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Intellectual property – Independent local firms

Index of tables

  1. Intellectual property – Independent local firms
  2. Leading individuals

Anderson Mori & Tomotsune’s IP group specialises in the electronics, chemical, biotechnology and pharmaceutical sectors. The team benefits from its close cooperation with the firm's other departments, including the competition, labour, corporate, and cross-border transactional teams. Co-heading the group are Yoshikazu Iwase and Yasufumi Shiroyama, who are both experienced patent litigators, while Akihito Nakamachi specialises in cross-border IP and technology transactions. In a deal worth around JPY21bn, the team advised Taiyo Holdings on an asset purchase agreement regarding the IP rights of 13 long-term listed products produced and sold in Japan.

Anderson Mori & Tomotsune - Japanese translation: アンダーソン・毛利・友常法律事務所 ・ 安德森·毛利·友常律师事务所 の知的財産権グループは、電気、化学、バイオテクノロジー、製薬業界を専門としています。 同グループは、競争法、労働法、企業法、クロスボーダー取引チームなどの事務所内他部門との密接な協力体制により、その精度を高めています。 共に特許訴訟に豊富な経験を持つ岩瀬吉和氏、城山康文氏が共同でこのグループを率いています。中町昭人氏は国際的な知的財産や技術系の案件を専門としています。 210億円規模の取引となる、日本で製造販売を行う13の長期収載品に関する知的財産権の譲渡契約について、太陽ホールディングスに助言を提供しました。

Nakamura & Partners' practice provides a combination of patent attorneys well acquainted with all procedures taken before the Japan Patent Office and lawyers specialising in the enforcement of intellectual property rights. Shinichiro Tanaka heads the practice, which includes licensing, sports, entertainment, and antitrust expert Kazuhiko Yoshida. The team successfully defended Ushio in a case filed by V Technology seeking damages under the Unfair Competition Prevention Act. The group also successfully defended Brooks Sports against Anta; the latter sought revocation of the Japan Patent Office’s decision which dismissed its request for cancellation of Brooks registered trade mark based on non-use for three consecutive years in Japan. Koichi Tsujii is also recommended.

Nakamura & Partners - Japanese translation: 中村合同特許法律事務所 では、特許出願手続きに精通した弁理士と知的財産権の権利行使を専門とする弁護士がコンビを組んで案件に対応します。田中伸一郎氏がトップを務め、ライセンス、スポーツ、エンターテイメント、競争法を専門とする吉田和彦氏が所属しています。同チームは、ブイ・テクノロジー社が不正競争防止法に基づく損害賠償を求めて提訴した件でウシオ電機の弁護に成功しました。 また、同事務所は、ANTA社に対するブルックス・スポーツ社の弁護にも成功しました。ANTA社は、日本での3年連続不使用を理由としてブルックス社の登録商標取消を求めていましたが、特許庁はこれを棄却しました。辻居幸一氏も評価の高い人材です。

TMI Associates is active in IP procurement, maintenance and execution of rights issues including patent, utility model, design and trade mark rights. Headed by Katsuro Tanaka, Tomohiro Tohyama and Yoshiyuki Inaba, the team also includes Makoto Okada, who has ‘a good understanding of specialised technical fields’, and Mitsuko Miyagawa. A recent highlight for the team includes successfully defending CremoVision against IIX in a JPY200m damages claim relating to the alleged patent infringement of an image correction system essential for the manufacture of LCD panels; in November 2017 the Supreme Court dismissed IIX’s final appeal.

Recognised for its extensive experience in IP infringement and procurement matters, Abe, Ikubo & Katayama fields specialist litigators and patent attorneys across a variety of fields including chemicals, biotech, life sciences, pharmaceuticals, software, electronics, telecoms, and industrial engineering. The team's client roster includes Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson and Chanel. The group, headed by the well-respected Eiji Katayama, successfully represented Valeo in a patent infringement case in which it won a reversal of a district court decision obtaining a permanent injunction against an infringer. Other work highlights include representing AbbVie in an invalidation trial before the Japan Patent Office, successfully defending one of its patents covering its Humira product.

The ten-lawyer team at KUBOTA is led by managing partner Eiichiro Kubota and is active in patent litigation, trade mark prosecution and enforcement, and corporate-related matters. Yusuke Inui leads the firm's litigation group. The firm has added Starbucks and Apple to its list of key clients and other recent work highlights include acting for Merck in a patent infringement claim brought by Shionogi and representing AbbVie in a patent invalidation action that covers the drug Humira, as well as assisting H&M, UniQlo and Patagonia with trade mark portfolio matters.

Traditionally known for its focus on patents, Mori Hamada & Matsumoto also has significant expertise in trade mark matters. In complex, cross-border IP transactions the team takes advantage of the firm's full-service offering and five foreign branches in Beijing, Shanghai, Singapore, Bangkok and Yangon. Yutaka Miyoshi heads the team, which includes Yoshifumi Onodera, who is a key name for domestic and international disputes, and Atsushi Okada, who represented Hospira, a provider of injectable drugs and infusion technologies, in patent infringement litigation filed by Debiopharm International; in July 2017 the Intellectual Property High Court upheld an earlier decision by the Tokyo District Court to dismiss the plaintiff’s claim. Other clients include Pfizer Japan, Mitsuba and Shiseido.

The practice at Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu covers IP litigation and transactional matters and includes three former judges who are actively involved in IP-related work; Masato Tanaka, Kenji Tosaki and Ryoichi Mimura. Mimura successfully represented Ryohin Keikaku in the Tokyo District Court seeking an injunction against Cainz following an alleged violation of the Unfair Competition Prevention Act. The group also counts Nichia and Alcon Research among its key clients.

The 'excellentAtsumi & Sakai provides ‘distinguished knowledge and experience’ across the IP sector, acting in registration, protection, use and licensing of patent rights, copyrights and trade mark rights matters, as well as a broad range of emerging issues such as IT-related matters. Life sciences and technology specialist Chie Kasahara co-heads the team known for its ‘reliability and integrity’ along with Kunihiro Sumida and Ian S. Scott. Also noteworthy is Go Hashimoto, who experienced in dispute resolution and cross-border licensing transactions for pharmaceutical and high technology clients.

Capable of handling IP-related lawsuits across multiple countries and regions through its network, Nishimura & Asahi regularly advises clients on legal issues relating to emerging markets, such as artificial intelligence and internet of things. Yoshiyuki Miyashita heads the practice which has advised several foreign and Japanese-based car manufacturers on IP issues relating to autonomous vehicles, and also provides a range of support in the trade mark arena, from prosecution to enforcement, as well as advising on infringement and anti-counterfeiting matters. Trade mark expert Hitomi Iwase recently obtained a favourable decision for a major US gaming company in the domain name dispute proceedings.

As a key name for intellectual property, technology and related commercial law matters, Shusaku Yamamoto Patent Law Offices is led by founder and IP specialist Shusaku Yamamoto. The firm's client roster ranges from blue-chip companies to family-owned businesses.

With ‘outstanding performance and pleasant cooperationSonderhoff & Einsel Law and Patent Office can provide ‘some of the best service and deep knowledge’ across the IP space. Cross-border expertise is bolstered by ‘short-term response times and qualified advice’. Managing Partner Felix-Reinhard Einsel has an ‘excellent understanding of the demands of European industry’ and a ‘broad knowledge of and experience in relevant Japanese law, German and European law’. Meanwhile, following his time at a large pharmaceutical company in Japan, Hiroshi Morita leads the chemistry and pharmaceutical team with his extensive IP experience in the life-science field.

Sonderhoff & Einsel Law and Patent Office - Japanese translation: ゾンデルホフ&アインゼル法律特許事務所 は、卓越した実行力とスムーズな連携で、知財分野全般に対する最高のサービスと幅広い見識を提供します。 対応の素早さと的確な助言を強みとして、クロスボーダー案件に関する専門性を強化しています。 マネージング・パートナーのフェリックス・ラインハルト・アインゼル氏は、欧州企業の需要に対する深い造詣と、関連する日本法、ドイツ法、EU法における幅広い知識と経験を有しています。 また、日本の大手製薬会社での経験を有する森田拓氏が、ライフサイエンス分野での幅広い知的財産に関する知見を活かし、医薬チームをリードしています。

SUGIMURA & Partners provides IP services to both domestic and international clients ranging from single inventors and start-ups, to well established academic institutions and multinational corporations. Co-head Kenji Sugimura is a Japanese patent attorney and litigator specialising in mechanics and architectural engineering, while fellow head Koji Sugimura’s practice focuses on dispute resolution in the areas of intellectual property, trade secrets, information technology, privacy, and media/entertainment.

SUGIMURA & Partners - Japanese translation: 杉村萬国特許法律事務所 は、個人投資家やスタートアップ企業から、歴史ある学術機関や多国籍企業に至るまで、幅広い国内外のクライアントに知財関連サービスを提供しています。 事務所の代表弁理士を務める杉村憲司氏は、主に機械・建築工学を専門とする侵害訴訟に対応しています。代表弁護士である杉村光嗣氏は知財、企業秘密、情報テクノロジー、プライバシー、メディア・エンターテイメント分野における紛争解決を中心に取り扱っています。

Hiroe & Associates' IP team 'meets the highest standards of professional practice in all aspects of its service’. It’s noted for its ‘response times, industry knowledge, quality and appropriateness of advice and value for money’. The practice, headed by chairman Takenori Hiroe and managing partner Masanori Hiroe, ‘works smoothly, providing prompt and thorough service’. Satochi Hashimoto leads the patent team and ‘is very accomplished in the tactical and strategic aspects of patent prosecution’.

STW & Partners is active in dispute resolution and intellectual property matters. Wataru Sueyoshi has extensive experience in the field.

Yuasa and Hara is well known for infringement litigation matters across the new technology and pharmaceutical sectors. Practice head Toshiaki Iimura, former chief judge of the Intellectual Property High Court, is highly regarded in the field and covers patents, trade mark and copyright law. The team recently achieved a favourable outcome for AstraZeneca in an appeal against the Japan Patent Office’s decision in an invalidation trial concerning the validity of the active ingredient patent of Crestor.


Intellectual property – International firms and joint ventures

Index of tables

  1. Intellectual property – International firms and joint ventures
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

A deep knowledge of the area’ makes Baker McKenzie (Gaikokuho Joint Enterprise) a go-to firm for intellectual property work. Practice head and trade mark, copyright and designs specialist Kensaku Takase leads a team of 13 specialist attorneys with local and international expertise. The group handles the full range of IP matters including portfolio management, IP-related transactions, IP disputes, anti-counterfeiting issues, trade secret protection, copyrights and designs. Daisuke Tatsuno is also a name to note and focuses on the registration, protection and licensing of IP rights.

With a particular focus on trade marks, patents and copyright, Hogan Lovells Horitsu Jimusho Gaikokuho Kyodo Jigyo ‘knows the industry' and has a client list that includes some of the world’s top brands. It also has one of the largest teams in Japan with three dedicated partners and over 50 associates and non-associate practitioners. The group benefits from the firm's extensive international presence and cross-border capability, as evidenced by its work with high-profile multinational companies, including advising Nissan on its global trade mark portfolio and strategy. Lloyd Parker heads up an experienced team, which includes multijurisdictional IP enforcement and portfolio management specialist, senior associate Tomoe Takahashi, as well as the ‘extremely hardworking, friendly and brilliant’ Dr Frederick Ch’en, a specialist in IP and life sciences. Other highlights included advising long-standing client Brother Group on its global trade mark portfolio and anti-counterfeiting work.

With an ‘overall level of service that is excellent’, Morrison & Foerster LLP has developed a comprehensive team with over 30 IP lawyers in the Tokyo office. Its work covers the full spectrum of IP issues including patents, trade marks, copyrights, trade secrets, unfair competition issues, and related IP matters. Robert Hollingshead, Stuart Beraha and Louise Stoupe jointly lead the practice, which draws from a deep well of expertise and includes the experienced Max Olson and Chie Yakura; Yakura represents non-Japanese and Japanese corporations in a range of contentious matters with an emphasis on IP, technology-related matters, antitrust issues and product liability work, regularly appearing before the Japanese courts. In a recent highlight, the team successfully represented Toshiba and Toshiba Memory Corporation (TMC) in several disputes and arbitrations brought by Western Digital and its subsidiary SanDisk relating to the sale of TMC to a consortium of investors led by Bain Capital. Also noteworthy are newly promoted partners Akira Irie and Yuka Teraguchi.

Jones Day's clients benefit from the firm's global IP practice, which is experienced in litigation, prosecution, licensing transfers, and IP counselling. Practice head Michiru Takahashi recently assisted Merz Pharma with a licence and co-development agreement with Teijin, and leads a strong team, which includes US-qualified partners Maxwell Fox and Shogo Asaji, who focus on IP litigation, post-grant proceedings, adversarial licensing, patent analysis and IP counselling in the US and Japan. Noted for its domestic and international IP capabilities, the group represents clients including Mitsubishi Cable Industries, Dell and Canon in complex IP disputes and counselling matters.

With expertise in cross-border litigation, licence negotiations and strategic IP work, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP attracts a high-profile list of domestic and international clients including Toshiba and Mitsubishi UFJ Research and Consulting. The practice also handles a large amount of non-contentious work spanning IP licensing and patent portfolio management, and has been notably involved in emerging markets including Internet of Things and artificial intelligence (AI); Shinsuke Yakura is the Asia head for the firm’s global AI group. The department is also experienced in cross-border IP, Yoshihiro Takatori is a key name for counterfeiting work, and managing associate Kei Kato handles contentious matters. David Case leads the department and recently advised Shindengen Electric Manufacturing on negotiating a licence agreement with WiTricity, a US-based technology company.

Paul Hastings LLP has a diverse client roster, which includes high-profile automotive, technology, chemicals, life sciences and pharmaceutical companies including Fujitsu, Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma, Hitachi Construction Machinery, and Takeda Pharmaceutical. Alongside the benefits of the firm’s global network, its Japanese IP team has a strong relationship with the investigations, compliance and white-collar departments. Practice head Hiroyuki Hagiwara focuses on complex cross-border matters including patent infringement actions and IP licensing disputes, and is defending Gree against claims brought by Supercell alleging the misuse of patents related to the login technology and update procedures of Gree's mobile games.

Litigation-focused Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP  excels in cross-border IP, handling matters in the US, EU and other jurisdictions for a client roster including Sony, Toshiba, Nissan, Canon and Samsung. The group has a notable focus on patent infringement actions, principally in  the US and Germany; team leader Ryan Goldstein recently obtained a significant victory for Japanese entertainment company Tsuburaya Productions in a jury trial in the United States District Court for the Central District of California regarding the ownership of the rights of Tsuburaya’s Ultraman superhero character in all countries outside of Japan.

Foley & Lardner's Tokyo office benefits from the firm’s global network, which allows it to assist and represent clients around the globe, particularly in the US, in complex business transactions involving IP and technology issues in Japan. Leading the practice is Etsuo Doi who represents both Japanese and international companies in a diverse range of matters including cross-border transactions, IP, e-commerce, joint ventures, licensing and general corporate work.

With experience acting as lead counsel in trade mark and patent infringement proceedings, as well as registering more than 100 marks in Japan for both global and Japanese companies, Squire Gaikokuho Kyodo Jigyo Horitsu Jimusho provides advice on the full spectrum of IP issues. The team has particular expertise in licensing and technology transfers, infringement litigation and increasingly the emerging areas of cybersecurity, information privacy and data protection. The practice, led by Shigeru Miki, provides advice on a broad range of licensing matters, and also recently assisted Kashiwabara with a trade mark registration involving consultation and prosecution elements.


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