Austria

Austria serves as a vital gateway to Central and Eastern Europe for international firms and brand owners alike. Practitioners continue to benefit from the centralised, streamlined IP law procedures introduced in 2014; the improvements included the transfer of competence for infringement proceedings to the Commercial Court of Vienna and for appeals of Austrian Patent Office decisions to the High Court. The country’s well-established IP practices are joined this year by a number of fresh faces, all of which are Austrian-based business law outfits.

Firms

1
Schoenherr Attorneys at Law
Schwarz Schönherr Rechtsanwälte KG
Wiltschek Rechtsanwälte
2
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP
Gassauer-Fleissner Rechtsanwälte GmbH
Geistwert Rechtsanwälte
Salomonowitz Horak
Wolf Theiss Rechtsanwälte GmbH & Co KG
3
Binder Grösswang Rechtsanwälte GmbH
CMS Reich-Rohrwig Hainz
Diwok Hermann Petsche Rechtsanwälte LLP & Co KG
Dorda Brugger Jordis
Fiebinger Polak Leon & Partner Rechtsanwälte GmbH
Hule Bachmayr-Heyda Nordberg Rechtsanwälte GmbH
KWR Karasek Wietrzyk Rechtsanwälte GmbH
Sattler & Schanda Rechtsanwälte
Taylor Wessing e|n|w|c Attorneys at Law
Binder Grösswang Rechtsanwälte GmbH

“Efficient, practical and entrepreneurial”, WTR 1000 newcomer Binder Grösswang has swiftly moved to the head of the pack for soft IP services. With a long history in contract law and mergers and acquisitions, it dispenses commercially attuned advice on trademark-driven deals; it recently assisted the International Olympic Committee with branding and film rights licensing. A “strong international focus” allows it to “handle cross-border portfolio management smoothly”, as evidenced by its astute management of global brand rights for Estee Lauder, Lenzing and THQ Nordic, and far-sighted prosecution for LVMH. A key ally in the fight against fakes, the firm is hawkish in its pursuit of imitators on behalf of brands such as Harley-Davidson. Finding “creative and pragmatic solutions for patrons”, Ivo Rungg is a “service-orientated, top-tier lawyer with a profound comprehension of trademark law”. Backing him up is seasoned counsel Hellmut Buchroithner, a soft IP and unfair competition whizz with a “sound understanding of clients’ priorities”.

CMS Reich-Rohrwig Hainz
Drawing on a worldwide network of offices and support structures to superb effect, CMS Reich-Rohrwig Hainz is a preferred choice for businesses with global brand interests. The erudite IP professionals in its Austrian office have earned particular acclaim for their work in the telecommunications, broadcasting, pharmaceuticals and life sciences sectors, in particular. Former head of CMS’s pan-European trademark team Egon Engin-Deniz ably marshals the Austrian IP and media group. Cross-border litigation, anti-counterfeiting campaigns and licensing agreements are his bread and butter.
Diwok Hermann Petsche Rechtsanwälte LLP & Co KG
Diwok Hermann Petsche is the Austrian member of international leviathan Baker McKenzie. Striking a fine balance between the reach of a big outfit and the bespoke customer service of a boutique, it deploys Bakers’ unique global systems to provide super-efficient rights management in a remarkably personal and attentive style. As may be expected, its comprehensive trademark offering has attracted the attentions of an illustrious clientele. Taking stewardship of A-list brands is the talented Lukas Feiler, who has carved out a niche at the intersection of soft IP and cyberspace law. Martina Grama – formerly a partner at another renowned commercial law firm – joined him as practice co-head in April 2016. Sharp on antitrust matters, she adds an impressive string to the team’s bow.
Dorda Brugger Jordis
Dorda Brugger Jordis has made a name for itself as a leading IP ensemble with an enviable track record of collaboration with innovative brand owners of all shapes and sizes. Its highly specialised trademark practitioners dispense laser-focused advice, but also keep a close eye on the broader legal horizon, teaming up with colleagues in other departments to conclude multi-faceted transactions as smoothly as possible. The eminently approachable Axel Anderl wins effusive praise for his proactive approach to briefs.
Fiebinger Polak Leon & Partner Rechtsanwälte GmbH
An elite IP player for many years, full-service Fiebinger Polak Leon & Partner has earned a glowing reputation for its sage stewardship of trademark portfolios. It offers perspicacious strategic counsel to Austrian enterprises seeking to safeguard their brands in a wide range of foreign jurisdictions. Intimate familiarity with the intricacies of diverse industries adds to the value of its guidance; the healthcare and life sciences sector is a particular stronghold. Karina Hellbert heads both the IP and pharmaceutical teams. She currently manages a hefty portfolio comprising thousands of trademarks across several continents on behalf of a major medical company.
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP
Leveraging the resources and expertise of a sprawling international network, the Viennese branch of Freshfields is a safe pair of hands for high-rolling trademark instructions. Team captain Christof Pöchhacker is a shrewd consultant with a keen eye for detail. His broad understanding of commercial law and polished negotiating skills ensure that he gets signatures on the bottom line in the most complex IP-driven transactions. He is also well respected for penning leading texts on trademark, advertising, e-commerce and unfair competition law.
Gassauer-Fleissner Rechtsanwälte GmbH
Many heavyweight companies sing the praises of compact full-service player Gassauer-Fleissner’s soup-to-nuts trademark practice, appreciative of its transparency and conscientious handling of their branding needs. Taking a panoramic view of intellectual property, the percipient Christian Gassauer-Fleissner effortlessly covers the spectrum, tackling everything from prosecution and enforcement to mediation and transactions. He is an official arbitrator for the World Intellectual Property Organisation and the Austrian delegate to the International Association for the Protection of Intellectual Property. The firm perennially outperforms its competitors in matters where intellectual property intersects with media, marketing and advertising concerns, thanks in large part to Dominik Göbel’s cutting-edge insight in this area. He recently assisted a number of advertising agencies with difficulties relating to Euro 2016 branding.
Geistwert Rechtsanwälte
With an unmatched five IP partners on hand, Geistwert is a unique hub of branding expertise, securing watertight protection for a long list of household names. All of its “superb, first-tier lawyers” previously held senior positions at reputed general law firms before uniting to form this formidable boutique. Former IP head at Fiebinger Polak Leon Constantin Kletzer is a far-sighted adviser and robust enforcer for the likes of fashion giants Hugo Boss and Christian Louboutin. Contentious ace Alexander Schnider was previously a rainmaker at Baker McKenzie; he employs his encyclopaedic knowledge of trademark case law to devastating effect in the courtroom, but is also well versed in online issues. “Extremely active” IT maven Max Mosing is widely celebrated for his international work; he recently coordinated cross-border rebranding efforts for a major railway company and secured a win for Novomatic in global opposition proceedings. Offering meticulous analysis and highly practical guidance, Rainer Schultes is perhaps best known as a technology connoisseur, but also assists fast-growing pharmaceutical companies with prosecution strategy. A staunch anti-counterfeiter, he has notched up sterling results in campaigns for the likes of Nike. Following a star turn at Taylor Wessing, corporate law buff Juliane Messner now shines brightly for Geistwert in lucrative, IP-rich transactions; she recently brokered a licensing agreement for gaming company Bloodirony. Companies with trans-Tyrolian interests are especially well served by Messner, who is admitted to practise in both Austria and Italy and plays an integral role on the firm’s dedicated Italian desk (the only one of its kind in the country).
Hule Bachmayr-Heyda Nordberg Rechtsanwälte GmbH
New entrant Hule Bachmayr-Heyda Nordberg garners superlative reviews for its all-encompassing IP unit. Its practitioners’ first-rate understanding of adjacent fields – including advertising, media and designs – ensures a consistently well-rounded approach to trademark briefs. Leading this team of “extremely skilled and thoughtful lawyers” is star performer Emanuel Boesch, who calls on prior in-house experience at Phillip Morris to “exceed expectations” with his business-savvy counsel. “Smart, professional and diligent, he builds fantastic human relationships. His degree of involvement is also remarkable – he gives the impression of belonging to the company that he is representing.” According to one international associate, Boesch is “among the most outstanding professionals that I have come across during my career and I would recommend him 100%”. The food and beverage sector is a forte; he recently obtained a favourable outcome for a prominent Spanish operator in the industry against Red Bull following lengthy opposition proceedings.
KWR Karasek Wietrzyk Rechtsanwälte GmbH
Making significant inroads into the Austrian market, KWR Karasek Wietrzyk has international enterprises queueing up to instruct it, enticed by its deft execution of a wide range of briefs. Soft IP doyenne Barbara Kuchar is a former partner of Gassaeur-Fleissner. Famed for her diplomatic approach and sophisticated style of advocacy, she truly excels in disputes, recently preventing the dilution of an LVMH Moët Hennessy brand in opposition proceedings.
Salomonowitz Horak
A “rising star of the Austrian IP scene”, Salomonowitz Horak has raked in countless accolades for its trademark practice since its establishment in 2011. Combining theoretical aptitude with practical nous, it provides a premium service to a growing list of top brand owners. Innovative, intelligent and level-headed, Sascha Salomonowitz is a silky negotiator and persuasive performer in contentious circumstances; opposing counsel were deeply impressed by his recent work for a world-renowned cosmetics company. Few know more about trademark law than learned professional Michael Horak, who helped to lay the foundation of the firm’s success.
Sattler & Schanda Rechtsanwälte
Domestic and international companies alike turn to Sattler & Schanda for all their IP needs. Thought leader Reinhard Schanda has published widely in the trademark, copyright and domain name fields; his academic excellence is matched by on-the-ground insight, with peers extolling his stellar contributions in transactions, negotiations and arbitrations.
Schoenherr Attorneys at Law
Fielding “a team of brilliant IP lawyers”, Schoenherr “offers the best trademark advice that you can get in Austria; its professionals are extremely innovative and keep on top of all the hot topics”. With 13 offices across central Europe, it can dispatch the weightiest brand protection briefs across multiple jurisdictions with ease. Spearheading much of this work is Christian Schumacher, a “creative and excellent strategist with unsurpassed knowledge”. Feted for his “outstanding analytical mind”, he adeptly handles the trickiest mandates, including recent pan-European infringement actions for Red Bull. He also has a nuanced grasp of non-traditional trademarks, having successfully registered numerous shape, sound and abstract colour marks. Another major asset for the team is litigator par excellence Guido Kucsko, long-time defender of Burberry’s famous check pattern. A domain name sage who spent time at the European Centre for E-commerce and Internet Law, Michael Woller is a compelling option for companies with combined IP and IT interests; he regularly counsels on the launch of new products in the technology and media space. As a seasoned commercial lawyer, he has also shepherded trademark-rich deals to close for prestigious clients such as adidas and Goldman Sachs. “Austrian IP guru” Christian Hauer continues to command the admiration of peers and brand owners alike.
Schwarz Schönherr Rechtsanwälte KG
Schwarz Schönherr has long enjoyed a place among the Austrian trademark elite. Eschewing rigid specialisation, its practitioners deploy their extensive business law know-how to help clients achieve their long-term commercial goals. The agile boutique has been entrusted with the management of prime brands by Novartis and Lindt, and recently handled a brand merger for Starbucks. Epitomising the firm’s “practical and commercially minded approach” is Michaela Petsche, who “does an exemplary job, offering no-nonsense counsel focused on what really matters to the brand owner”. “Very approachable and proactive”, colleague Markus Grötschl earns plaudits for his assiduous anti-counterfeiting campaigns. Georg Schönherr is a “tough, high-quality litigator” with years of contentious experience under his belt; both he and Grötschl have put in winning courtroom performances on behalf of fashion mega-names such as Armani, Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior.
Taylor Wessing e|n|w|c Attorneys at Law
The Vienna office of international heavyweight Taylor Wessing is the nerve centre for its IP work in Central and Eastern Europe. It has the firepower and breadth of expertise to adroitly handle the most difficult instructions and quickly resolve any trademark conundrums that arise. Star litigator Martin Prohaska-Marchried is a consummate anti-counterfeiting czar who recently conducted successful brand enforcement actions for market leaders in the perfume and furniture sectors.
Wiltschek Rechtsanwälte
“Certainly a top IP firm”, Wiltschek has a formidable reputation on the contentious front, having hammered out results in many hotly contested Supreme Court battles. Having chalked up over three decades on the front lines, Lothar Wiltschek knows his way around the courtroom like no other; “his style is extremely persuasive and straight to the point.” The young but accomplished David Plasser adds further value with his affinity for the detail and refined academic understanding of trademark law. In addition to their branding work, Plasser and Wiltschek are leading lights in the unfair competition, design and copyright realms.
Wolf Theiss Rechtsanwälte GmbH & Co KG
Venerable commercial outfit Wolf Theiss provides a tried and tested trademark service to clients across Central and Eastern Europe. It has boots on the ground in 15 jurisdictions, keeping it up to date on the latest local developments and guaranteeing smooth cross-border brand defence. “Top-notch professional” Georg Kresbach “does an excellent job for clients, providing succinct advice and effective enforcement”. He recently prevailed in a difficult matter regarding registration of a colour mark, which involved a high evidentiary threshold for widespread consumer brand recognition. Kresbach has also been involved in the Nespresso wars, carrying out high-level prosecution for a major player in the coffee industry. His talents are further showcased by his adept management of 300 trademarks in 30 countries for a prominent haircare brand.

Individuals

Christian Gassauer-Fleissner - Gassauer-Fleissner Rechtsanwälte GmbH
Barbara Kuchar - KWR Karasek Wietrzyk Rechtsanwälte GmbH
Guido Kucsko - Schoenherr Attorneys at Law
Christof Pöchhacker - Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP
Georg Schönherr - Schwarz Schönherr Rechtsanwälte KG
Christian Schumacher - Schoenherr Attorneys at Law
Lothar Wiltschek - Wiltschek Rechtsanwälte
Egon Engin-Deniz - CMS Reich-Rohrwig Hainz
Markus Grotschl - Schwarz Schönherr Rechtsanwälte KG
Michael Horak - Salomonowitz Horak
Constantin Kletzer - GEISTWERT Rechtsanwälte
Georg Kresbach - Wolf Theiss Rechtsanwälte GmbH & Co KG
Max W Mosing - Geistwert Rechtsanwälte
David Plasser - Wiltschek Rechtsanwälte
Martin Reinisch - Brauneis Klauser Prändl Rechtsanwälte GmbH
Ivo Rungg - Binder Grösswang Rechtsanwälte GmbH
Sascha Salomonowitz - Salomonowitz Horak
Reinhard Schanda - Sattler & Schanda Rechtsanwälte
Alexander Schnider - Geistwert Rechtsanwälte
Rainer Schultes - Geistwert Rechtsanwälte
Axel Anderl - Dorda Brugger Jordis
Rainer Beetz - SONN & PARTNER Patentanwaelte
Emanuel Boesch - Hule Bachmayr-Heyda Nordberg Rechtsanwälte GmbH
Hellmut Buchroithner - Binder Grösswang Rechtsanwälte GmbH
Meinhard Ciresa - DDr Meinhard Ciresa
Alexander Cizek - CIZEK | IP
Claudia Csáky - Graf & Pitkowitz
Lukas Feiler - Diwok Hermann Petsche Rechtsanwälte LLP & Co KG
Dominik Göbel - Gassauer-Fleissner Rechtsanwälte GmbH
Martina Grama - Diwok Hermann Petsche Rechtsanwälte LLP & Co KG
Karina Hellbert - Fiebinger Polak Leon & Partner Rechtsanwälte GmbH
Juliane Messner - Geistwert Rechtsanwälte
Michaela Petsche - Schwarz Schönherr Rechtsanwälte KG
Martin Prohaska-Marchried - Taylor Wessing e|n|w|c Attorneys at Law
Michael Woller - Schoenherr Attorneys at Law

Luminaries

Christian Hauer - Schoenherr Attorneys at Law
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Issue 69