Hepp Wenger Ryffel AG

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“An excellent firm, Hepp Wenger Ryffel is home to some of the best patent attorneys in Switzerland.” Capitalising on technically diverse practitioners, the group is an asset to those seeking detail- and solutions-oriented assistance, especially with local and foreign grant procedures, as well as infringement and invalidity matters. “A pleasure to collaborate with, Christoph Müller has great mechanical engineering know-how.” Serving as a part-time judge at the Swiss Federal Patent Court, he is called on by those in the medical technology, information technology and electrical engineering sectors. A coordinator of choice for multi-jurisdictional litigation assignments, Müller has collaborated with colleagues in Germany, France, Great Britain and the United States. Also on deck is mechanical engineer Susanna Ruder, who demonstrates vast experience in various prosecution services. She is regularly enlisted by those in the transportation, optical, construction and medical consumer goods industries. Ruder has been representing a leading Swiss railway company in a series of oppositions before the European Patent Office (EPO). “Seasoned patent attorney Andreas Welch has an immensely meticulous approach to each and every case.” Combining over two decades of experience in patents and time at a major pharmaceuticals company, Welch supports chemical and pharmaceutical clients. Most notably, he has provided litigation support as a local representative to Mepha, a member of Teva Group, in a multinational infringement dispute. Martin Wilming’s expertise covers a spectrum of fields, from food technology to mechanical engineering. His guidance is sought out for various opposition proceedings before the EPO and during infringement disputes. “He utilises his in-depth knowledge to publish a blog, which is widely deemed to be a bible for those interested in up-to-the-minute information on Swiss Federal Patent Court case law.” 

Firm Profile

Hepp Wenger Ryffel has two historical roots: Dieter Hepp founded the IP firm in 1974, and the firm Kirchhofer & Ryffel was one of the very first IP firms in Switzerland, established in 1880 in Zurich. Today, Hepp Wenger Ryffel is one of the largest IP firms in Switzerland but still maintains a client-focused boutique character. Susanna Ruder joined the partnership in 2016. Ever since Hepp Wenger Ryffel was founded, our aim has been to assist clients in actively creating and exploiting intellectual property as part of our overall business concept.

Hepp Wenger Ryffel is conveniently situated in Wil, halfway between Zurich and St Gallen, the seat of the newly established Swiss Federal Patent Court (FPC). Wil is only 30 minutes from Zurich airport by train, and the EPO in Munich is not far away. Hepp Wenger Ryffel previously had offices in Zurich but we felt that we could serve our clients just as well, while in a more cost-effective manner, from Wil.

Hepp Wenger Ryffel offers the full spectrum of IP services in all fields of technology, focusing on patents, trademarks and designs, as well as negotiation of any IP-related contractual matters. Hepp Wenger Ryffel also counsels and represents clients in complex, often multi-jurisdictional IP litigation.

Patent professionals at Hepp Wenger Ryffel have a technical background in physics, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, chemistry, biotechnology or microbiology. We are experts in drafting, filing and prosecuting patent applications before the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property (IPI), the EPO and WIPO. Throughout the world, we prosecute applications and handle oppositions, revocation actions and infringement suits via our excellent network of local attorneys acting under our instruction. Professionals at Hepp Wenger Ryffel also have an outstanding track record in opposition and appeal proceedings at the EPO. Moreover, we represent and assist clients in nullity and infringement actions before the FPC. Partner Martin Wilming runs a blog reviewing all case law of the FPC (www.patentlitigation.ch) and Christoph Müller has been elected as a non-permanent technically qualified judge at the FPC. In IP litigation, Hepp Wenger Ryffel deliberately chooses to work with high-profile external attorneys at law on a case-by-case basis, rather than handling both technical and legal issues completely internally. This allows us to put together the ideal team for each specific case, irrespective of internal revenue considerations.

Our trademark practice includes applications and oppositions before the IPI and registrations using the Madrid Agreement and Protocol via WIPO.

Many of Hepp Wenger Ryffel’s clients are highly specialised small and medium-sized enterprises which stand at the forefront of their respective technology sectors, and we also counsel and represent multinational market-listed companies. We are proud of our long-term relationships with clients, allowing us to offer sound advice on the risks and opportunities inherent to their particular business strategies. Our overall goal is business-driven intellectual property.

At Hepp Wenger Ryffel, we always aim to understand the client’s business model thoroughly before taking any action. We delve into the peculiarities of each case in order to find the ideal intellectual property for each client in the specific business context – we answer not only the questions posed to us, but also those that clients may not have considered. It is our firm opinion that the era of the one-size-fits-all approach is over; we do not believe in all-purpose intellectual property.

Based on a thorough understanding of clients’ situations and needs, Hepp Wenger Ryffel does not simply give clients a set of alternative recommendations to choose from. Rather, our professionals offer opinions on the reasonable course of action to take and comprehensibly advise clients accordingly.

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