Dr. Michael Schneider
I'm a German-qualified solicitor (Rechtsanwalt) and practice in all areas of IP law. I head up our Munich IP office working with the other team members in Germany advising clients all over the world on devising the best enforcement or defence strategy for their IP rights.
Tel: +49 (0)89 540 4120 10
Universities of Passau, Munich (Germany; Dr.iur. 2003) and Tours (France); Max-Planck-Institute for IP and Tax Law (Munich)
The German Association for the Protection of Intellectual Property (GRUR), The Licensing Executives Society (LES) and The American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA)
German, English, French
Best brains in...
Patent infringement and invalidity litigation, particularly in high technology and life sciences area, and at a pan-European level. With my education and practice background being rather international (Germany, UK, US, France, European Patent Office) I am quite good at looking at multi-jurisdictional settings from the different national angles and coordinating litigation between forums.
Highlight of your career so far?
What I find the most fascinating about my work is the combination of legal questions and cutting edge technology. In a way, the highlight of my career is just the range of different technologies you get to work with in this field - in my case this ranges from immuno-assays and heart occluders to solar panel fixtures, angling equipment and CD trays. The latter ones proved to be only seemingly simple in terms of patent law. The coordinated invalidity challenges in England, France and Germany to bring the corresponding patents down probably qualifies as the highlight of my career so far.
What's the most challenging job you've ever done?
While at my previous firm, standing in for one of our co-operating patent attorneys in an invalidity hearing which he had been preparing to do, but then fell sick, with only a day and a half (and a night ...) of preparation. With some great support from the client to kick-start me in the opposed infrared based distance control technology patent and the prior art cited by the opponent, it turned out to be an amazing - and ultimately successful - experience of what your mind can get to grips with in almost no time if need be.
How about your international credentials?
Almost all of my work has an international angle, either because of the multi-jurisdictional settings, the sources of prior art, or the parties involved in litigation or licensing work.
What's your definition of going the extra mile... And when have you done it?
As a general rule, I try to get as good a handle on the technology involved on the client's side and the greater commercial landscape surrounding the patent(s) or other IP right(s) at issue. This usually means some extra time and effort to go see the client's manufacturing site, talk to the marketing people, etc. to find out about how the client's market position is actually and directly affected by the IP dispute at issue. Sometimes this leads to rather surprising and commercially viable solutions.
I was once defending a patent invalidity case which, despite all good preparation and a positive start, went somewhat out of hand and turned quite unexpectedly against our client. It was my 35th birthday and I was there from nine in the morning to eight in the evening without so much as a minute of a break even though the court's recess was badly needed to adjust strategy. By the time I got home to friends and family in the evening, it just took one glass of wine to finish me off and everyone went on without me!
How have you been innovative in your work?
Terminating a licence agreement which was under German law for cause, on behalf of a Taiwanese client, arguing that the Taiwanese code of commercial morals puts decisive emphasis on entering into contractual relationships only with the true owner of rights. The German licensor had not been in that position at the time the contract was concluded. Our case was obviously against all odds, but somehow the argument gained acceptance through the instances and, together with some other unforeseen glitches on the licensor's side, the argument ultimately carried the day before the Supreme Court. It saved the client a million and a half Euros in royalties. Never give up!
What have you done to give something back to your community?
Throughout my education I was blessed to receive support through various scholarships and I have been trying to give at least some of that back by supporting my old high school exchange organisation and by tutoring foreign post-grad students. Answering this question actually makes me realise that I need to find the time again to do more of this.