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  1. Intellectual property: patent litigation
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Bird & Bird’s team grew significantly with the arrival of Felix Harbsmeier and Felix Landry, both previously patent attorneys at Uexküll & Stolberg, and the partner promotion of Christopher Maierhöfer. The practice surrounding the renowned Christian Harmsen stands out from competitors due to its work in connection with antitrust and pharmaceutical law. Highlights included representing Edwards LifeSciences in patent infringement proceedings around heart valve prostheses against Boston Scientific and acting for Valeo in several patent infringement proceedings, such as against Mitsubishi regarding alternating current generators and other competitors concerning ultrasound transducers. Broadcom was a client in connection with disputes with Asus and Invensas. With its strong international expertise the team advised Fisher & Paykel on patent infringement proceedings in the medical devices sector, including coordinating the procedures in the UK and the US. The firm also continues to be very active in the telecoms sector: Oliver Jan Jüngst and Matthias Meyer represented Nokia and NSN in multiple patent infringement proceedings against Apple, which were concluded with a settlement and a licence agreement over several years. Boris Kreye led the advice to Technicolor in patent infringement proceedings around the UMTS standard. A client in the area of utility model law was Nestlé in connection with espresso machines.

Hogan Lovells International LLP’s team around ‘brilliant strategist’ and practice head Andreas von Falck continues its patent advice work in the telecoms and life sciences sectors, but also showed its strong positioning in the chemical and optics industries with the partner promotion of Alexander Klicznik. In the telecoms area, which continues to centre predominantly around Martin Chakraborty and Martin Fähndrich, a highlight was Steffen Steininger’s successful representation of LGE in two proceedings concerning two standard-essential patents for UMTS and the accompanying validity proceedings. In the life sciences sector Miriam Gundt’s advice to Merck & Co. in the dispute around the HIV drug Isentress stands out; in July 2017 the German Federal Court confirmed the compulsory licence for Merck. The firm also provides transaction-related advice, such as for US automotive supplier Dana in connection with the takeover of Brevini Group’s gearbox business, in this case led by its Italian office.

The team’s ‘outstanding industry knowledge’ and ‘goal-oriented and practical advice’ convince Hoyng Rokh Monegier’s clients as much as its ‘strong business sense’ and ‘the right leverage with experienced partners and very good associates’. Part of the ‘top tier of German patent litigation firms’, the practice is particularly recommended for advice in the electronics sector and matters relating to antitrust law, but is also well positioned in the mechanical engineering and life sciences areas. In the telecoms sector the team’s strength manifests itself in the continued representation of Telekom Deutschland in two patent infringement proceedings. Another client was OpenTV regarding a high-profile patent infringement proceeding against Apple concerning iOS and MacOS-based devices; the firm also coordinated the accompanying border seizure proceedings. Nokia is also a regular client in connection with the entire spectrum of patent law. Besides the ‘particularly experienced litigator’ Christian Osterrieth, ‘outstanding negotiatorKay Kasper and the ‘excellentMartin Köhler are recommended. Klaus Haft, who is ‘especially convincing at court’, is also an ‘excellent project manager’ and ‘always fully informed’. Stefan Richter is ‘legally and technically always up to speed, at the same time also calm, matter-of-fact and extremely reliable’.

Arnold Ruess Rechtsanwälte PartmbBhas high expertise and a powerful, young but at the same time already experienced team of lawyers’, whose legal documents are ‘a miracle in terms of structure and precision and simultaneously to-the-point and a pleasure to read’; therefore the Düsseldorf-based boutique, which is ‘especially recommended for complex disputes’, is ‘in no way inferior to the large IP firms and delivers outstanding work’. The practice continued to handle numerous prominent proceedings: It advised Nokia, Alcatel Lucent and Adtran in proceedings led by Intellectual Ventures and represented Forward Pharma in a dispute with Biogen against its product Tecfidera. The team is led by ‘key player in patent law’ and ‘unflappable’ Bernhard Arnold, who ‘shows unconditional engagement’; ‘energic specialist’ and ‘excellent communicator’ Cordula Schumacher is a ‘top patent litigator’, whose ‘dedication amazes clients’; and ‘very meticulous’ counsel Arno Riße is ‘an outstanding team player’ and ‘future star’.

Bardehle Pagenbergoffers an outstanding level of support’ and the firm’s ‘honest and pragmatic advice’ creates ‘a very high level of trust’ among clients. Particular strengths lie in telecoms and mechanical and electrical engineering, but the team is also well positioned in software, IT and computer technology. It advises longstanding client adidas in various patent infringement and nullity proceedings, including nullity appeal proceedings against Nike. Another highlight is the representation of Intellectual Ventures in a multitude of patent infringement proceedings. Tilman Müller-Stoy shows a ‘great battle attitude at court’ and makes clients ‘feel in the best hands also in emotional moments due to his calm, matter-of-fact demeanor’. Peter Chrocziel joined from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in February 2018.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer’s patent law advice is firmly anchored in the pharmaceutical and telecoms sectors and there particularly in mobile communications; a distinguishing mark is also the firm’s work on international matters, recently particularly in cooperation with the Amsterdam and London offices. Frank-Erich Hufnagel and Wolrad Prinz zu Waldeck und Pyrmont advised Bristol-Meyers Squibb on the enforcement of a patent for an antibody applied in cancer treatments and the team also provided advice to Genentech in a matter, which combined patent, arbitration and antitrust law. Another highlight was representing NTT docomo, Japan’s largest mobile provider, in four proceedings due to the infringement of standard-essential patents against HTC. The firm furthermore acted for STMicroelectronics International in disputes with the Fraunhofer Institute and parallel actions against the client’s customers. Peter Chrocziel left for Bardehle Pagenberg in February 2018.

Kather Augenstein Rechtsanwältealways finds creative solutions for very complex problems’ and ‘the team is large enough to resolve these in a rapid, resolute and qualitatively outstanding manner, and small enough to facilitate a personal cooperation’; ‘there are no quality differences within the team’, since the ‘partners’ industry knowledge is impressive’ and ‘associates also give advice at the highest level’. The IP boutique predominantly advises renowned players in the electronics, telecoms, medical and automotive sectors, including Ericsson, which the firm represented in a dispute with Deutsche Telekom surrounding the TV service Entertain; Tesa; BASF; HTC and Boston Scientific. An important new client is Deutsche Post DHL. ‘Expert in patent law’ and ‘at court absolutely unique’ senior partner Peter Kather has ‘inexhaustable know-how’; managing partner Christof Augensteinnegotiates with persistence and clever tactics’; Christopher Weber, who provides ‘qualitatively high-grade advice’ and ‘stands out for his precision’, and Alexander Haertel, whose ‘continuous creative engagement’, are also recommended.

KLAKA Rechtsanwälte is thematically broadly positioned, but stands out for its particular expertise in mechanical engineering, electronics and chemistry. The renowned Olaf Giebe, who heads the patent practice together with Michael Nieder, represented 3M in complex nullity proceedings against tesa together with Constantin Kurtz; the firm also advised the client in patent infringement proceedings regarding the same patent against a competitor and in a series of other proceedings in the areas of dentistry and automotive components. Stefan Eck among others regularly advises bike component manufacturer SRAM and another key client is ZTE. The team furthermore represented kitchen system manufacturer Eisfink in patent infringement proceedings against a competitor in the area of mobile cooking stations.

Krieger Mes & Graf v. der Groeben traditionally ranks among the well established firms that cover patent infringement proceedings: A particular focus lies on infringement proceedings in the electronics, digital and telecoms sectors with the renowned Axel Verhauwen as a key figure of the practice. The firm is especially experienced in alternative dispute resolution, including arbitration and mediation. Clients include both large international corporations and domestic mid-sized companies. The team represented France Brevets in several infringement proceedings against HTC and Samsung regarding near field communication patents. Name and senior partner Peter Mes is highly recognised.

Both Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP’s Munich and the Mannheim offices enjoy a good and longstanding reputation in patent disputes in the telecoms and technology area and one counsel also advises from the firm’s Hamburg office. Munich-based and frequently recommended practice head Marcus Grosch and Johannes Bukow in Mannheim continue to handle several large patent infringement proceedings, including numerous ones with international aspects, such as for Daimler. Another highlight was representing Google as intervening party in patent infringement proceedings led by Philips against android manufacturers. Other clients include Motorola, Everlight and SWM. Jesko Preuß was promoted to counsel, but non-equity partner Jan Ebersohl joined Allen & Overy LLP as partner in December 2017.

Rospatt Osten Pross is a ‘legally and technically highly competent’ and ‘excellent firm’. The team ‘delivers outstanding work both in terms of strategic advice in the run-up to legal proceedings at court and at court itself’ and ‘always keeps clients’ welfare in mind’; clients particularly appreciate ‘the very short response times due to the lawyers’ skills’. The team has broad expertise, but frequently acts in pharmaceutical disputes: It advised Illumina Sequenom in proceedings against Roche and diagnostic laboratories equipped by Roche in the area of prenatal non-invasive diagnostics. It also handled a global dispute for Biogen surrounding the blockbuster MS medication Tecfidera. Another highlight was representing Samsung Electronics in proceedings against the patent developer FIPA regarding UMTS and HSPA standards. Recommended are the ‘strategically thinking, creative and assertiveThomas Musmann, who ‘also surprisingly wins weak cases’; Max von Rospatt, who has ‘an extremely quick grasp for technically complex matters’; and Henrik Timmann, who is recognised for the ‘precision and persuasion of his pleas’ and whose ‘work quality sets new standards in the premium class’.

Düsseldorf boutique Wildanger Kehrwald Graf v Schwerin & Partner mbB advises on a range of technical areas, with recent highlight matters focusing on telecoms, mechanical engineering and life sciences, where Wolf Graf von Schwerin has particular expertise. Under the co-lead of Eva Geschke the firm advised Saint Lawrence Communications in several proceedings around standard-essential patents against a multitude of mobile phone manufacturers and also acted for Cellular Communications in proceedings against Apple regarding standard-essential patents. In the pharmaceutical sector the firm’s advice to Mylan in proceedings against TEVA stand out and in medical engineering its work for MTW. Peter-Michael Weisse is recommended and Roland Kehrwald has expertise in computer, electrical, medical and genetic engineering.

With a ‘good service level’ and ‘quick response timesCMS continues its strong patent practice advising companies in the mid-sized sector, but also acts for global clients. The team centres around Markus Deck, who ensures ‘a straightforward cooperation’, Matthias Eck and Gerd Schoenen in the automotive and life sciences sectors and here particularly in medical engineering and biotechnology. Another important pillar of the practice is the firm’s work for clients in the consumer goods industry. Highlights included the representation of mechanical engineering company Hinterkopf in patent infringement proceedings and the continuous advice to the Swabian energy supplier Albwerk and a company in the Faulhaber group. The team furthermore acted for machine tool manufacturer Trumpf in patent infringement and nullity proceedings.

With ‘short response times’, ‘great skills’ and ‘adequate team strength despite high work loadsGleiss Lutz’s practice surrounding Düsseldorf practice head Matthias Sonntag is recommended ‘for larger cases with a high level of complextity’ and covers a range of industries with a focus in the life sciences sector, but also handles impressive matters in the automotive, electronic engineering and telecoms areas. Of counsel Thomas Bopp represented betapharm in patent infringement proceedings against Novartis regarding the Alzheimer medication Rivastigmin and the firm continues to act for medical technology company Joline in the dispute with MedTech Development Deutschland surrounding a kyphoplasty procedure. Other clients include Actavis, Procter & Gamble and Opel. Counsel Herwig Lux is noted for his ‘analytic skills’, ‘great care’ and ‘longstanding experience’.

Grünecker has ‘broad expertise’ and is ‘extremely efficient in coordinating and leading complex international teams’; the firm is capable of ‘advising several parallel complex proceedings in a timely manner’ whereby ‘the combination of patent attorneys and lawyers is a decisive and effective advantage’. Since mid-2016 the practice gained some prominent new clients: It advised Broadcom in two parallel nullity proceedings regarding Playstation 4 and Sony Xperia against Sony. Nokia is now also a client in patent litigation, currently in four actions surrounding standard-essential patents against Apple. The team furthermore advises medical technology manufacturer Teleflex Medical in the course of a larger dispute in several parallel proceedings, including in patent injunction procedures. Ulrich Blumenröder, who together with Bernd Allekotte advises a global manufacturer in the automotive industry, impresses with the ‘high quality of work, his quick grasp of technical aspects and his strategic advice’.

Particularly established in patent prosecution, Hoffmann Eitle also continues to act in disputes with a strong focus on the life sciences industry, but also covers the electrical and mechanical engineering and chemistry areas with litigation expertise. Niels Hölder represents Bayer in an action brought by BASF regarding the distribution of the herbicide Tembotrione and acts for Edwards Lifesciences in an action for vindication against Neovasc Tiara due to a patent application for catheter mitral valve prostheses. Another highlight was the defence of ASUS in three patent infringement proceedings. The team also has close connections in Japan and a Japanese-speaking lawyer with Dirk Schüßler-Langeheine, as the extensive list of Japense clients shows; it includes Mitsubishi Electric in connection with the defence in two patent infringement proceedings and another client was Nippon Carbide Industries regarding infringement and nullity proceedings surrounding retro-reflective foils.

Jones Day’s patent litigation practice focuses on advising pharmaceutical companies. The team around practice head Martin Weber, which also includes Christian Paul, represented BioMarin Pharmaceuticals in a patent dispute surrounding Duchenne muscular dystrophy medication together with the London office. Celgene is a regular client regarding proceedings against generic drug manufacturers in the area of cancer medication and the South Korean company CJ CheilJedang sought the firm’s advice in a patent dispute against a Japanese competitor regarding a genetically engineered amino acid. Gerd Jaekel acted for Lufthansa Technik in an international patent infringement proceeding against a US distributor of aircraft cabin electronics. Another client was QA Technologies in inspection, patent infringement and nullity proceedings surrounding test devices for the circuit control of mobile phones.

After the spin-off from Preu Bohlig & Partner in January 2016 Kather Augenstein Rechtsanwälte expanded its patent law practice to Hamburg: There Daniel Hoppe, who joined from Harte-Bavendamm Rechtsanwälte in July 2017, leads the patent team, which otherwise continues its strong practice in the Munich office. Thematically the team has broad expertise with a recently particularly high volume of highlights in the electrical and mechanical engineering sectors. The firm represented PII Pipetronix in proceedings for the transfer of patents to a pipeline testing device and advised Sandvine in patent infringement proceedings in the area of network technology and parallel nullity proceedings. ZKW Group is a client regarding three patent infringement proceedings surrounding automotive headlights. Stephan Gruber and Hannes Jacobsen joined CBH Rechtsanwälte Cornelius, Bartenbach, Haesemann & Partner.

Simmons & Simmons LLP was able to expand its practice with a well-established and strong focus on the life sciences sector by gaining HTC as a new client: The mobile provider sought the firm’s representation in 12 patent infringement proceedings against IPCom due to the infringement of standard-essential telecoms patents in the former Bosch patent portfolio; the matter was led by Michael Knospe, who joined from King & Wood Mallesons’ closed Munich office. Nevertheless the team surrounding practice head Peter Meyer continues to advise on large matters for life sciences clients: It acted for Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica in patent infringement proceedings against Intervet regarding a vaccine for pigs and another highlight was the representation of Mack Rides in connection with the enforcement of patent rights for the use of virtual reality glasses for amusement rides. Daniel Kendziur was promoted to counsel.

Taylor Wessing continues to focus on advising companies in the life sciences, electrical engineering and IT sectors, which are also areas of expertise for the newly promoted salaried partners Sara Burghart and Jan Phillip Rektorschek. A recent highlight was representing ASUS in eight patent infringement proceedings against Philips and parallel nullity proceedings and practice head Christian Lederer acted for Nichia in patent infringement proceedings against Everlight regarding LED technology patents; the team also included of counsel Sabine Rojahn. Christoph de Coster represented Hexal in damage claims against Sanofi due to a preliminary injunction and in proceedings against Eli Lilly surrounding the cytostatic Permetrexed. Also noteworthy is the firm’s representation of Metatron in proceedings against Volkswagen.

Besides several clients in the life sciences sector Vossius & Partner also advises on patent disputes in a wide range of other industries, including telecoms, electronical and mechanical engineering, process technology and physics. Highlights included the representation of various clients in the life sciences area and in particular the conclusion of proceedings at the German Federal Court. The team, comprised of Johann Pitz and Thure Schubert among others, also again demonstrated its strength in the coordination of international infringement series. The broad client portfolio also includes a software provider.

In contentious patent matters Allen & Overy LLP stands out for its ‘very short response times’, ‘strong business sense’ and ‘good industry knowledge’. Particularly in the biotech sector the team around ‘very experienced’ practice head Joachim Feldges is ‘outstanding’. Accordingly the focus of recent highlights lies on the pharmaceutical area, such as representing Pfizer in several parallel injunction procedures on second medical use patents against generic pharmaceuticals companies. Another client was Archos in a mobile communications dispute with Philips. Counsel Philipp Cepl, who has expertise in mobile communications matters, however, left for DLA Piper in October 2017. Subsequently Jan Ebersohl, previously non-equity partner at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP, joined as partner in December 2017.

Baker McKenzie’s Frankfurt and Munich-based patent law practice covers a broad spectrum of technical areas: double qualified Jochen Herr, who leads the team together with Günter Pickrahn, has expertise both in process technology and mechanical engineering. Longstanding client Becton Dickinson currently seeks the firm’s advice in multinational patent infringement proceedings and the team is also handling a dispute around LED technology. Other clients include technology corporation Giesecke+Devrient, Pelikan Vertriebsgesellschaft and RealD.

Boehmert & Boehmert’s ‘very good’ practice consisting of both patent attorneys and attorneys at law delivers work that is ‘precise and totally reliable’. Recent highlights include Michael Rüberg and Dennis Kretschmann’s comprehensive representation of 3S Smart Software Solutions in a dispute pending in the US around 21 patents in the software industry automatisation area. Another client is Aeritas, company specialising in mobile barcodes, regarding the enforcement of patents around a procedure used by airlines for the electronic transfer of boarding passes to smartphones.

CBH Rechtsanwälte Cornelius, Bartenbach, Haesemann & Partner’s patent litigation team, which continues its strong presence in Cologne, has significantly bolstered its practice with the arrival of Stephan Gruber and Hannes Jacobsen, who both joined the Munich office from Preu Bohlig & Partner in July 2017. The team thereby also expanded its previously predominant and well established focus on employee invention law to additional expertise in patent infringement proceedings in the area of electronic engineering and electrotechnology, chemistry, mechanical engineering and medical technology. Recently Kurt Bartenbach and Jens Kunzmann also represented Volkswagen in an action for vindication with a dispute value in the three-digit million range.

DLA Piper’s patent practice ‘recently significantly gained in visibility in the market, not least due to the management’ under practice head Markus Gampp, who is considered a ‘very good litigation strategist’ and ‘always keeps an eye also on economic considerations. The ‘very dynamic, qualitatively excellent team’ is ‘efficient and pragmatic’ and ‘as part of an impressive global network in patent law also well positioned for multijurisdictional disputes’. Recent highlights include the representation of Robert Bosch in infringement and nullity proceedings in the automotive parts area against Mitsuba and acting for Alpinestars, a manufacturer of clothing and protective gear for motorsports and action sports, in several proceedings against competitor Dainese regarding a motorcycle jacket with an integrated airbag. Techtronic Industries is a new client in the tools sector. Philipp Cepl joined from Allen & Overy LLP in October 2017 and strengthened the team with expertise in mobile communications.

Harmsen Utescher has broad expertise in patent law, but matters in the life sciences sector constitute a main pillar of the practice; other areas include electrical and mechanical engineering and IT. The team led by Rainer Kaase and Karsten Königer is also regularly assisted by patent attorney Sabine Kossak, who specialises in chemistry.

Hengeler Mueller’s patent practice led by renowned Düsseldorf-based practice head Wolfgang Kellenter was again active in numerous matters for collecting societies. It represented IPCom in three infringement proceedings against Nokia, Apple and HTC and advised FIPA in patent infringement proceedings against Sony Mobile Communications, Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics. Other highlights besides acting for General Electrics in several infringement proceedings also included advising Saint-Gobain Abrasives and Piaggio. The client portfolio is furthermore comprised of Sisvel, BRITA and N&W Global Vending, among others.

Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek’s practice based in Düsseldorf advises numerous international clients under the lead of Anton Horn. The already in 2016 important matter for the French technology company Echosens surrounding the enforcement of a patent and the representation in parallel nullity proceedings continued to keep the team busy in 2017. Danish company EnerDry remains a client in disputes around an installation for the drying of biomass and sports surfaces provider Sisgrass, Bakker Holding and EGGER also sought the firm’s advice.

With the promotion of Marco Stief to equity partner Maiwald Patentanwalts GmbH’s patent litigation practice has more firmly established itself in the market; in contentious patent matters the teams regularly consist both of patent attorneys and attorneys at law. The firm has particular expertise in the pharmaceutical area, such as representing Radiometer in various infringement proceedings against Brahms, a company specialising in in vitro diagnostics.

Noerr’s Munich-based patent law team surrounding Ralph Nack and Thomas Gniadek focuses on IT and telecoms, but also acts for clients in the life sciences sector. It has been handling patent licence disputes for Thomson Licensing against Pioneer since January 2017 and represents ParkerVision in infringement proceedings around several patents in the mobile communications area and RFID chip technology. Other clients include Data Scape, WiLAN and Japan Aviation Electronics Industry.

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Legal Developments in Germany

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