Firm Profile > Bird & Bird LLP > Frankfurt, Germany

Bird & Bird LLP

Data protection Tier 1

Bird & Bird is considered ‘traditionally strong across Europe’ for data protection matters and has ‘a very good market position’; clients note the ‘short turnaround and quick and precise responses’ as well as the ‘practical orientation and solid industry expertise’ of the ‘very engaged’ team. The group is advising Adidas, Flir and Nordzucker on GDPR compliance projects, as well as handling GDPR compliance matters for InfoSys. The team also handles sophisticated, often international data protection projects beyond the GDPR, including in connection with AI, the automotive and financial services sectors and IT security. It regularly advises Dexcom on GDPR matters, as well as issues concerning the use of Dexcom diabetes and tissue sugar measurement solutions on the basis of wearables and cloud solutions. Other clients include Microsoft, for which it handles data protection and IoT, SAP matters regarding data protection issues concerning global cloud projects, DekaBank, which it advises on domestic and international data protection and Kempinski. Practice head Fabian Niemann is ‘an excellent lawyer, who is willing to take a position and defend his view vehemently’; Henriette Picot is ‘a very congenial, good lawyer’ and the ‘extremely clever’ associate Simon Assion is considered a rising star, who ‘we will hear a lot of in the future’. The opening of an office in San Francisco in September 2018 following Kai Westerwelle’s arrival from Taylor Wessing, has further expanded its international strength in data protection matters.

Information technology (including contracts) Tier 1

According to clients, Bird & Bird provides ‘the best service level in Europe’ and therefore remains ‘a market leader’ in IT matters; it provides ‘context-based, useful and relevant advice’ in ‘a practical manner with sound industry expertise’. The large and broad team focuses on high-end business, including advice on small innovative projects, large complex transactions and representation in and out of court in disputes. Expertise lies in digitalisation and the high-tech sector (agile programming, AI and robotics, big data, fintech and blockchain, cloud computing, the connected car, cybersecurity, digital health, industry 4.0 and IoT as well as energy 4.0) and clients include numerous DAX 30-listed companies and global market leaders in the IT sector. A key client is Adidas, for which the firm handles large IT projects, particularly regarding an IoT platform in the sports area and a cooperation with Deutsche Telekom and universities surrounding big data. Lenovo is a client at the domestic and international level for IT law matters including disputes and large client projects. Another highlight is the firm’s representation of the PC industry via Bitkom in landmark proceedings now at the Federal Constitutional Court against collecting societies regarding copyright charges for PCs. Other clients include Lexmark, Infosys, SAP and Western Digital. Henriette Picot is recommended for her ‘experience of open source software’ and Fabian Niemann is considered ‘a go-to attorney for European matters’; he ‘stands out for his availability, holistic approach, great expertise and in general his pleasant manner of working together’. Jörg-Alexander Paul and the ‘very visible and good’ Alexander Duisberg are also recognised.

Patent litigation Tier 1

Operating across four offices in Germany – Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Munich and Hamburg – Bird & Bird’s team, which consists of both patent attorneys and attorneys at law, is considered one of the most established players on the German market. It has particular expertise in the areas of technology and communication, life sciences, automotive and retail, but has a generally broad practice. A unique selling point is the firm’s experience in matters requiring both patent and antitrust law knowledge, making it well placed for advice on disputes surrounding standard-essential patents. The overall structure of the firm allows for the handling of large international matters. Oliver Jan Jüngst regularly represents Broadcom in infringement and nullity proceedings, while Boris Kreye is acting for Canon in a series of patent infringement proceedings regarding toner cartridges. Practice head Christian Harmsen is advising Nektar Therapeutics Group in actions for vindication against Bayer. Other clients include Edwards Lifesciences, Nestlé and TivO. The practice was strengthened by the promotions of Tung-Gia Du and Tobias Wilcke to counsel in May 2018; Matthias Meyer, Felix Rödiger and Anna Wolters-Höhne are also recommended.

Public procurement Tier 1

The procurement team at Bird & Bird is active on both the contracting and bidding sides and has a wealth of expertise in a wide range of sectors, including IT, healthcare, transport, energy and construction. The 15-strong team acts on issues relating to contract law, regulations, financing and various proceedings. Highlights in 2018 included advising a leading software manufacturer on the contractual and procurement law aspects of several IT contracts, and assisting a statutory health insurance fund with tendering procedures in the field of medical aids as well as with litigation before social welfare courts and review bodies. Alexander Csaki led the advice to an international defence sector company on an award review procedure concerning the procurement of technical equipment for the German armed forces. Jan Byok leads the group, which also includes the very active René Voigtländer and Guido Bormann. Hermann Rothfuchs joined the partnership in 2017. Heiko Höfler left for Oppenhoff & Partner in March 2018.

Trade marks and unfair competition Tier 1

Bird & Bird provides advice at ‘the highest technical level’ on the full spectrum of trade mark and competition law and is noted for its ‘ability to adapt to clients’ needs’. The firm has expanded its trade mark and design portfolio management practice, also at an international level, which simultaneously has meant a growth in advice on international projects. The sizeable team includes the renowned Richard Dissmann, who recently represented a multinational retail company in a competition law and design law dispute concerning shoe models. Joseph Fesenmair, who alongside counsel Roman Brtka and senior counsel Franz Gernhardt is recognised for his ‘excellent expertise’, handled several matters for Audi, including representing the client in multiple proceedings at Higher Regional Courts in the defence of trade mark, domain and design rights, and acting in several proceedings against Deutsche Umwelthilfe (German environmental relief) regarding the requirements of the German energy labelling ordinance for cars. High-profile clients include Fendi, Deutsche Telekom and Phillip Morris. Key figures in the team, which is led by patent law expert Christian Harmsen, also include Markus Körner, Uwe Lüken and Niels Lutzhöft; the practice is very visible in the market at partner level, but is also strong at counsel and senior counsel level with Sebastian Fischoeder, Mascha Grundmann and Thomas Urband. Jana Bogatz joined D Young & Co LLP as partner in October 2018.

Healthcare and life sciences Tier 2

With the promotions of Tung-Gia Du and Tobias Wilcke to counsel in May 2018, Bird & Bird further strengthened its already strong patent law practice, which is led by Boris Kreye. Recent mandates reflect the team’s broad expertise, with Alexander Csaki’s stand-out advice to a statutory health insurer on a tender in the medical aid sector a particular highlight; the matter included assistance with public procurement law, among other areas. The team is also adept at handling healthcare-related matters at the intersection with data protection and IT. In one highlight, the team advised Dexcom on strategic issues concerning the use of wearable tissue sugar measurement solutions, which included assisting with competition law and drug advertising law, advice on medical device law and the representation in disputes; Frankfurt-based technology expert Fabian Niemann led the advice. The core team also includes patent lawyer Oliver Jan Jüngst, corporate expert Stefan Münch, employment lawyer Ralph Panzer and Jan Byok, who focuses on public commercial law.

Telecoms Tier 2

Bird & Bird’s telecoms practice focuses on the high-tech sector, where, in addition to traditional telecoms law issues, the firm also increasingly handles matters at the intersection with ICT projects. Broadband expansion and investments in communcations infrastructure projects are also part of the team’s workload as well as advice on OTT services – providers in this space make up a substantial part of the client base, in addition to network operators and mobile virtual network operators. 450Connect, Telefónica and CenturyLink Communications Germany are key clients. The group represented internet exchange point operator DE-CIX Management in an action against the Federal Republic of Germany regarding the admissibility of strategic telephone tapping. Practice head Sven-Erik Heun and counsel Valerian Jenny make up the core team.

Outsourcing Tier 3

Bird & Bird’s broad IT practice also covers outsourcing transactions. Fabian Niemann advised Dalli on a large logistics outsourcing, with assistance ranging from the tender to contract negotiations in two tranches. European Stability Mechanism is another client. Jörg-Alexander Paul is experienced in complex BPO and ITO transactions with a focus on the finance industry, both on the client and service provider side. Henriette Picot and Lennart Schüßler were also active advising on outsourcing projects.

Antitrust Tier 5

Companies from the automotive industry, the fields of life sciences, information technology as well as trade and consumption instruct the antitrust law group at Bird & Bird, which offers ‘outstanding industry knowledge and a fair price/performance ratio’, on a regular basis in connection with antitrust proceedings, actions for damages, issues pertaining to distribution antitrust law and merger control proceedings. In the latter area, the instruction from Dalli-Werke stands out in particular: Jörg Witting provided assistance with merger control law matters related to the acquisition of a detergent brand portfolio by Procter & Gamble. In the area of litigation, one highlight is the action for damages that the firm brought on behalf of auric Hörsysteme against the Federal Guild of Hearing Care Professionals following the decision of the Federal Cartel Office regarding abuse of a position of market dominance.

Commercial litigation Tier 5

At Bird & Bird, the dispute resolution team covers litigation, product liability and arbitration, with an increasing industry focus on the automotive and energy sectors, frequently on the defendant side. Practice head Jiri Jäger, who is experienced in the enforcement of claims for damages and guarantees, is representing Abellio in pursuing claims concerning the faulty construction of a workshop hall. Benedikt Burger, who is experienced in settling disputes, joined from Allen & Overy LLP in October 2017; he acted for Espa Germany in connection with the enforcement of payment and compensation claims against former co-partners and managing directors. Christian Kessel is ‘a generally preferred choice in automotive litigation’. Other changes at a personnel level include another the arrival of counsel Philipp Egler in November 2017 from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, and promotion to counsel of Michael Zavodsky and Lea Noemi Mackert.

Corporate Tier 5

Bird & Bird is particularly recognised in the technology and media sector, with recent instructions including assisting Fujifilm Europe with internal reorganisation projects. However, the group is also working to develop other areas such as energy, life sciences and the automotive sector. Other work includes its advice to F.W. Hempel & Co. Erze und Metalle on its planned restructuring. Practice heads Peter Veranneman and Stefan Gottgetreu are based in Dusseldorf, while the team also has corporate law expertise in Frankfurt and Munich.

Energy Tier 5

With a focus on renewable energy, the eleven-partner team at Bird & Bird provides comprehensive advice on domestic and international energy projects. The team is particularly notable for transactions and the setting up of funds for solar parks, onshore and offshore wind farms and geothermal power plants. Practice head René Voigtländer assisted an energy supply company with the merger of two distribution system operators; the matter involved public procurement, energy regulatory and corporate law advice. Düsseldorf-based corporate lawyer Peter Veranneman assisted EWV Energie- und Wasser-Versorgung with merger talks with Stawag, while Matthias Lang advised a US energy supplier on an offshore connection system in Germany. Hermann Rothfuchs was promoted to partner. Counsel Alik Dörn joined Friedrich Graf von Westphalen & Partner.

M&A: mid-sized deals (sub-€500m) Tier 5

Bird & Bird’s corporate group often cooperates with other practices such as antitrust, IP and employment. Together with the IP and employment groups, the team advised Precision Medicine Group on the acquisition of all shares in Epiontis. Another highlight was assisting EWV Energie- und Wasser-Versorgung in merger talks with Stawag Stadtwerke Aachen. Peter Veranneman and Stefan Münch are recommended.

Planning and environment Tier 5

The range of services provided by the eight-strong environment and planning practice at Bird & Bird includes project and product-related environmental law, in particular in the automotive, technology, energy and utilities sectors, as well as environmental law infringements. Recent highlights include assisting Amprion with several planning approval proceedings for extra-high voltage power lines, which was led by Matthias Lang, and advising Sojitz on environmental law relating to the acquisition of a chemical logistics company. Hermann Rothfuchs, who made partner in 2017, advised a leading automotive supplier on the EU Low Voltage Directive. René Voigtländer heads the practice and is particularly experienced in waste and disposal law.

Trade and distribution Tier 5

The three-partner practice at Bird & Bird focuses on the drafting of trade and distribution agreements and the representation of clients from the automotive, energy, insurance and telecoms industries in litigation. Christian Kessel advised Dayco Products on standard contracts with a major German OEM, and led the out-of-court representation in a product liability case. He also advised Cooper Standard on a threatened delivery stop by a tier 2 supplier. Other key names are Matthias Spilker, who is particularly experienced in product liability cases, and Fabian Niemann.

Entertainment Tier 6

Bird & Bird’s media practice regularly acts for domestic and international companies in the sports, media, communications and internet sectors. The team, which is led by Joseph Fesenmair, advises on copyright, freedom of speech, contractual and regulatory matters and also handles issues at the intersection with antitrust law and represents clients in disputes. It has additional expertise is in sports marketing; here the firm advises the Bavarian broadcasting service Bayerischer Rundfunk on antitrust matters. The team also assisted ProSiebenSat.1 with the sale of NuCom Group’s commerce division to General Atlantic and advised the client on transaction-based IP matters. In another highlight, Niels Lutzhöft represented a developer and distributor of online games in copyright and competition proceedings. The client portfolio also includes Audi, Bitkom and Gema.

The firm: Bird & Bird is an international law firm, with a long-established reputation for having a rare and invaluable grasp of strategic commercial issues. The firm combines exceptional legal expertise with deep industry knowledge and refreshingly creative thinking, to help clients operating at the forefront of their industries to achieve their commercial goals.

Bird & Bird has over 1,200 lawyers and legal practitioners with broad advisory transactional and contentious capability, with a particular focus on key industry sectors. The firm has an extensive international reach with 28 offices in 19 countries across Europe, Asia-Pacific and the Middle East, offering a seamless, cross-border service between locations and sector and practice groups.

In Germany, Bird & Bird has offices in Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg and Munich. From these offices it provides a full range of legal services, including intellectual property (patents, trade marks, designs and copyright), corporate/M&A, commercial, banking and finance, ata protection, dispute resolution, employment, competition and EU, outsourcing, regulatory and administrative, tax, privacy and data protection and real estate.

Areas of practice: Underpinned by deep client and industry knowledge, the firm’s key sectors include:

Automotive: advising on all stages of a life cycle of a motor vehicle, from initial design, to sales and distribution, through to disposals.

Aviation, aerospace, defence and security: advising on asset management and financing, civil aviation matters, including airlines, regulatory and competition issues, and aerospace and defence, including PPP/PFI and product liability.

Energy and utilities: advising large multinationals, investors, project companies and large energy consumers on electricity generation, energy trading, renewable energy, cleantech and climate change, and upstream oil and gas.

Financial services: advising global clients in the financial services sector, such as global retail and investment banks, investors and hedge funds, on transactions, regulatory issues, commercial contracts and dispute resolution.

Life sciences and healthcare: advising clients in biotechnology, bioinformatics and pharmaceutical companies on licensing and drug development agreements, R&D collaboration, IP acquisitions and joint ventures.

Media and entertainment and sports: advising clients from across the media spectrum on a wide range of issues, including exploitation across all forms of digital media and emerging areas, such as user-generated content exploitation; advising clients such as national and international sports governing bodies, event organisers and sponsors on issues including exploitation of commercial rights, brand management, regulatory and disciplinary issues.

Retail and consumer: advising retail and consumer-facing clients on all aspects of the sector, from research and development, production and packaging, through to distribution, promotion and retailing.

Technology and communications: advising on matters ranging from smaller innovative projects to some of the largest, most complex and ground-breaking transactions and disputes of recent years. Its team includes lawyers with a particular focus on communications, devices and components, digital tech and eCommerce, and software and services as well as a number of more specialist industries including data centres, postal and satellites.

Department Name Email Telephone
Banking and finance Michael Jünemann
Commercial, data protection Fabian Niemann
Corporate and M&A Peter Veranneman
Employment Martin Nebeling
Competition and EU Jörg Witting
IP (patents and trade marks) Christian Harmsen
Regulatory and administrative Jan Byok
Dispute resolution (litigation and arbitration) Jiri Jaeger
Automotive Christian Kessel
Aviation, aerospace, defence and security Jan Byok
Energy and utilities René Voigtländer
Life sciences and healthcare Boris Kreye
Media, entertainment and sport Joseph Fesenmair
Retail and consumer Uwe Lüken
TMT Alexander Duisberg (IT)
TMT Sven-Erik Heun (Telecommunications)
TMT Oliver Jan Jüngst (Electronics)
Photo Name Position Profile
 Sven-Erik Heun  photo Sven-Erik Heun
Mr Peter Veranneman  photo Mr Peter Veranneman
Number of lawyers : 1,200
in this country : 180
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