Next Generation Partners: Bengoshi

Rising Stars: Bengoshi

Firms To Watch: Intellectual property: Independent local firms

A recently formed boutique law firm, Araki International IP&Law is dedicated to supporting the IP assets of Japanese companies in the global market. Leveraging her expertise in cross-border IP transactions, head of team, Akiko Araki, is uniquely positioned to advise on complex, multi-jurisdictional IP matters involving large foreign corporations.
Ohtsuka Patent Office's intellectual property group contains a mix of patent attorneys and engineers with relevant academic backgrounds and industry experience, handling patent prosecution and portfolio management, trademark and design consulting, and IP litigation.
Sakurazaka Law Offices' intellectual property practice has expertise across the spectrum of IP, advising on patent, copyright, trade mark, and design litigation, licenses, infringement, and trade secrets.
Patents and trade mark law firm SUGIMURA & Partners is noted for for its wealth of experience representing domestic and international clients in IP disputes before the Japanese Patent Office and the IP High Court. Key contacts include Kenji Sugimura and Koji Sugimura.

Firms in the Spotlight Intellectual property: Independent local firms

SUGIMURA & Partners

SUGIMURA & Partners logo

Since its inception in 1923, SUGIMURA & Partners has been dedicated to the IP protection needs of our clients, through which we have built a reputation for excellence within the IP field. In particular, SUGIMURA strives to offer a full spectrum of high-quality IP legal services to meet the diverse needs of our domestic and …

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Intellectual property: Independent local firms in Japan

Abe, Ikubo & Katayama

Boasting a highly experienced team of litigators and patent lawyers, Abe, Ikubo & Katayama offers expertise in both IP infringement litigation and procurement, with a strong knowledge of the pharmaceutical industry. The team is co-led by Eiji Katayama, an expert on patent litigation, and Hiroshi Kobayashi, whose experience in the chemical and pharma sectors has led to further development and client acquisition in the area of patent prosecution. They are joined by Junichi Kitahara, who strengthens the practice with his impressive track record of patent enforcement along with Makoto Hattori, who focuses on patent and trade secret litigation. Lastly, Mami Hino's practice focuses on patent invalidity trials and IP High Court appeals.

Practice head(s):

Eiji Katayama; Hiroshi Kobayashi

Other key lawyers:

Junichi Kitahara; Makoto Hattori; Mami Hino

Key clients



Eli Lilly

Johnson & Johnson


Dow Chemical





Work highlights

Anderson Mori & Tomotsune

Headquartered in Tokyo, Anderson Mori & Tomotsune boasts a full-service IP practice, comprising practitioners with a deep knowledge of IP licensing and transactions. Alongside strong industry experience in electronics and telecommunications, the team is also noted for its expertise in trade mark, entertainment disputes and copyright. Industry veteran Yasufumi Shiroyama co-leads the practice alongside a prodigious team of IP experts which include Yoshikazu Iwase, well known for his litigation experience in patent infringement trials and revocation suits, and Akihito Nakamachi, a bilingual and bicultural attorney who has served as partner in both the United States and Japan. Wataru Shimizu focuses on technology transfer agreements, compliance and IP management, whereas Miki Goto leverages his academic background in science and engineering to advise on complex litigation, patent disputes and data privacy issues. Other co-leads include Masayuki Yamanouchi, who specializes in patent infringement issues in the pharmaceutical sector and Nobuto Shirane, who handles IT system development disputes and software licensing.

Practice head(s):

Yasufumi Shiroyama; Yoshikazu Iwase; Akihito Nakamachi; Wataru Shimizu; Miki Goto; Masayuki Yamanouchi; Nobuto Shirane; Ryo Murakami


‘The team provides useful comments and advised on IP contracts and IP issues in expected schedule.’

‘Miki Goto is very responsive to our inquires or requests. He is also a good communicator by sharing the relevant information promptly and listening to the client’s opinion as well.’

‘Expertise in the IP field and communication skills are key strength of the firm’s practice. Also, compared to others, the firm provided more insightful advice regarding IP laws and had good client care and communication skills.’

Key clients

Toyota Motor Corporation

Murata Machinery (Muratec)

Firstface Company Ltd.

Denso Corporation

Aisin Seiki Co., Ltd.

Jtekt Corporation

Advics Co., Ltd.

Ushio Inc.

BluE Nexus Corporation

Taiyo Holdings Co., Ltd.

Kaken Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.

Work highlights

  • Advising the Japan Digital Space Economy Federation with the preparation and publication of a report, which identifies and discusses IP and various other legal issues involving Metaverse.

Mori Hamada & Matsumoto

Headquartered in Tokyo with a broad international scope, Mori Hamada & Matsumoto is recognized for its comprehensive IP service and depth of experience with infringement cases involving patents, designs, trade marks, copyrights and invalidation trials. Recent expansion of the practice into China, involving local IP prosecutions and contentious matters, exemplifies the firm’s globalist outlook whilst maintaining its impressive client roster of domestic cross-sector companies. Yutaka Miyoshi, who has broad experience in complex, cross-border IP litigation, co-leads the team with Yoshifumi Onodera, who leverages his academic background in chemistry and biology to take lead on disputes requiring a high level of technical expertise. They are joined by Atsushi Okada, who handles disputes and transactions across a broad range of fields, and Tetsushi Kamimura, a specialist in disputes and copyright infringement cases in entertainment, TV broadcasting and internet-related technologies. Hideaki Kuwahara is notable for his expertise in IT-related disputes and handles IP litigation.

Practice head(s):

Yutaka Miyoshi; Yoshifumi Onodera; Atsushi Okada

Other key lawyers:

Tetsushi Kamimura; Hideaki Kuwahara


‘Profound business approach when it comes to handling of legal matters, which is sometimes difficult to find in Japan.’

‘Yoshi Onodera is very proactive, business driven and flexible. Very reliable performance.’

‘MHM produces regular newsletters informing its clients on the latest developments in the areas of new technologies such as AI and metaverse, Web3, following activities by the government and summarizing key points.’

‘MHM lawyers have provided flexible support service depending on the budget and level of importance, complexity of the matters on case-by-case basis, according to our needs/requests. MHM lawyers have made themselves available despite tight schedule in times of need.’

Key clients

Shiseido Company, Limited

Pan Pacific International Holdings Corporation

Kowa Company, Ltd.

Work highlights

Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu

Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu offers a broad spectrum of expertise in IP litigation and transactional matters such as due diligence, R&D agreements, AI and big data across a range of industries. The practice is strengthened by the considerable expertise of Shunji Matsuda, as well as Kenji Tosaki, who handles IP infringement litigations and IP invalidation litigations before the IP High Court, the Supreme Court, District Courts and Japan Patent Office. They are joined by Keiji Tonomura, who specialises in cross-border IP transactions with a particular focus on the TMT industry and emergent technologies. Another associate of note is Masashi Chusho.

Other key lawyers:

Shunji Matsuda; Kenji Tosaki; Keiji Tonomura; Masashi Chusho


‘There are lot of attorneys who have great experience. Also, the firm introduces and leads legal technology to research in an effective way.’

‘Partners in the firm publish many helpful articles/books and I use them to support my business.’

‘We believe Nagashima’s IP deparment is superior in international cases to other firms’ teams, especially in huge, multi-lateral cases. Nagashima has a large number of IP attorneys who have a rich experience with the U.S. IP firms. They have a capacity to handle big international cases, while keeping its high-quality level and intense communication with foreign clients.’

‘Shunji Matsuda’s thoughtful advice from both a legal and business point of view helps the team make the right decisions in proceedings. He is an excellent communicator and, through conversation with his clients and foreign colleagues, he can identify central issues in each aspect of the proceedings and suggest a practical solution.’ 

‘Many of the attorneys have experience in the U.S. and have given us useful advice in our overseas litigation. In addition, many of the attorneys are non-IP attorneys, so they can be trusted with complex matters.’

‘Shunji Matsuda always comes up with a good solution when I have a discussion with a foreign lawyer that I can’t engage.’

‘NO&T has one of the biggest IP litigation teams in Japan dealing with high-profile cases. Being a larger firm, NO&T has a better command of English than some of the boutique competitors. The team can work collaboratively with several other firms on one large project which is an important factor as the team tends to be quite busy.’

‘Kenji Tosaki, a former judge, is an experienced partner at the firm dealing with wide range of IP disputes. While Tosaki relies on technical matters to patent attorneys, his experience as a former judge provides a rare insight into how the arguments will be received by the judge.’

Key clients

Nintendo Co., Ltd.

Nichia Corporation

Isuzu Motors Limited

Nippon Steel Engineering Co., Ltd.

Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation

Twitter Inc.

Sanofi K.K.

Bushiroad Inc.

Novartis Pharma K.K.


Work highlights

  • Acted on behalf of Nintendo successfully in an IP litigation matter in Japan (the Tokyo District Court, IP High Court and Supreme Court), where Nintendo filed a lawsuit against Maricar Inc. concerning the protection of famous characters.
  • Represented the co-owners of a Japanese patent covering Patanol in a case concerning the JPO’s decision on the request for an invalidation trial to invalidate the patent.

Nishimura & Asahi

Nishimura & Asahi takes an interdisciplinary approach to provide insight and strategic advice on a range of IP matters from new forms of financial transactions to disputes involving multiple territories. Besides its extensive experience in the entertainment industry, the firm is developing a growing body of expertise in cutting edge technologies such as driverless cars and artificial intelligence. The team is co-led by Yoshiyuki Miyashita, a noted expert in IP transactions and dispute resolutions and Hitomi Iwase, who heads the trade mark division and advises across a wide range of sectors. Satoshi Niki leads on business transactions arising from the acquisition of technology and intellectual property rights, and Makiko Takabe bolsters the practice with her esteemed record of litigation and judicial experience. Also of note is Makoto Shiotani, who acts on behalf of national and multinational companies on IP portfolios and strategies. Finally, Gai Matsushita covers a wide range of IP infringement litigation and non-contentious matters, whilst Yoko Kasai specialises in licensing and patent litigation.

Practice head(s):

Yoshiyuki Miyashita; Hitomi Iwase

Other key lawyers:

Satoshi Niki; Makiko Takabe; Makoto Shiotani; Gai Matsushita; Yoko Kasai

Key clients

Dentsu Inc.

The Asahi Shimbun Company

Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corporation

Honda Motor Co., Ltd.

Maruni Wood Industry Inc.

Work highlights

  • Represented Nobel Prize-winning Dr. Tasuku Honjo in Japanese patent litigation involving inventorship of patented inventions.
  • Acted as global lead deal counsel to Honda and advised on all aspects of our client’s establishment of a joint venture company with a US company, LG Energy Solutions.
  • Advised Honda on legal risks relating to its in-vehicle connected services collaboration with Google LLC.

TMI Associates

Comprising a large and highly decorated team of IP specialists, TMI Associates‘ well-regarded IP practice spans patents, utility models, designs, trade marks and copyrights. With particular expertise in the media and entertainment industry, the team is co-led by Katsuro Tanaka, a leading figure in IP law and brand protection, and senior partner Tomohiro Tohyama. Mitsuko (Mimi) Miyagawa is a renowned specialist in brand protection with over 30 years of experience in IP litigation. Makoto Okada advises on patent infringement litigation and invalidation trials, whilst Hiroshi Nemoto focuses on pre-litigation counselling and patent-related trials. In addition, Tomoo Shibano is a noted specialist in IP, privacy and data protection; Seiro Hatano covers contentious works regarding trade marks and unfair competition; and Katsuyuki Inagaki strengthens the practice with considerable expertise in the fields of intellectual property, media and entertainment, and IT laws.

Practice head(s):

Katsuro Tanaka; Tomohiro Tohyama

Other key lawyers:

Makoto Okada; Hiroshi Nemoto; Tomoo Shibano; Seiro Hatano; Katsuyuki Inagaki; Mitsuko Miyagawa


‘All members of the team are very strong in their knowledge of the law, and in addition the advice that they give is very practical and cost effective.’

‘The team successfully defended us from a difficult plaintiff, are consistently prepared, providing well-structured, beautiful briefs in a timely manner. And the team has kept good relationships with a court and a patent office, leading the case to a good result. The team consists of competent and talented members, and they have amicable personalities.’

‘What makes them stand out is that they are not only highly capable, but also affable and reliable in their expertise in complex cases. Noteworthy individuals include Makoto Okada.’

‘TMI is empathetic and supportive to us.’

‘Makoto Okada is an excellent lawyer. He is highly knowledgeable and treats his clients with empathy.’

Key clients

Ricoh Company, Ltd.

R. C. Core Co. Ltd

Work highlights

  • Represented Ricoh Company, Ltd. in the lawsuit against manufacturers of the recycle toner cartridges for Ricoh copiers.
  • Advised Airwair International on an unfair competition litigation.
  • Represented NEC Networks & System Integration Corporation and Zoom Video Communications in the trade mark infringement lawsuit against Zoom Corporation.


With a particular industry expertise in pharmaceuticals and biotechnology, KUBOTA is well placed to handle contentious work in the areas of patents, infringement matters, trade marks, portfolio management. The practice is also well versed in patent infringement litigation in the pharmaceutical sector. Founder and industry veteran, Eiichiro Kubota, leads the team, which also comprises Kiyoko Nakaoka, who is widely recognised for her technical expertise and experience in high-end litigation. Emiko Yano plays a key role in the team’s life science practice and Yusuke Inui specialises in trade mark litigation. Rika Yamazaki and Tomoko Honami are other associates of note.

Practice head(s):

Eiichiro Kubota

Other key lawyers:

Kiyoko Nakaoka; Emiko Yano; Yusuke Inui; Rika Yamazaki; Tomoko Honami

Key clients


Fast Retailing





Louis Vuitton



Eagle Pharmaceuticals

Work highlights

  • Acting for the Broad Institute to defend their patent that covers the Nobel Prize winning CRISPR Cas9 technology.
  • Acting for Eagle Pharmaceuticals for patent infringement litigation against generic manufacturers Pfizer and Sawai.
  • Successfully acquired a 3D trade mark for CASIO’s iconic watch G-SHOCK.

Oh-Ebashi LPC & Partners

With an expanding international network, Oh-Ebashi LPC & Partners is home to a full-service IP offering covering unfair competition, licensing, and dispute resolution as well as other transactions. Industry veteran Shigetoshi Hirano specialises in cross-border IP disputes and has in-depth knowledge of entertainment law. He is joined by practice head Takamitsu Shigetomi, a noted practitioner in the field of IP licensing and infringement, and Toshiya Furusho, who handles patent litigations in the fields of mechanical engineering and biotechnology.

Practice head(s):

Takamitsu Shigetomi

Other key lawyers:

Shigetoshi Hirano; Toshiya Furusho

Work highlights

Shusaku Yamamoto Patent Law Offices

With a large network of offices and an experienced team of IP litigators, Shusaku Yamamoto Patent Law Offices is well placed to provide advice across a wide range of sectors. The team is led by Kensaku Yamamoto, who has overseen international expansion in Asia and leverages his considerable experience in the pharmaceutical sector.

Practice head(s):

Kensaku Yamamoto


‘The great experience, excellent responsiveness, the certainty in the advice, the total reliability and the immense knowledge throughout. What they say is always correct.’


Work highlights

Hiroe & Associates

A well-rounded firm, Hiroe & Associates provides a full range of IP services encompassing patents, design and trade marks. The team is co-led by Takenori Hiroe, an expert in IP rights disputes; Masanori Hiroe, who specialises in trade mark application appeals and cancellation trials; and Satoshi Hashimoto, who focuses on patent applications.

Practice head(s):

Takenori Hiroe; Masanori Hiroe, Satoshi Hashimoto


‘The team always replies to our inquires in more detail and sooner than other firms and handled our firm’s cases very professionally and provided helpful comments to ensure our cases would be granted.

‘The quality, cost, speed and other aspects are all very good and the communication between firms has always been excellent. Overall, Hiroe and Associates is a very trustworthy firm, and we highly recommend their services.’

‘Masanori Hiroe demonstrates exceptional abilities in business quality and system management. Feedback on tasks is provided very promptly.’

‘Hiroe & Associates’ task handling is swift, accurate, and excellent, so we have maintained a strong partnership with Hiroe & Associates.’

Work highlights

ZeLo, a Foreign Law Joint Enterprise

Formed in 2020 and working across a broad range of industries, ZeLo, a Foreign Law Joint Enterprise, specialises in providing innovative and new businesses advice on IP strategy, licensing, portfolio management, WIPO failings and patents. The team is led by Takahiro Aoki, a noted specialist on patent litigations, invalidation searches and prosecutions.

Practice head(s):

Takahiro Aoki


‘They are not only experts, but also have a business mindset, and their support is in line with the growth of our business, which is very helpful. I can count on them as a reassuring partner.’

‘Our patent attorney, Takahiro Aoki, always responds quickly and appropriately to our needs with his knowledge and in-house experience.’

Work highlights