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Germany > Intellectual property > Trade marks and unfair competition > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings


Index of tables

  1. Intellectual property: trade marks and unfair competition
  2. Other recommended firms
  3. Design law
  4. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

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Bird & Bird’s ‘excellent’ team shows strength in contentious trade mark matters, with clients noting the practice’s ‘seamless coordination’ in cross-border disputes. It achieved a success at the Federal Court for Deutsche Sparkassen- und Giroverband in the long-running dispute with Banco Santander over protection of its red colour mark. A key client in design law is Audi, which the firm has been advising on measures against counterfeiters of automobile wheel rims, leading to parallel actions in Germany, Italy and Poland. The team has also been representing Ratiopharm in various disputes with competition law elements. The firm also has a growing practice in strategic advisory support and portfolio management; it took over KWS Saat’s trade mark portfolio. Recognised expert Richard Dissmann is recommended alongside design law expert Joseph Fesenmair and renowned trade mark lawyer Uwe Lüken.

CMS has a broad presence, with team members in seven offices nationwide – including notable strength in Cologne; it also has expertise in a variety of industries. A key client is Eli Lilly, for which it has been handling contentious trade mark matters and measures against counterfeiters and parallel importers. The team has been acting for Porsche against Tuner in trade mark and unfair competition matters, and continues to advise Leifheit on management of the entire trade mark portfolio. Design law work includes representing Tredy-fashion in infringement proceedings. The renowned Gordian Hasselblatt is recommended along with Heike Blank, Alexander von Bossel and Carsten Menebröcker, as well as Thomas Manderla, Torsten Sill and Jörn Witt.

Gleiss Lutz handles a high volume of significant trade mark disputes. It sucessfully defended the colour mark NIVEA Blue for Beiersdorf against a cancellation request by Unilever and continues to act for Merck KGaA in the long-running dispute with Merck & Co, Inc regarding the use of the name Merck on the internet. It also continues to defend the Tigercat trade mark for the client of the same name against Caterpillar; in competition law, the team continues to gain new clients in relation to product testing. Other pillars of the practice include strategic and transaction-related advice. The renowned Stefan Völker, Andreas Wehlau and Stefan Weidert are recommended.

A ‘top choice’ in trade mark law, IP boutique Harmsen Utescher provides ‘pragmatic, business-oriented advice’ that includes comprehensive portfolio management and a high volume of prominent contentious matters. The team represented Metro Group and its Real department store chain in enforcing the cancellation of a similar trade mark. Other work included successfully representing firearms manufacturer Glock in a case against a retail chain due to the distribution of a Glock toy gun without a licence; the team also defended Lidl against a consumer protection union. The firm also has experience in protected designations of origin cases. ‘Excellent strategistRainer Kaase, Till Lampel, Karin Sandberg, Martin Kefferpütz and John-Christian Plate are recommended.

Noted for portfolio management and disputes, ‘excellent’ boutique Harte-Bavendamm Rechtsanwälte has ‘extremely high expertise and flexibility’. It recorded a success at the Federal Court of Justice for Levi Strauss regarding the protection of its double arc stitching pattern. Another key client is Nestlé, which the team has been advising on management of its community trade marks and designs portfolio, as well as in numerous disputes, including competition proceedings. Other clients include Procter & Gamble and Integritas (the society for fair drug advertising). Key figures are ‘outstanding strategist’ Frederik Thiering; Henning Harte-Bavendamm; the ‘competent and solution-oriented’ Marion Jacob; ‘heavyweight in competition law’ Michael Goldmann; and drug advertising law expert Arne Lambrecht.

Hogan Lovells International LLPbelongs to the best firms’ in trade mark and competition law; the ‘very competent and quick’ team is ‘extremely broad’ and noted for its ‘outstanding collaboration’ with other offices globally. It has been representing Merck & Co, Inc in the prominent dispute with Merck KGaA regarding use of the Merck name on the internet, including concurrent proceedings in Germany, France and the UK. For ThyssenKrupp, it organised the worldwide application of its new logo and slogans, including representation in various opposition proceedings. Other clients include Mars for portfolio management and Novartis in competition law. Andreas Bothe, Yvonne Draheim, Morten Petersenn, Erhard Keller and Nils Rauer are recommended.

Boutique Klaka Rechtsanwälte provides ‘high-quality’ advice and the team ‘works confidently and with the required thoroughness, even under time pressure’. BMW is a longstanding client in trade mark and design proceedings under the lead of Ralf Hackbarth, who ‘knows perfectly how to utilise his strengths in strategic proceedings’; the team successfully took measures against Italian automobile wheel rim manufacturers and their German purchasers due to design infringements. Michael Nieder and recently promoted partner Carola Onken continue to defend the protected appellation of origin for Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne. Another key client is the Association for Protection against Unfair Competition. Stefan Eck, Stefan Abel, Wolfgang Götz, Oliver Rauscher and Andreas Schulz are also recommended.

Excellent’ IP boutique Lorenz Seidler Gossel has a reputation among competitors as ‘respected opposition’ and is noted by clients for its ‘very fast reactions’ and ‘outstanding quality’. The team continues to handle infringement proceedings for longstanding client adidas concerning the enforcement of the three-stripes logo; it recently won a case against Puma. It also represented Gerry Weber in a trade mark dispute with Gucci and was very busy advising Swarovski on the enforcement of trade mark rights against eBay traders in more than 1,000 proceedings. Reinhard Ingerl combines the ‘highest legal expertise’ with ‘economic considerations’; Siegfried Jackermeier has ‘a sophisticated, tactical approach at court’. Christian Raßmann and Philipp Neuwald are also recommended.

Taylor Wessing is noted for its ‘very good and very practical work’ in trade mark and especially unfair competition law, and has experience in design law and appellations of origin. It has been representing BSH Hausgeräte (formerly known as Bosch-Siemens) in a dispute with Dyson concerning advertising statements and is defending Check24 against a legal test case by the Association of German Insurance Brokers regarding the fundamental question of the admissibility of the business model of online insurance brokerage. Other clients include Continental, Tedi, EGLO Leuchten and Consejo Regulador del Tequila. Olaf Gillert, Dirk Wieddekind, Wiebke Baars, Thomas Raab and Ortrun Günzel are recommended.

Baker McKenzie’s ‘very good and quick’ team is able to leverage the firm’s international network, including its global IP support centre in Manila, for assistance with portfolio management. The firm manages SAP’s large global portfolio and provides strategic advice; Michael Fammler and Rembert Niebel have been representing SAP in infringement proceedings and other trade mark disputes. Other work included defending MixRadio against Deutsche Telekom, which claimed the client had infringed its magenta colour mark. Border seizure proceedings and transaction-related IP advice are other pillars of the practice. Benjamin Koch moved to Lubberger - Lehment.

Excellent’ boutique Bardehle Pagenberg gives ‘very good advice’ in prosecution work and has additional strength in design law disputes, where it shows ‘an enormous fighting spirit at court’. It has been representing Nintendo in a dispute with Bigben Interactive due to design infringements related to the distribution of accessories. In competition law, it successfully acted for Zound Industries against Lidl and its distributors in a case concerning counterfeit headphones. Coca-Cola and Australian Gold are clients in trade mark matters; other clients include Campari and H&M. Henning Hartwig, Claus Eckhartt and Alexander von Mühlendahl are recommended.

IP boutique Boehmert & Boehmertunites the tradition and experience of an established firm with the dynamics of a young team’ to handle an impressive volume of German, European and international trade mark applications. The practice covers issues such as strategic advice, investigations into similar trade marks, opposition proceedings, border seizures and the monitoring of online markets to combat product piracy. It is defending Huawei against Pirelli regarding the EU-wide use of the name P8 for a new smartphone; representing in a multi-jurisdictional trade mark dispute with Assos and Anson’s Herrenhaus. Axel Nordemann, Jan Bernd Nordemann, Christian Czychowski and Volker Schmitz-Fohrmann are recommended.

Besides its longstanding strength in prosecution work, Grünecker is increasingly busy producing ‘highly professional work’ in contentious trade mark, design and unfair competition matters. It successfully took action for Schwan Stabilo against the distribution of imitation Stabilo Point 88 fineliner pens and represented Lind and Lind Shanghai in a trade mark dispute with Lindt & Sprüngli. The firm also manages the trade mark portfolios of clients such as Samsung, Signa and the owners of KaDeWe and Karstadt. The ‘engaged and solution-oriented’ Nicolás Schmitz and the ‘quick and confident’ Holger Gauss are recommended for disputes, with Anja Franke and Maximilian Kinkeldey well regarded for trade mark advisory work.

Small but excellent’ boutique Lubberger - Lehment is recommended ‘for difficult cases’ in trade mark and unfair competition law. The selective distribution of luxury goods and measures against product piracy are areas of expertise. The team successfully represented Coty against Stadtsparkasse Magdeburg before the Court of Justice of the European Union, using bank secrecy rules to prevent disclosure of data to an eBay trader of counterfeit perfumes. Other clients include Axel Springer, L’Oréal and Volkswagen. Cornelis Lehment is ‘a walking encyclopaedia of trade mark law and always finds creative solutions’; Andreas Lubberger is recommended for unfair competition disputes. The firm hired Benjamin Koch from Baker McKenzie to join the new Munich office.

Beiten Burkhardt’s ‘very strong’ team gives ‘pragmatic advice’ on a broad range of matters and has niche expertise in sport and leisure. A key client is the German Football Association (DFB), including in proceedings against Metro Group’s Real supermarket chain, which resulted in a prohibition on the distribution of t-shirts with the DFB eagle emblem. Another client is Bandai Namco Entertainment, which the team has been advising regarding the protection of Pac Man and other trade marks and in cracking down on grey imports of video games. Angelica von der Decken, Tilmann Lührig and Andreas Lober are recommended.

CBH Rechtsanwälte Cornelius, Bartenbach, Haesemann & Partner is often recommended for trade mark and unfair competition law, particularly in dispute resolution. It successfully represented the German Federation of Bakers at the EGC, which declared the use of the term Schlesischer Streuselkuchen in Germany as lawful despite the registration of the indication of geographical origin Kołocz śląski in Poland. The team also represented Haribo in the so-called ‘gold bear’ dispute with Lindt. Ingo Jung, Nadja Siebertz and Manfred Hecker are recommended.

FPS is known for combating trade mark and product piracy. It organises border seizure proceedings for companies in various industries, notably in relation to luxury goods, tobacco and software. It advised a furniture retailer in a dispute with Vitra regarding furniture design and regularly acts for Allianz in trade mark matters. Carsten Albrecht, Christian Hertz-Eichenrode and Christoph Holzbach are recommended.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer gives high-level advice with a focus on litigation and transaction-related matters. The firm acts for Mars in trade mark and unfair competition matters in all its business segments; the firm successfully defended the 3D trade mark for Bounty at the Federal Court of Justice. It also acts for 3M to protect the Post-It trade mark and in measures against counterfeiting of respiratory masks. Matthias Koch and Andrea Lensing-Kramer are recommended.

Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek’s ‘broad’ team delivers ‘high-quality’ work across six offices. Thorsten Wieland focuses on fashion, Dominik Eickemeier on technical industries and Christian Spintig on design law. Tommy Hilfiger is a key client in trade mark matters, including anti-piracy measures, border seizures, court actions and administrative proceedings. The firm also regularly provides emergency legal services to Messe Frankfurt in the case of infringements during trade fairs and has been representing GlaxoSmithKline in unfair competition and drug advertising disputes with Pfizer.

Boutique Jonas Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH is known for its strength in trade mark administration but also covers anti-piracy measures, border seizure proceedings and court actions. It has been defending Deutsche Post in a legal test case brought by German association Verband Sozialer Wettbewerb regarding masthead requirements for sales platform operators in print advertisements and is representing Nürburgring in the dispute regarding name rights at the music festival Rock am Ring. Karl Hamacher, Nils Weber and Martin Viefhues are recommended.

Loschelder’s established trade mark and unfair competition team has been representing Henkel Wasch- und Reinigungsmittel in a multitude of competition disputes with competitors surrounding product design and equipment features. Other work included advising a luxury watchmaker on anti-counterfeiting and domain grabbing matters. The renowned Michael Loschelder has longstanding experience as general secretary of the German association for industrial property protection and copyrights (GRUR). Stefan Maaßen and Thomas Schulte-Beckhausen are also recommended.

Preu Bohlig & Partner’s ‘very experienced’ team covers trade mark administration and strategic advice, anti-piracy measures and court actions. It has handled several trade marks for LVMH Group, including infringement and border seizure proceedings, and often represents Engel & Völkers in trade mark and competition proceedings. Other clients include Swatch Group and Fossil. Detlef von Schultz, Astrid Gérard and Andreas Haberl are recommended.

Danckelmann & Kerst is known for its strength in competition law. The team has been acting for key client Deutsche Telekom in proceedings concerning advertising involving test ratings, including one such dispute with 1&1. It also handles various proceedings for the German Agency to Combat Unfair Competition surrounding the admissibility of advertisements in the pharmacy and pharmaceuticals sector. Jan-Felix Isele, Nikolaus Rehart and Hans-Jürgen Ruhl are recommended.

Very good’ IP boutique Eisenführ Speiser shows strength in trade mark applications but also fields lawyers who are experienced in court actions. It successfully represented Lindt & Sprüngli in the so-called ‘gold bear’ dispute with Haribo; the Federal Court of Justice concluded that Lindt’s product form does not infringe Haribo’s word mark. The team also took successful measures for design manufacturer Tecnolumen against an Italian online trader over distribution of the Wagenfeld lamp design. Günther Eisenführ, Ulrich Sander, Julian Eberhardt and Rainer Böhm are recommended.

The ‘very strong’ team at Friedrich Graf von Westphalen & Partner Rechtsanwälte MBB has expertise in trade mark and competition law matters, notably in pharmaceuticals, other medical products and health-related cosmetics and foods. It successfully represented Wilkinson Sword in a dispute with Procter & Gamble at the Federal Court of Justice regarding health-related advertising statements and acted for the North-Rhine Chamber of Pharmacists in competition proceedings against mail-order pharmacy DocMorris. Norbert Hebeis, Morton Douglas and Hans-Georg Riegger are recommended.

KNPZ Rechtsanwälte covers strategic and transaction-related advice, court actions and the coordination of multinational teams for cross-border matters across trade marks, unfair competition and design law. It has been advising longstanding client Colgate-Palmolive in relation to product launches and advertising campaigns. Bahlsen is another key client in global trade mark portfolio management, administrative proceedings and court actions. Christian Klawitter and Mathias Zintler are recommended.

Lichtenstein, Körner & Partner’s tradition-steeped practice is often recommended for trade mark law. Kerstin Gründig-Schnelle represented Ethical Coffee Company in a dispute with Nestlé regarding the cancellation of the 3D trade mark for Nespresso capsules and Thomas Sambuc defended Adam Wieland Metallwerkstatt against trade mark infringement proceedings by Lampert concerning the Eiermann table design.

Noerr’s ‘forward-looking and pragmatic’ practice focuses on strategic advice and court actions, as well as trade mark administration, via its office in Alicante. The team successfully represented Crocs in infringement proceedings arising from imitation of the product design and acted for Karstadt in a competition dispute with Galeria Kaufhof regarding comparative advertising. Other clients include Abercrombie & Fitch, Lidl and Sony. The ‘very experiencedGeorg Jahn is recommended along with the ‘very client-oriented’ Sandra Redeker.

SKW Schwarz Rechtsanwälte’s ‘pragmatic’ team has broad expertise. It has been representing Bayer in several cases of counterfeit pharmaceuticals and gained Blackberry as a new client for border seizure proceedings. It has been assisting the German Animal Welfare Association with the development and expansion of the Für Mehr Tierschutz label. Markus Brock, Markus von Fuchs, Magnus Hirsch and Dorothee Altenburg are recommended.

Boutique Schultz - Süchting focuses on media, trade marks and pharmaceuticals, with notable strength in unfair competition and drug advertising disputes. Prominent clients are Bayer, Hexal and Novartis in the pharmaceuticals industry and Axel Springer, Harper Collins and Spiegel in the media sector; other clients include Beiersdorf, H&M and Schüco. Lars Kröner and Dirk Bruhn are recommended.

IP boutique Vossius & Partner is known for trade mark applications and strategic advice; it has an expanding litigation practice and an increased work in design law. The team successfully represented Supergroup in an action against a competitor arising from the imitation of jacket designs and represented SCA in proceedings regarding whether the refilling of trade marked paper towel dispensers with third-party products constitutes trade mark infringement. Mathias Kleespies, Paul Kretschmar and Simone Schäfer are recommended.

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Legal Developments in Germany

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