The German IP market continues to thrive, as the country remains a highly attractive draw for international business. Trademark work has seen a general upturn, with a rise in both filings and litigation, as clients increasingly seek both to protect and to vigorously defend their brands. The influence of EU law inevitably shapes the field, with the popularity of Community trademarks “climbing to ever greater levels” - particularly among international companies that recognise the significant cost benefits. The 2011 Max Planck Study on the Overall Functioning of the European Trademark System has sparked intense debate among German practitioners, although its long-term consequences remain to be seen. The online protection of trademarks and the registration of design and 3D marks are also hot topics among German practitioners, and areas in which cutting-edge decisions and developments continue to emerge. The overall make-up of the German trademark field remains broadly unchanged, although the dissolution of Howrey resulted in the movement of several high-profile practitioners. Boutiques maintain their prominence in the market, providing highly valued, specialised services, while their large full-service competitors furnish clients with comprehensive services across the board.
Former Howrey man Marc Groebl of Jones Day’s Munich office is “an extremely intelligent guy” whose practice encompasses trademark prosecution and litigation. He provides “businessfocused, straightforward advice, facilitating quick and solid decision making” for his patrons. Litigation is the bread and butter of Peter Ruess at Arnold Ruess, “a remarkably smart and knowledgeable lawyer” whose profile continues to ascend following “a series of impressive performances in court”.