Germany remains a vital hub for technology transactions in Europe, with many companies licensing technology in and out, and also using licensing agreements to settle disputes. While telecommunications is arguably the hottest sector in the country right now, traditionally strong areas such as pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and automotive remain significant. In terms of practitioners, attorneys at law lead the way in drafting and negotiating contracts, although patent attorneys also play a crucial role, lending technical expertise to their legally qualified peers in some instances and leading clients through all aspects of a licensing deal in others. Given the extent to which these practices overlap, we have listed attorneys at law and patent attorneys together in our tables of individuals.
International powerhouse Baker & McKenzie continues to build its presence in the German market. Commentators reserve particular praise for the firm’s transactional IP work, which includes patent and technology licensing matters. Leading the charge are Andrea Schmoll, who “continues to do very well”, and Constanze Ulmer-Eilfort, who boasts “a wealth of experience”. Both partners’ expertise encompasses agreements in the life sciences, automotive and consumer products sectors for patent-owning companies and for research institutions.Bardehle Pagenberg
A “household name” on the German IP scene, this combined law and patent attorney firm has long enjoyed a high profile spanning all major industry sectors and encompassing the full range of technology and commercialisation structures. Bardehle owes much of its reputation to its “stable of excellent practitioners”, including the “prominent and experienced” patent attorney Peter Hess, who focuses on semiconductors, telecommunications, opto-electronics and information technologies. Another “eminent personality” is attorney at law Jochen Pagenberg, considered one of the industry’s most senior and specialised licensing experts. He handles deals in the life sciences, mechanical and IT sectors, often as part of post-litigation settlement negotiations.Bird & Bird LLP
Bird & Bird garners praise for its “depth and elite standard of quality”. Advice and representation on licensing agreements are delivered as one component of an integrated IP offering; as such, they are backed up by expertise on antitrust, tax and other related issues. Conversely, the team also works on licensing mandates generated by the firm’s IP litigation and corporate groups, making Bird & Bird “an excellent choice for clients seeking complete and full attention to their IP needs”. Reflecting this, the firm is active in all major fields of technology. In one recent highlight, it took the lead in negotiations regarding cuttingedge aluminium casting technology in the automotive sector. Senior European consultant Michael Groß is among Germany’s most specialised and experienced licensing practitioners. He has a “major reputation, a strong practice” and is lauded for the breadth of his expertise: “whatever the size of the licensing matter, he is excellent.” Matthias Meyer is another well-known practitioner, albeit one with a greater focus on litigation. However, he also handles licensing agreements in the banking and finance, life sciences, automotive and telecommunications sectors. Fabian Niemann has an IT bent, specialising in complex contracts involving the provision of software and hardware technology, among others.Boehmert & Boehmert
“Very strong” is the consensus on this joint legal and patent attorney practice. Highly esteemed in the market, Boehmert has “a lot of excellent people and invaluable experience” in licensing. Clients range from academic research institutions to high-tech concerns in the private sector, and include a number of leading semiconductor and software players. Christian Appelt has attained “standout” status, with “a cooperative approach” and “complete knowledge of the latest developments”. The “internationally renowned” Heinz Goddar has arguably the highest profile of any patent attorney in Germany. He balances patent licensing and litigation work with firm management and academic duties, and overall has “earned a stellar reputation”.CBH Rechtsanwälte
Boutique practice CBH Rechtsanwälte is “extremely well reputed” for its licensing work and Kurt Bartenbach is the most prominent licensing practitioner there. With particular expertise in employee inventions and patent licensing, he is described as “a great authority” and is esteemed by universities and private sector companies for his expertise.Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP
As a well-established IP department at a major full service firm, the Freshfields team can draw upon antitrust and other areas of expertise native to the firm, and has access to a constant stream of high-value licensing matters deriving from deals handled by the corporate department. Its reach is international and practitioners frequently collaborate with colleagues in London, Amsterdam and further afield. It is “clearly a strong choice for major deals and in terms of quality it is at the top.” Peter Chrocziel has “an immense reputation” and is “an authority on licensing, with deep international and domestic experience from work with many big clients”. His expertise lies mainly in the telecommunications, IT and software sectors. Jochen Dieselhorst has cultivated a client base of leading biotechnology and pharmaceutical players and is “very highly esteemed for his collaborative approach”. Frank-Erich Hufnagel may devote a large proportion of his time to patent litigation, but this has only added to his “strength and vast depth of experience” in licensing and technology transfers.Gleiss Lutz
Gleiss Lutz remains a formidable player in the M&A sphere, which allows the IP team to supplement its standalone work with a steady flow of licensing matters relating to corporate activity. The group is “of excellent quality, with outstanding practitioners”, including “bright guy” Herwig Lux. He focuses his attention largely on agreements in the areas of pharmaceuticals and automotives; in the latter sector he recently handled the dissolution of a joint venture and counts a number of major component suppliers among his clients. Lux also has a burgeoning clean-tech practice, recently playing a role on a major deal concerning solar panel technology.Grünecker
One of the deepest in the field, this outfit serves the licensing needs of a broad base of clients, including many in the automotive sector. Grünecker’s workload has a distinctly international flavour, with instructions from the United States and Japan complementing its domestic and pan-European practice. It is “relied upon to do a great job” and is “highly esteemed in the market”. Bernd Allekotte is a useful point of contact at the firm.Hoffmann Eitle
Hoffman Eitle is a major IP practice offering combined patent attorney and legal services to clients across a wide range of industries. It is particularly well known for its “very strong capacity” in the life sciences, biotech and pharmaceutical sectors. The firm is also hailed for its “constructive, business-friendly” approach.Hogan Lovells International LLP
Best known for its prodigious litigation practice, Hogan Lovells “plays an important role” in patent licensing, thanks in large part to a steady diet of disputes that involve licensing deals in settlement negotiations. As part of a big full service firm, the “high-quality group” benefits from the ability to bolt tax, competition and other expertise onto its licensing advice and representation. It is strong across a number of sectors, with telecommunications recently providing some highlights. Andreas von Falck is a name “very often heard” in German IP circles. Reflecting the approach of the firm, most of his patent licensing deals spin off from litigation he has worked on.KNPZ Rechtsanwälte
This “fine boutique” gives its domestic and numerous international clients “the confidence that we’re in the best hands”. It advises and represents on the full range of licensing structures and has a particularly notable profile in life sciences. Christian Klawitter is a prominent expert and president of the German chapter of the LES. He has a “strong practice, bringing dedicated licensing expertise” to bear on agreements across numerous sectors. Mathias Zintler is another highly regarded practitioner at the firm.Reimann Osterrieth Köhler Haft
Reimann has a well-deserved reputation as a compact boutique known for excellence. Christian Osterrieth “remains among the most prominent figures in the marketplace”, with deep experience of advising and representing blue-chip companies in licensing transactions, alongside his well-known litigation work. As is typical of German practitioners, his practice covers a range of sectors, from information technology to life sciences. In all matters he is relied upon for his “profound knowledge”.Taylor Wessing LLP
“Held in high esteem” and with a “great reputation”, this Anglo-German player proves a sound choice for clients seeking to license technology in Germany and beyond. As at many full service firms, corporate activity and patent litigation are important sources of licensing work; all major high-tech sectors are covered by the group. Kai Westerwelle is “an outstanding figure” in the field.
Benjamin Grzimek recently left Taylor Wessing for DLA Piper, where he balances patent licensing with litigation across a broad range of technologies. Jan Dirk Heerma of SJ Berwin “does superb work” on a range of IP transactions, including licensing arrangements. Allen & Overy’s Nadine Herrmann is “making a real name for herself”, with technology transfer agreements for clients in the life sciences sector forming an important part of her practice. Gregor Sebastian König is a patent attorney at König Szynka Tilmann von Renesse and is acclaimed as “really an expert” in pharmaceuticals and biotechnology; many of his clients are start-ups seeking to exploit innovative technology commercially. Linklaters counsel Jens Matthes heads the firm’s German IP group, which places a strong emphasis on transactions. He recently advised on the complex patent licensing aspects of Fresenius Medical Care’s acquisition of a business unit from Gambro; he is currently advising a leading electronic components company on a joint venture concerning battery technology for application in the automotive and other sectors. Matthes is described as “an excellent licensing practitioner”. Claudia Milbradt of Clifford Chance focuses her licensing practice largely on life sciences and chemical technologies, delivering “very good representation for her clients”. Katharina Scheja of Heymann & Partner enjoys a strong reputation for her licensing work, particularly in the fields of software and telecommunications.