The Largest Patent Prosecution Firms in Germany

Published On: 2023-12-18|Tags: |3,2 min read|

The landscape of patent law firms in Germany between 2018 and 2022 was notably active, comprising a total of 919 representatives engaged in handling intellectual property matters. Based on IP Pilot’s data, these patent prosecution firms represented 593,728 applications.

Rank: Largest 25 Patent Prosecution Firms in Germany

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Out of the 919 firms involved in patent filings, the largest 25 patent prosecution firms in Germany stood out remarkably. These top-tier associates prosecuted 243,226 applications or an impressive 41% of the total patent applications. This highlights not just the collective impact of these leading firms but also the rather considerable concentration of business at the hands of the largest ones.

Notably, the top 3 – HOFFMANN EITLE (24,643 patent filings), GRÜNECKER (23,527 patent filings), and BOEHMERT & BOEHMERT (16,673 patent filings) represented more than 15,000 patent applications over the considered time frame.

Among the top 25, VOSSIUS & PARTNER, MAIWALD, ISARPATENT, DOMPATENT, BARDEHLE PAGENBERG, GULDE & PARTNER, TER MEER STEINMEISTER & PARTNER, MERH-IP, and ZIMMERMANN & PARTNER witnessed substantial growth as their filings surged by over 20% between 2018 to 2022. Above all, VOSSIUS & PARTNER, MAIWALD, and ZIMMERMANN & PARTNER emerged as leaders, experiencing staggering increase with filing volumes soaring by 58%, 66%, and 75%, respectively.

Overall Patent Landscape in Germany

Approximately 55% of the total patent filings prosecuted by German patent law firms came from foreign innovators, showcasing a rather dual focus of German representatives.

As for the largest 25 patent prosecution firms in Germany, the vast majority mostly focused on working with the international applicants and their share of foreign filings was higher than 55%. Only a few top firms – EPPING HERMANN FISCHER, EISENFÜHR SPEISER, SCHOPPE, ZIMMERMANN, STÖCKELER, ZINKLER, SCHENK & PARTNER mostly worked with domestic clients and the share of work received from abroad for these firms was lower than 50% (see Table).

A significant 61% of the total applications prosecuted by German patent firms were PCT-based (i.e., PCT filings handled by German firms as well as regional/national phase entries of a foreign PCT). This suggests a prevalent preference among filers for utilizing the Patent Cooperation Treaty route for their patent applications, highlighting its importance in the overall filing strategy within Germany.

Germany: Shares of Foreign and PCT/PCT-Based Filings per Firm 2018-2022

Case Exchange Trends

From 2018 to 2022, patent prosecution firms in Germany sent a total of 159,515 patent cases to their foreign associates. The major recipients were representatives from the United States, China, Japan, and Korea, collectively receiving 73% of the cases dispatched by German law firms.

German firms obtained 287,502 patent cases from global counterparts. Remarkably, 92% of these cases originated from representatives based in four nations: Japan, the US, China, and Korea.

In terms of reciprocity on a country level, German firms achieved reciprocity solely with China in the sheer number of exchanged cases. However, representatives from the US, Korea, and Japan sent considerably more cases than they received from German patent law firms. Notably, Japan stands out, having received 16,070 cases from Germany while dispatching an impressive 103,842 cases, underscoring the significant importance of the German market to Japanese inventors.

Law Firms Receiving Most Cases from Germany: Country Breakdown 2018-2022
Law Firms Sending Most Cases to Germany: Country Breakdown 2018-2022

To sum up 

Between 2018 and 2022, Germany’s patent law landscape was active, with 919 firms handling 593,728 applications. The top 25 firms, led by HOFFMANN EITLE, GRÜNECKER, and BOEHMERT & BOEHMERT, filed 41% of the patents. Foreign innovators contributed to 55% of filings, showcasing a dual focus for German representatives. Most top 25 firms worked with international applicants.

German firms sent 159,515 patent cases abroad, with the US, China, Japan, and Korea receiving 73%. They received 287,502 cases, with Japan, the US, China, and Korea contributing 92%. Notably, Japan sent more cases to Germany than received, emphasizing the German market’s importance to Japanese inventors.

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