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Index of tables

  1. Intellectual property: independent local firms
  2. Leading individuals: bengoshi

Leading individuals: bengoshi

  1. 1

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At Nakamura & Partners, Takaki Nishijima spearheads the electrical and IT team, Takeshi Deshimaru leads the mechanical and design practice, and Kazuo Yamasaki manages the chemical and biotechnology group. The bengoshi and benrishi (patent attorneys) handle applications, appeals and trials before the Japan Patent Office (JPO) and foreign agencies. Representing Sony in a patent infringement claim brought by a well-known patent troll was a highlight. Other key managing partners include trade mark and unfair competition expert Hiroyuki Itaki, Shinichiro Tanaka and Koichi Tsujii. Yoshio Kumakura and Kei Iida are also recommended alongside newly promoted partners Yuriko Sagara, Shoichi Satake and Naoki Okumura.

TMI Associates fields skilled attorneys and benrishi with expertise in fields such as nanotechnology, semiconductors and pharmaceuticals. Led by senior partner Tomohiro Tohyama and Yoshiyuki Inaba, the practice advises on the procurement, maintenance and execution of IP rights. Counsel Shoji Kobayashi registered a sound and moving mark with the JPO on behalf of ST Corporation; Mitsuko Miyagawa also worked on the matter and has been active in unfair competition and copyright infringement. Partner promotions include Toyotaka Abe and Kentaro Ito. Shunji Sato, Makoto Okada and Yoshiro Masumoto are distinguished individuals.

Anderson Mori & Tomotsune houses widely regarded patent litigators that have additional expertise in trade mark, copyright and entertainment disputes. The firm is also strong in IP licensing and transactions. The benrishi handle patent prosecution proceedings and filings before the JPO. Yasufumi Shiroyama, Akihito Nakamachi and Yoshikazu Iwase head the team, which provides technical expertise in the areas of electronics, telecoms and pharmaceuticals, among others. Wataru Shimizu and benrishi Masahiro Moriyama joined from Ohno & Partners. Clients include Aktana, I-O Data Device and Murata Machinery.

Already a ‘very strong’ practice, Kubota continued its expansion by hiring Chiaki Kato from Ryuka IP Law Firm as head of trade marks. As well as protecting IP rights, Kato conducts prosecution and pre-litigation counselling for clients up against infringement claims. Managing partner Eiichiro Kubota is ‘a rock’ for companies facing patent and trade mark litigation, infringement or invalidity claims. He defended Merck against a patent infringement claim filed by Shionogi regarding a HIV drug. H&M, Mercedes-Benz and Asahi Kasei are also clients. Yusuke Inui and Masahito Imai have been recently promoted to partner.

Litigation is one of Mori Hamada & Matsumoto’s core strengths, particularly regarding employee inventions and mandates relating to infringement and invalidity in patents, trade marks and copyrights. Yoshifumi Onodera – who splits time between Tokyo and Beijing – advised on various copyright transfer and licensing agreements. Other facets of the practice include trade secrets, data protection and providing ongoing advice on maintaining, protecting and acquiring IP rights. Atsushi Okada, Takuya Iizuka and Yutaka Miyoshi are noted.

Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu’s practice includes former judges Masato Tanaka, Ryoichi Mimura and Kenji Tosaki. The team successfully defended Kyowa Hakko Kirin in a patent infringement case filed by Teva Pharmaceuticals, which reached the IP High Court and Supreme Court. Outside of patents, the firm’s workload included unfair competition litigation, copyright infringement and trade secret protection. Shunji Matsuda leads in transactional matters concerning IP licensing negotiations, due diligence and e-publishing agreements. Kazuo Ohtake became an adviser.

Clients ranging from luxury brands to manufacturers retain Sugimura International Patent and Trademark Attorneys for patent, design and trade mark prosecutions and JPO proceedings. The ‘prompt, responsive and reliable’ practice includes trade mark and design head Kenichi Nakayama, who is ‘cost effective’ and noted for unfair competition work. Deputy president and life sciences expert Tetsuo Tsukanaka is a key figure, as is Kyoichi Saito, the executive director of patent prosecution. President Kenji Sugimura and senior manager Yuko Muramatsu are experienced.

At Abe, Ikubo & Katayama, Eiji Katayama is well versed in cross-border patent infringement litigation in the chemistry, electronics and machinery sectors. Hiroshi Kobayashi heads IP prosecution and is noted for patent prosecution in the chemical and pharmaceutical fields. Junichi Kitahara defended Apple Inc against Samsung’s injunction claims based on interface patents for mobile phones. Partner promotions included Emiko Nishizawa and Kyoko Tamura.

Atsumi & Sakai handles cross-border patent infringement cases spanning diverse sectors, including chemicals, manufacturing and technology. IT-related matters and the registration, protection, use and licensing of model utility, copyright, design and trade mark rights are further strengths of the team. Practice head Chie Kasahara is recommended along with Kunihiro Sumida, who is noted for disputes.

Nishimura & Asahi undertakes infringement and customs matters. On the transactional side, it provides licensing services and advises on IP assets. The team won a trade secret infringement suit against Posco on behalf of Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal. Hiroshi Suga, Hitomi Iwase and Yoshiyuki Miyashita are key contacts. Clients include Burton Japan, Microsoft Japan and Asobisystem.

Osaka-based Shusaku Yamamoto Patent Law Offices represented Harley-Davidson in bringing a criminal enforcement action against online counterfeiters selling fake jackets. Kensaku Yamamoto heads up patent and trade mark litigation and the anti-counterfeiting group, while Shusaku Yamamoto spearheads patent prosecution. There is also a licensing and due diligence team, as well as sector-specific electronics, computing and mechanics, and biotech, chemicals and life sciences practices.

Gifu-based Hiroe & Associates shines in pharmaceutical, chemistry and biotechnology matters. Trade mark expert Masanori Hiroe is a leading figure, as is Takenori Hiroe, who specialises in disputes relating to IP infringements. Satoshi Hashimoto and Naoya Taniguchi are standout practitioners.

Wataru Sueyoshi and Shin’ichiro Yoshiba are the main contacts at STW & Partners. The team handles the full gamut of matters, including trade secrets, copyright, patents and trade marks.

Patent prosecutions, trade mark enforcement and design registration are key strengths at Sonderhoff & Einsel Law and Patent Office. Managing partner Felix-Reinhard Einsel is noted for electrical engineering patent litigation and Shogo Matsunaga stands out for trade mark litigation and licensing, among other areas. Hiroshi Morita joined the team from Astellas Pharma, while Hiroyasu Ninomiya, Junichi Maekawa and Rui Ueshima made partner.

Shinjiro Ono leads Yuasa and Hara’s patent division and is experienced in the fields of medical science, pharmaceuticals and polymers. Trade mark and design specialists Kazuhiro Nakata and Hiromichi Aoki are recommended for unfair competition matters.

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