Germany is a key forum for life sciences patent litigation in Europe, with a large number of valuable and significant cases litigated in Dusseldorf and Munich. International pharmaceutical companies turn to a relatively small elite of advisers and representatives in comparison to similarly mature jurisdictions, but enjoy an exceptionally high standard of service from their legal teams. Consolidation continues, with international firms benefiting from a trend towards clients reducing their panel appointments to the minimum number of firms possible – and demanding that those firms offer a ‘one-stop shop’ service of consistently excellent quality across a broad range of practice areas. This development has been accelerated by concerns over antitrust and other regulatory issues that are increasingly integral to life sciences patent litigation cases, but which patent litigation boutiques do not routinely advise on. The German ‘two-track’ system fosters an integrated, collaborative approach between patent attorneys and attorneys at law. Patent attorneys represent clients in patent validity litigation before the Federal Patent Court; attorneys at law represent clients in patent infringement litigation before the civil courts, with assistance from patent attorneys on the technical aspects of cases. However, it should be noted that this guide lists attorneys at law only.
Peers commend Howrey LLP’s Joachim Feldges as an “honourable opponent, unquestionably doing an excellent job”. His “deep industry knowledge, clear understanding of the issues and potent litigation style” are also praised. He represents pharmaceutical and biotech clients in complex patent litigation and has lately been involved in a number of highprofile patent entitlement disputes. Following the market, his practice is currently seeing an increase in cases involving veterinary pharmaceutical products. A “very big name” on the European IP law scene, Jochen Pagenberg of Bardehle Pagenberg Dost Altenburg Geissler is recognised for the “hard work and talent” which have seen him rise to the top of the stiffly competitive German life sciences patent litigation market. He is among the most experienced and senior players, with expertise in a wide range of IP-related issues. Andreas von Falck has been a partner in Lovells LLP’s Dusseldorf office since 1998. While younger than the likes of Pagenberg and von Meibom, he is “stepping up and proving himself to be one of the market’s most impressive operators”. Patent attorneys extol his “fantastic skills and vital contributions to many of the most important matters in Europe”; in a major highlight, he secured the German Federal Supreme Court’s reinstatement of Eli Lilly’s German Zyprexa® (olanzapine) patent. Other clients of von Falck’s include Schering-Plough and Merck. Wolfgang Christian von Meibom is a partner at Bird & Bird. He is a high-profile figure and “definite leader, committed to excellent work”, according to sources. He spends the majority of his time on life sciences patent litigation, though he has patent litigation experience in a number of other industries.
Thomas Bopp of Gleiss Lutz has a prominent generic side practice. He provides his clients with “a lot of valuable industry knowledge and litigation skills”. Peter Mes is the most widely recognised player at Krieger Mes & Graf v der Groeben. He has recently been involved in a number of important infringement and revocation cases; he “really knows his stuff and is superb at delivering in court”. Christian Osterrieth of Reimann Osterrieth Köhler Haft is a highly rated patent litigator. He wins numerous plaudits from domestic and international commentators, who describe him as “conscientious and responsive”, while peers deem him as a “tough but fair opponent”. His fellow name partner Thomas Reimann oversees a large volume of cases, adding to his already extensive experience. Like Dr Osterrieth, Dr Reimann is “excellent and easy to deal with”. Maximilian von Rospatt is the second-generation Rospatt at Rospatt Osten Pross. He is described as a “prominent figure, an excellent litigator and popular with foreign firms and clients”.
Peter Chrocziel is a senior partner at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP. While life sciences patent litigation forms an important part of his practice, his work covers a comprehensive range of IPrelated matters. He attracts numerous compliments from interviewees, who deem him a “seasoned veteran and an extremely strong, highly skilled litigator”. Olaf Giebe is Klaka Rechtsanwaelte’s most notable player in this field. He is acclaimed as a “superb litigator”. Formerly of Allen & Overy, Marcus Grosch is a young lawyer who has been hired as a partner by US commercial litigation specialist Quinn Emanuel Urquhart Oliver & Hedges to open its new Mannheim office. Grosch possesses a precocious talent, being described by collaborating patent agents as “among the most knowledgeable lawyers we’ve worked with”. He has recently applied his “sharp mind” to diagnostics matters; clients also value his knowledge of antitrust aspects that arise on cases. Frank-Erich Hufnagel heads the patent litigation team in Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer’s Dusseldorf office. He represents clients in a wide variety of patent actions, with cases in the life sciences industries taking up more than half his time. Oliver Jan Jungst is a “highly responsive and diligent” partner at Bird & Bird. He wins praise from all quarters, with even adversaries conceding that he is “a good opponent, great to work alongside or up against”. Sources go on to compliment his “thorough preparation and clear articulation of arguments on paper and in court”. Christine Kanz is another impressive young partner at Reimann Osterrieth Köhler Haft. Wolfgang Kellenter is “among the first choices” of many referring foreign firms. Some might expect to see him exceed a band-three ranking, but his diverse portfolio of patent litigation and the suggestion from the German market that he is deleteriously “buried” at the large, and transactionally focused outfit Hengeler Mueller keep his profile in the area relatively low. Christian Paul heads the team at Jones Day, which has a strong biotech and pharmaceutical focus. Johann Pitz of Vossius & Partner is a “tough litigator” who spends the majority of his time on pharmaceutical and medical devices patent cases. Sabine Rojahn is a well-known and respected partner at Taylor Wessing LLP. Wolf Graf von Schwerin is the most prominent life sciences patent litigator at Wildanger Kehrwald & Graf von Schwerin, with a wide-ranging and “very strong” patent litigation practice.