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Recommended - Individuals
Recommended - Individuals: prosecution and nullity
COHAUSZ & FLORACK’s team of 22 partners comprises both patent attorneys and attorneys-at-law, meaning patrons are well served no matter the issue they are facing. Founded in 1954 – and working out of offices in Düsseldorf and Munich – the firm has built itself a sturdy reputation on the German market, especially for patent enforcement and infringement issues. High on the agenda in the past year has been its work for Bayer in relation to both CRISPR technology and mRNA vaccines – it has been taken care of by Arwed Burrichter and Natalie Kirchhofer. Having worked as a patent attorney since 2000 – and with a doctorate in chemistry – Burrichter has all the skills needed to handle complex patent issues within the pharmaceutical field, while biochemist Kirchhofer is also well placed to answer life sciences questions, and is a particular expert in supplementary protection certificate (SPC) law. Working on the electronics side, meanwhile, are Gottfried Schüll, Christoph Walke and Philipe Walter. Physicist Schüll is an oracle when it comes to communications technology and everything SEP- and FRAND-related, while Walke’s knowledge sits in a similar realm, as reflected by his doctorate from the Institute of High Frequency Technology – he now spends his time participating in invalidity proceedings and prolifically prosecuting patent applications. Electrical engineer Walter has been a COHAUSZ partner since 2007 and is known for his work on issues in relation to international licence pools that concern technical standards, as well as on disputes between automotive suppliers and set-top box manufacturers. For mechanical engineering questions, the one to go to is Andreas Thielmann – his tenure as a partner goes all the way back to 1993 and his knowledge has led him to become an honorary judge in the Senate for Patent Attorney Matters at the Federal Supreme Court in Karlsruhe.
Natalie J Kirchhofer is a PhD biochemist and European and German patent attorney. She advises and represents leading chemical and pharmaceutical companies in high-stakes EPO opposition, patent contentious and arbitration matters. Clients benefit in particular from her strategic advice, analytical skills, sharp-mindedness and talent for arguing cases in oral proceedings. Dr Kirchhofer handles large patent portfolios for her clients, but is best known for defending and attacking key patents for a number of well-known companies. She has particular expertise in conducting complex appeal proceedings before the EPO Boards of Appeal and in supplementary protection certificate matters.
Dr Kirchhofer’s unique capacity for advocating and developing effective winning strategies for her clients has made her one of the most sought-after (bio)chemistry and pharma patent counsel in Germany.
She obtained a PhD in biochemistry on a Boehringer-Ingelheim Fund scholarship at the Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry in Munich. As a Fulbright scholar, she spent an academic research year with Nobel laureate Günter Blobel in New York and her biochemistry studies were supported by a scholarship from the German National Academic Foundation.
She also spent time as a foreign associate in the IP Litigation Practice Group of Ropes & Gray LLP in New York, where she gained hands-on experience in US patent litigation and successfully passed the US Patent Bar exam, sensitising her to the intricacies of cross-border litigation, particularly in Europe and the United States. Through a secondment in the patent department of a major life sciences company, she gained a deep understanding of corporate client needs.
She also acts as co-counsel, arbitrator or expert witness in national and international arbitration or other alternative dispute resolution proceedings, especially in matters concerning complex intellectual property (eg, patent) and science or technology-related matters including disputes arising out of R&D or licensing activities.
Dr Kirchhofer is a keen speaker and prolific author who frequently addresses topics such as the upcoming Unified Patent Court and recent developments in the case law of the EPO Boards of Appeal.
COHAUSZ & FLORACK was founded in 1954 and now has 34 patent attorneys and attorneys at law, as well as approximately 110 employees. This multidisciplinary law firm has offices in Düsseldorf and Munich. The firm supports clients – both international companies and medium-sized companies in Germany – in all matters relating to IP rights and unfair competition. This includes drafting and filing IP rights applications, administering and licensing extensive property rights portfolios, undertaking searches for third-party IP rights and the associated freedom-to-operate expert opinions, as well as drafting cooperation agreements. COHAUSZ & FLORACK also represents clients in proceedings concerning the infringement and validity of IP rights. The firm sees itself as a strong partner and advises clients proactively, individually and holistically on all IP-relevant issues. To this end, the firm leverages the expertise of its 30 patent attorneys and four attorneys at law in their respective fields, all working together as an interdisciplinary, efficient and trusting team.
COHAUSZ & FLORACK combines the know-how of all technical fields under one roof – from mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and information and communications technology to chemistry and life sciences. In addition, COHAUSZ & FLORACK has extensive experience in IP proceedings in other countries (not only EU member states, but also the United States, China and South Korea) and can rely on its strong network of partner law firms across the world. Internally, COHAUSZ & FLORACK focuses on the long-term development and high-quality training and further education of its employees, all of whom approach the protection of innovations with unparalleled interest and openness. As a result, COHAUSZ & FLORACK can make a decisive contribution to ensuring that companies invest in developments and remain competitive while enriching society with their ideas.
Prosecution of high-tech patent applications
COHAUSZ & FLORACK has special expertise in the preparation and prosecution of high-tech patent applications and in the field of inventions that are relevant to technical standards. It also has decades of experience in the prosecution of patent portfolios comprising large international patent families. In the past five years, the firm has filed around 3,200 patent applications (including 1,600 initial applications) and registered more than 3,300 trademarks. In total, the firm currently manages around 24,000 patents and 19,000 trademarks.
Patent litigation and nullification proceedings
Located in Düsseldorf, the top venue for patent litigation actions in the European Union, the firm’s multidisciplinary team represents blue-chips, as well as small and medium-sized companies – many of the latter being world market leaders in technology. Whenever intellectual property is at stake, COHAUSZ & FLORACK is available to support clients with the relevant expertise.
Patent litigation actions usually go hand in hand with nullification proceedings. Taking place before a separate court and dealt with in separate proceedings in Germany, nullification proceedings represent one of the firm’s main areas of expertise. For the past 25 years, COHAUSZ & FLORACK has worked on over 100 new patent nullity suits and infringement proceedings per year. In addition, the firm takes on more than 75 new opposition and appeal proceedings each year.
The scope of cases handled ranges from patent infringement actions for pharmaceutical clients involving blockbuster drugs through multinational, multi-patent, standards-related cases in the fields of video compression and other forms of communication to niche market cases for ‘hidden champions’. COHAUSZ & FLORACK believes that collaboration with other law firms helps to generate excellent service for the client’s benefit, rather than a loss of revenue.
Throughout COHAUSZ & FLORACK’s history, the firm has played a significant role in the success of the Düsseldorf court. This goes back to its founding years, when the firm accompanied the relocation of the court from Berlin to Düsseldorf in the 1950s. Recently, the firm acted as German lead counsel in the AVC/H.264 patent litigation cases, thereby further contributing to the globally renowned Düsseldorf court’s expertise in the field of information technology and electronics. The firm’s reputation is underscored by its attorneys frequent appointments by the Düsseldorf Appeals Court as court experts.
Over the past 25 years, COHAUSZ & FLORACK has prepared over 4,000 independent expert opinions on the use of patent-protected inventions in the implementation of standardised technologies.