Abe, Ikubo & Katayama > Tokyo, Japan > Firm Profile
Abe, Ikubo & Katayama Offices
Fukuoka Building 9th Floor
2-8-7 Yaesu, Chuo-ku
Abe, Ikubo & Katayama > The Legal 500 RankingsAbe, 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.
Abe, Ikubo & Katayama > Firm Profile
— Overview —
Abe, Ikubo & Katayama (also known as AIK) is one of Japan’s leading law firms, providing comprehensive legal services to both domestic and international clients. Founded in 1959 by Shogo Abe, the firm gradually grew and now has more than 160 members consisting of attorneys-at-law, patent attorneys and secretarial and managerial staffs. Our main office is located nearby the Tokyo Station, and we also have a Fukuoka Branch as a base to provide legal services for clients and matters in western Japan.
We provide services to companies of all sizes, ranging from listed companies, small and medium enterprises, as well as start-ups, with coverage both in Japan and overseas. Our clients come from almost all fields of business, including manufacturing (chemicals, materials, pharmaceuticals and medical devices, cosmetics, electricity, automotive, machines, metals, food and beverages, fashion, etc.), financial institutions, securities, trading companies, logistics, wholesale and retail, construction, real estate, communication, IT, information-related services, energy, staffing, medical institutions, universities and research institutes, and public bodies.
— Areas of Practice —
We have accumulated vast knowledge and experience in almost all legal areas to meet the needs of our clients, including among others the following:
Corporate General Advice
The scope of our corporate legal practice extends across for example the following areas.
– Advice on legal issues and disputes that arise on a daily basis in corporate activities.
– Compliance and crisis management, serving on external and on in-house boards investigating fraud, establishing internal reporting channels.
– M&A support, such as share acquisition/sales, mergers, business transfers, company breakups, share exchanges, etc., as well as due diligence.
– Advice and execution support from a strategic management viewpoint, such as restructuring, business alliances, management integration.
– Advice and negotiation on labor-related issues.
– Serving as outside directors, corporate auditors.
– Support and guidance relating to convocation and running of shareholder general meetings.
– Drafting and checking of contracts and corporate documents, updating internal documentation to best practice.
– Contract negotiations and dispute negotiations with other parties on client’s behalf.
– Drafting of legal opinions.
– Establishment of in-house systems, such as streamlining of regulations.
We are strongly committed to providing client-oriented services based on a thorough understanding of what the client’s ultimate goal is in its business. We aim to develop close bonds with our clients to achieve a deeper understanding of their business.
One of our strongest practice areas lies in resolving litigation or disputes when they occur. Our attorneys have experience in cases ranging from ordinary civil litigation to corporate litigation, intellectual property litigation, labor disputes and international arbitration. We also have experience in highly specialized large-scale litigations such as investor litigation and product liability litigation. We have a wealth of experience in civil preservation procedures (provisional attachment and provisional injunctions) for preservation of rights, as well as compulsory execution procedures such as demanding the surrender of real estate. Our experience and know-how gained through litigation are utilized and reflected in our advice for dispute prevention and risk management.
Miki Koichi, who is Professor Emeritus of Keio University and Vice-President of the International Association of Procedural Law, as well as former President of the Japan Association of Civil Procedure and the Japan Association of the Law of Arbitration and Alternative Dispute Resolution, joined our firm in 2023. With his extensive knowledge, experience, and connections we are able to provide clients with even more valuable advice and opinions.
Business Rehabilitation and Insolvency
We have been involved in all facets of legal insolvency and restructuring procedures as counsel or court-appointed administrator for the petitioner company. We have acted as counsel for petitioner companies such as the Sogo Department Store Group, Japan Leasing, Life Co., Ltd., The Dai-Ichi Hotel Ltd., The Chiyoda Mutual Life Insurance Company, The Kyoei Life Insurance Co., Ltd., Nissan Construction, Creed Corporation, Nitto Kogyo, Ryokuei Group, Sohken Homes Co., Ltd., Taiyo Kogyo Corporation, Daisan Shipping Co., Ltd., and many others. We have been court-appointed administrators, examiners, and supervisors of petitioner companies in many large-scale and complex insolvency/restructuring cases, such as Riccar Ltd., Maruko Inc., Spansion Japan, Japan Airlines, Yamazaki Construction, Tuzuki Concrete, Polymer Tech, and Mount Gox. We also have experience in many cases requested by creditors, secured creditors, sponsors, funds, and the like.
In voluntary liquidation, we represent debtor companies and work as expert advisors for the Small & Medium Enterprises Revitalization Support Council to help numerous small and medium-sized companies with restructuring and business succession by utilizing various procedures available from the Support Council. In cases where restructuring is difficult, we work to wind up the business in a fashion that is as smooth and orderly as possible. We have several lawyers who have been seconded to the Small & Medium Enterprises Revitalization Support Council national headquarters and the Regional Economy Vitalization Corporation of Japan and have deep knowledge and experience in restructuring and reorganization through voluntary procedures.
Our attorneys-at-law and patent attorneys have handled numerous and various cases in the intellectual property involving a broad range of technological fields, including life sciences, materials, machinery, electrical equipment, electronic materials, communications, and business models. These include cases involving cutting-edge technologies such as biotechnology and telecommunications, as well as cases relating to standard essential patents. We are especially strong in the field of advanced technologies such as life science (medicine, biotechnology etc.) and nanotechnology.
In 2000, we established the Intellectual Property Division (the “IP Division”) to enhance our filing (including pre-filing search) and prosecution services before the Japan Patent Office. We also have a Trademark & Design Group within the IP Division that is specialized in handling matters pertaining to trademark and industrial design.
One of our strongest practice areas is patent litigation (infringement litigation / injunctions, invalidation trials / litigation for revoking JPO trial decisions, arbitration, customs import bans, compulsory license cases, etc.). In litigation, the litigation lawyers in the Legal Division and the patent attorneys in the IP Division will work closely as a team, using the utmost effort to bring the best results for our clients.
We have been welcoming personnel who used to be an examiner or appeal examiner at the Japan Patent Office or a judicial research official in the field of intellectual property at the Tokyo District Court and the Intellectual Property High Court. With their knowledge and expertise, we can foresee the possible outcomes of examinations and litigations, and take timely and appropriate actions to deal with them.
We possess a wide range of experience and knowledge in the life sciences field. Our clients include many domestic and overseas pharmaceutical companies and research institutes, and we provide clients with advice in various aspects of their life science business, for example intellectual property, research ethics, conflicts of interest, anti-trust law relating to research and development, clinical trials, and sales of new drugs and medical devices.
Regarding pharmaceutical products that have received approval and are being marketed, we advise on regulatory issues as well as on patent rights and patent term extensions and have been extensively involved in numerous JPO trials and litigation regarding such matters. We also advise medical institutions on malpractice litigation.
M&A and Business Restructuring
We have been engaged as advisors in many M&A and business restructuring projects, from listed corporations to owner-operated companies, varying across a broad range of sizes and industries. We propose the optimal strategy to match the needs of each case, including share transfers, mergers, company breakups, business transfers, share exchanges, tender offers, and share consolidation. In M&A involving conflicts of interest, such as MBO, we also act as independent committee members.
In M&A due diligence, we focus on efficient research of the key issues tailored to the needs of our clients. We can respond flexibly to those needs, from due diligence on specific issues to full due diligence where necessary. In cases where intellectual property is a key area, our patent attorneys will also be in the team.
When drafting contract documents such as share transfer contracts and contracts between shareholders, we take care to draft constructive and effective draft clauses in line with the actual state of the business. Since all of our lawyers have litigation experience, we are able to look over the contract contents and negotiate for our clients with an eye on actual court practice.
We advise on legal matters and aid in dispute resolution relating to all types of financial transactions for both domestic and overseas financial institutions and corporations. Our clients can be broadly classified into two groups: financial institutions and funds, which provide finance, and corporations, which are seeking finance. Our coverage encompasses advising on the issuance of share classes and share acquisition rights of unlisted companies, the issuance of share options, and funding for investment business limited liability partnerships and sleeping partnerships.
We also have extensive experience in finance disputes, having handled numerous cases involving securities litigation filed by investors and individual shareholders, as well as disputes relating to financial products.
Our coverage also extends to business rehabilitation cases, where we advise on debt for equity swaps (DES) and debt for debt swaps (DDS). In addition, we have a wealth of experience in the creation, management, and cash recovery of assets and asset-backed lending.
In the area of anti-trust law, we handle a broad range of matters involving unfair business restrictions (cartels, bid rigging), private monopoly, unfair business practices and business combinations. We work closely with our clients on matters that may arise before the Japanese Fair Trade Commission, including requests for leniency, notification of business mergers, and any penalties in case they should occur. In addition, we utilize our network of overseas offices to respond promptly and appropriately to global issues. In particular, in the fields where our firm’s strengths in intellectual property law and antitrust law overlap, we are involved in numerous leading cases in Japan, providing us with unparalleled knowledge and experience.
Furthermore, also as part of our antitrust coverage, we advise on the establishment of compliance systems, and actively engage with the regulatory authorities in responding to compliance issues.
We have broad experience in advising clients on building systems for the appropriate handing of personal information and company secrets, as well as carrying out in-house training relating to those issues, and responding to problems stemming from information leaks. To deal with the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) in the EU, we work together with lawyers of other countries in order to provide rapid and on-target support. In recent years, we have advised on many cases relating to Internet-of-Things, Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, etc.
|Intellectual Property Division
|Mr Makoto Hattori
|Ms Mami Hino
|Mr Hisashi Ito
|Mr Rikita Karakawa
|Mr Hirofumi Kato
|Mr Junichi Kitahara
|Ms Nodoka Nakamura
|Mr Hideto Sasaki
|Mr Koichiro Sato
|Mr Kazuyuki Taguchi
|Mr Naotada Yokota
|Mr Tomohiro Yoneyama
Staff FiguresNumber of lawyers: : 50 Number of patent attorneys: : 34
LanguagesEnglish Japanese Chinese (Mandarin)
- Intellectual property: Independent local firms
Top Tier Firm Rankings
- Restructuring and insolvency: Independent local firms