JUVE Law Firm of the year

Patents

Eventful year for the European patent system

After a brief period of uncertainty following the Brexit vote, the future of the European patent system once again became clear in November 2016. The British people’s vote to leave the EU initially brought the busy launch preparations to an abrupt halt, as ratification by the British parliament seemed highly unlikely. However, now that the British government has declared its intention to ratify the agreement, experts fully expect the new patent court system, consisting of the EU patent and a central patent court (Unified Patent Court, or UPC), to come into effect in October 2017.

Brexit could undermine the confidence in the UPC

Nevertheless, Brexit still has serious consequences for the new system: it is currently unclear whether the UK, as a non-EU member, will be able to take part in the UPC. That the fifth strongest world economy may not participate in the system could result in a loss of confidence among those companies wishing to use it. All efforts at EU level and in London are thus currently going toward finding a solution in order to integrate the UK into the UPC system as a non-EU member by means of an amended agreement. Following the UK’s announcement, however, the system is going ahead anyway, with or without the UK’s participation. The EU patent system will then exist alongside the national patent systems and the so-called European “bundle” patent (European Patent Convention treaty). Europe thus offers many tactical opportunities in terms of litigation.

EU patent: More competition for German firms?

Experts assume that the UPC – once in effect – will quickly see a stream of cases and that success is a given. Chemicals, consumer goods and pharmaceuticals corporates are the potential advocates of the system, especially because of the possibility of pan-European injunctive relief, as well as NPEs. The latter are already filing suits in their droves at the German courts. Marathon, Saint Lawrence Communications (SLC) and Unwired Planet, for instance, are conducting major mobile communications litigation in Germany – and with great success. The auto industry also saw its first major suit by US NPE Synchronicity. Almost all the main litigation firms are present in these suits.

Many of them have been investing heavily in preparations for the new patent system by establishing their own litigation departments, ramping up their teams, tightening cooperation with other European firms or opening offices in UPC cities. This was the case, for instance, at Prüfer & Partner, Maiwald and Vossius & Partner. The preparations for the new system also triggered strategic discussions in many firms, resulting in movement in the market. This is what led to the spinoff of Preu Bohlig & Partner’s entire IP team in Düsseldorf, which has been going by the name of Kather Augenstein since January 2016. The effects of the merger of the two patent heavyweights Hoyng Monegier (Netherlands, France, Spain) and Reimann Osterrieth Köhler Haft (Germany) into Hoyng ROKH Monegier reached well into 2016.

 


 

The following subchapter only concerns law firms that are active in technical protection rights in Germany. Patents and registered designs are of vast importance for companies. Two professional groups provide advice on this. Patent attorneys perform what is known as patent prosecution: they file patents and register designs, as well as conducting official proceedings. Lawyers are in charge of litigation in infringement proceedings. Both professional groups litigate in nullity suits and provide advice in connection with protection right strategies and invention rights. For more information, readers are advised to consult the ?antitrust and ?trademarks and unfair competition.

 

Patent attorney firms recommended for their expertise in particular technical fields

  • Abitz & Partner

    • Standort: Munich
    • Tätigkeitsschwerpunkt: Chemicals and pharmaceuticals patents; litigation
    • Häufig empfohlen: 7 patent attorneys

    Becker & Müller

    • Standort: Ratingen
    • Tätigkeitsschwerpunkt: Litigation; mechanics patents
    • Häufig empfohlen: 6 patent attorneys

    Dehmel & Bettenhausen

    • Standort: Munich
    • Tätigkeitsschwerpunkt: Biotech and pharmaceuticals patents
    • Häufig empfohlen: 6 patent attorneys

    Diehl & Partner

    • Standort: Munich
    • Tätigkeitsschwerpunkt: Chemicals and telecoms patents; litigation
    • Häufig empfohlen: 5 patent attorneys

    Freischem

    • Standort: Cologne
    • Tätigkeitsschwerpunkt: Chemicals, software and engineering patents
    • Häufig empfohlen: 5 patent attorneys

    Gleiss Große Schrell und Partner

    • Standort: Stuttgart
    • Tätigkeitsschwerpunkt: Pharmaceuticals, biotech and medical technology patents
    • Häufig empfohlen: 9 patent attorneys, 2 lawyers

    Gramm Lins & Partner

    • Standort: Braunschweig, Hanover
    • Tätigkeitsschwerpunkt: Engineering patents
    • Häufig empfohlen: 10 patent attorneys, 4 lawyers

    Henkel Breuer & Partner

    • Standort: Munich
    • Tätigkeitsschwerpunkt: Chemicals and pharmaceuticals patents; litigation
    • Häufig empfohlen: 5 patent attorneys

    Herzog Fiesser & Partner

    • Standort: Düsseldorf, Munich
    • Tätigkeitsschwerpunkt: Chemicals and pharmaceuticals patents
    • Häufig empfohlen: 22 patent attorneys

    Hofstetter Schurack & Partner

    • Standort: Munich
    • Tätigkeitsschwerpunkt: Electronics and mechanics patents
    • Häufig empfohlen: 11 patent attorneys, 1 lawyer

    Isarpatent

    • Standort: Munich, Cottbus
    • Tätigkeitsschwerpunkt: Electronics patents
    • Häufig empfohlen: 21 patent attorneys, 3 lawyers

    KNH Kahlhöfer Neumann Rößler Heine

    • Standort: Düsseldorf
    • Tätigkeitsschwerpunkt: Electronics and telecoms patents
    • Häufig empfohlen: 10 patent attorneys

    Kraus & Weisert

    • Standort: Munich
    • Tätigkeitsschwerpunkt: IT/telecoms and pharmaceuticals/chemicals patents; litigation
    • Häufig empfohlen: 14 patent attorneys, 1 lawyer

    Kuhnen & Wacker

    • Standort: Freising
    • Tätigkeitsschwerpunkt: Chemicals, electronics and mechanics patents
    • Häufig empfohlen: 14 patent attorneys, 5 lawyers

    Kutzenberger Wolff & Partner

    • Standort: Cologne
    • Tätigkeitsschwerpunkt: Chemicals, pharmaceuticals and mechanics patents; litigation
    • Häufig empfohlen: 6 patent attorneys

    Lederer & Keller

    • Standort: Munich
    • Tätigkeitsschwerpunkt: Pharmaceuticals, biotech and chemicals patents; litigation
    • Häufig empfohlen: 4 patent attorneys

    Leifert & Steffan

    • Standort: Düsseldorf
    • Tätigkeitsschwerpunkt: Chemicals patents
    • Häufig empfohlen: 3 patent attorneys

    Lippert Stachow & Partner

    • Standort: Bergisch Gladbach
    • Tätigkeitsschwerpunkt: Electronics and engineering patents
    • Häufig empfohlen: 15 patent attorneys, 5 lawyers

    MFG Meyer-Wildhagen Meggle-Freund Gerhard

    • Standort: Munich
    • Tätigkeitsschwerpunkt: IT patents
    • Häufig empfohlen: 4 patent attorneys

    Mitscherlich

    • Standort: Munich
    • Tätigkeitsschwerpunkt: Electronics and software patents
    • Häufig empfohlen: 16 patent attorneys, 3 lawyers

    Müller-Boré & Partner

    • Standort: Munich
    • Tätigkeitsschwerpunkt: Mechanics, biotech, pharmaceuticals and medical technology patents
    • Häufig empfohlen: 26 patent attorneys, 3 lawyers

    Müller Fottner Steinecke

    • Standort: Munich, Jülich
    • Tätigkeitsschwerpunkt: Medical technology, pharmaceuticals and telecoms patents; litigation
    • Häufig empfohlen: 3 patent attorneys, 3 lawyers

    Müller Schupfner & Partner

    • Standort: Munich, Hamburg
    • Tätigkeitsschwerpunkt: Chemicals and medical technology patents
    • Häufig empfohlen: 8 patent attorneys

    Richter Gerbaulet Thielemann Hofmann

    • Standort: Hamburg, Munich, Berlin
    • Tätigkeitsschwerpunkt: Engineering patents
    • Häufig empfohlen: 9 patent attorneys

    Ruff Wilhelm Beier Dauster & Partner

    • Standort: Stuttgart
    • Tätigkeitsschwerpunkt: Chemicals, pharmaceuticals, electronics and engineering patents; litigation
    • Häufig empfohlen: 9 patent attorneys

    Schaumburg Thoenes Thurn Landskron

    • Standort: Munich
    • Tätigkeitsschwerpunkt: Electronics, optics and mechanics patents
    • Häufig empfohlen: 7 patent attorneys

    Schneiders & Behrendt

    • Standort: Bochum
    • Tätigkeitsschwerpunkt: Engineering and medical technology patents
    • Häufig empfohlen: 7 patent attorneys, 16 lawyers

    Stolmár & Partner

    • Standort: Düsseldorf, Munich
    • Tätigkeitsschwerpunkt: Chemicals patents
    • Häufig empfohlen: 11 patent attorneys, 1 lawyer

    Westphal Mussgnug & Partner

    • Standort: Villingen-Schwenningen, Munich
    • Tätigkeitsschwerpunkt: Electronics and mechanics patents
    • Häufig empfohlen: 14 patent attorneys

    Winter Brandl Fürniss Hübner Röss Kaiser Polte

    • Standort: Munich, Freising
    • Tätigkeitsschwerpunkt: Electronics and engineering patents
    • Häufig empfohlen: 21 patent attorneys

    Zimmermann & Partner

    • Standort: Munich, Bamberg, Berlin
    • Tätigkeitsschwerpunkt: Litigation regarding telecoms and electronics patents
    • Häufig empfohlen: 15 patent attorneys

The selection of law firms in the above table reflects the research of the editorial staff at JUVE and is based on interviews with clients, lawyers and academics. It remains a subjective view and implies no disparagement of any firm not mentioned here but which is nevertheless active in this field. The firms are alphabetically listed.


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