorneys 

Seamless symbiosis between SBGK’s prosecution and litigation practices has propelled the firm into the upper echelons of the Hungarian IP scene. The diverse skillsets of its talented technical experts appeal to an array of industry heavyweights; while its litigators keep clients’ commercial goals front and centre at all stages of a brief. On the non-contentious side, chemical engineer Zsolt Szentpéteri lends a practised eye to dispute proceedings alongside his regular prosecution work – most recently for Sumi Agro Hungary, where a critical patent went straight through to grant as a result of his efforts. He also serves as vice president of the Hungarian Chamber of Patent Attorneys. The mechanical domain is overseen by Katalin Mészárosné Dónusz, whose preparation of national, European and PCT applications is never less than immaculate. Her international know-how proves invaluable to local clients with ambitions to break into far-flung markets. Joining them on the prosecution table this year is Szabolcs Farkas. Having spent 20 years at the HIPO as vice president for technical affairs, he brings unique and profound insight to the table – much to the delight of his life sciences clients; he recently assisted Novartis before the HIPO. “One of the country’s best and most experienced lawyers”, Katalin Szamosi enjoys a sterling profile both at home and abroad. She is frequently found battling it out for world-renowned pharmaceutical companies at the Supreme Court, presenting eloquent, cleverly formulated arguments. SBGK is also home to tenacious advocates Péter Lukácsi and Ádám György, who never falter under pressure. The pair have been busy representing Exeltis in proceedings initially brought by Bayer, which have now been referred to the Court of Justice of the European Union. Rounding off the stellar troop is Gabriella Sasvári, who has a knack for getting signatures on the bottom line of IP-rich deals.

Szecskay Attorneys at Law

Szecskay Attorneys at Law is a colossus of Hungarian patent litigation and a destination of choice for the crème de la crème of the pharmaceutical industry. While the esteemed boutique is a formidable force in the contentious space, it is also sought out for its shrewd counsel on pre-product launches and inventor remuneration. Managing partner András Szecskay and IP division lead Gusztáv Bacher regularly advise Egis Pharmaceuticals on these matters. The illustrious Szecskay has held numerous prominent industry positions and is an authoritative voice on the legal landscape; while Bacher’s pleadings are always well-reasoned, beautifully presented and often drive precedential change. Together with IAM Patent 1000 newcomer Gábor Faludi, the pair recently went out to bat for multinational listed pharmaceutical company Gedeon Richter in the Supreme Court.

Other recommended experts

“A brilliant and cutting-edge practitioner, Sophia Kacsuk is someone literally everyone wants to work with.” Fluent in English, German and French, she is the perfect choice for cast-iron patent protection and can be found at Kacsuk Patent. “For biotech matters, Zoltán Kovári is exceptional; he knows all the technicalities, has perfect communication skills and a great personality too – truly a pleasure to work with.” He practises at Kovári and Partners.

Individuals: litigation and transactions

Individuals: prosecution