People and places

In-depth analysis


Eiji Katayama is the top name at Abe, Ikubo & Katayama. The firm is noted for its patent litigation work in chemistry, electronics and machinery, involving advanced technology such as biotechnology and semiconductors. The firm’s work is frequently cross-border in nature, and members have extensive experience as examiners at the patent office. 

Headquartered in Tokyo with branch offices in Osaka and Nagoya and with offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Singapore, Ho Chi Minh City and Bangkok, Anderson Mori & Tomotsune has broad experience in IP, life sciences and IT. It provides services in relation to international and domestic disputes, transactions, filings and regulatory matters. Partner Hideto Ishida is a key contact. 

One of the largest Japanese IP firms and founded in 1965, Aoyama & Partners has its main office in Osaka, with a branch in Tokyo. Its patent attorneys are also scientists, engineers, pharmacologists and chemists who provide strategic counseling, prosecutions and litigations for domestic and international patent, design, trademark and other IP related matters. Senior counsel Mutsumi Samejima is a key contact. 

Located in Tokyo, Asamura Patent Office is overseen by senior managing partner Masahiro Asamura. The firm prosecutes cases regarding patents, utility models, designs and trademarks. It is involved in various proceedings at JPO and other countries. Cases from clients abroad and requests for filing applications in foreign countries make up more than 90 percent of the firm’s work. 

Named Asia IP trademark firm of the year for Asia Pacific in 2019, the IP/IT group at Baker McKenzie provides a full range of IP services including infringement litigation on patents, designs, trademarks, copyright, unfair competition and trade secret disputes. The firm is also active in prosecution and proceeding management related to trademark design applications and registrations, as well as technology transfer and other acquisition, licensing and protection issues. Many of its members, such as partner Kensaku Takase and Kei Matsumoto, have abundant experience in both domestic and foreign jurisdictions, which enable them to handle IP matters for the US and European markets and work with their international counterparts to coordinate inbound and outbound work. 

Led by managing partner Naoki Yoshida, Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner’s Tokyo office represents Japanese companies in IP litigation cases filed in the US district and appellate courts and before the US International Trade Commission; counsels on various IP issues; conducts due diligence for mergers, acquisitions, and other partnering opportunities; develops global litigation strategies; and negotiates IP licenses and drafts licensing agreements.

Leveraging more than 30 years of experience handling American legal matters for major Japanese corporations through its offices across the US, Europe, Mexico and Asia, Foley & Lardner is a full-service firm that established its Tokyo office to expand its coverage on IP and corporate matters. The more than 200 attorneys of the firm’s IP department have represented top five US patent owners in the fields of biotechnology, chemical, electronics and communications. Partner Michael Kaminski, who once worked as a research chemical engineer for a major oil company and for a major chemical company, is a key contact. He divides his time between Tokyo and Washington. 

Hiroe and Associates provides services concerning patents, utility models, trademarks, industrial designs, copyright, unfair competition, licensing, searches, prosecution, litigation, opinions, maintenance, renewal, technology transfer, counseling, and more. The firm’s well-rounded team of professionals, which is based in Gifu Prefecture outside Nagoya, provides expertise in a wide range of technical fields and intellectual property law. Director Masanori Hiroe is a key contact.

Named Asia IP copyright firm of the year for Asia Pacific in 2019, the IP team at Hogan Lovells in Tokyo – including managing partner Lloyd Parker and partner Frederick Ch’en – offers IP services for both contentious and non-contentious matters on patents, trademarks, copyright, designs, trade secrets and unfair competition. Parker is widely-regarded as one of the best IP lawyers in Japan. 

Hirohito Katsunuma leads Katsunuma International Patent Office in Tokyo. Along with patent attorney Maya Kadonaga, they provide advice in a variety of areas, specializing in computer software, nuclear power, petrochemical engineering, semiconductor and manufacturing equipment.

Since 1957, Kawaguti & Partners has been a full-service IP law firm for regional and international clients of all sizes in Tokyo. Led by president Katsumasa Osaki, the team provides prosecution and litigation advice. Specialized advice comes from many including vice president Mitsumasa Ihara.

Founded in 2003, Kotto Dori Law Office is located in Tokyo and excellent in art and entertainment law. The firm has represented clients in areas of publishing, audio-visual, stage drama, music and game. Its principal practice is divided between advice on domestic and international contracts, dispute resolution and copyright-related issues. Other expertise includes civil litigation, general corporate, data privacy and trademark. Fukui Kensaku is a key contact.

Eiichiro Kubota leads the eponymous Kubota, where his practice focuses on litigation. Much of the Kubota’s former Hogan Lovells IP team, including Yusuke Inui and Kiyoko Nakaoka, followed him to the new firm. 

Founded by Tatsujiro Uchimura in 1908, Kyowa Patent and Law Office in Tokyo specializes in electrical, mechanical, chemical, trademark and design work. Led by managing partners Yukitaka Nakamura and Satoru Asakura, the firm has approximately 60 patent attorneys and attorneys-at-law.

Mori Hamada & Matsumoto is a large, Tokyo-based international law firm, with offices in Osaka, Nagoya, Takamatsu and Fukuoka, and overseas offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Singapore, Bangkok, Yangon and Ho Chi Minh City. With key practitioners Hiroki Saito, Yoshifumi Onodera and Atsushi Okada, the firm has significant experience in handling infringement cases involving patents, trademarks and copyright, and litigation involving patent invalidation claims and employee inventions in Japan. 

Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu has powerful legal teams capable of providing clients with effective practical solutions. The firm’s IP practice covers both IP litigation and transactional matters, from traditional IP transactions such as licensing or research and development agreements to complex IP M&A, IP finance, IT related matters and entertainment business. Based in Tokyo, the firm also has offices in New York, Singapore, Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi and Shanghai, and a desk at Soemadipradja & Taher in Jakarta. 

Named Asia IP trademark firm of the year for Japan in 2019, Nakamura & Partners in Tokyo is an international patent and law firm which provides IP services inside and outside of the country. It provides services for patents (including designs) and trademarks, and has a strong legal section and the administration group to support the firm. Outstanding practitioners include managing partner Hiroyuki Itaki as well as partners Kazuhiko Yoshida and Hiroshi Uesugi. 

Nishimura & Asahi is the largest and one of the oldest law firms in Japan. Along with the Tokyo headquarters, it has branch offices in Osaka, Nagoya and Fukuoka with approximately 500 attorneys, foreign attorneys, and other professionals. To strengthen cross-border practices and presence, the firm has opened offices in New York, Taipei, Beijing, Shanghai, Dubai, Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, Singapore, Yangon and Bangkok as well as affiliate offices in Jakarta and Hong Kong. Top IP practitioners have helped MNCs such as Microsoft Japan and Canon handle IP prosecution, litigation, licensing and other transactions. Partner Yoshiyuki Miyashita is a key contact.

Managing partner Seiji Ohno leads Ohno & Partners in providing litigation, prosecution, licensing, due diligence, opinion and counseling services for all kinds of IP. The firm has actively tackled unsolved legal issues, so it has been able to establish new case laws before the Supreme Court. 

Led by president Aki Ryuka, Ryuka IP’s IP team comprises attorneys, paralegals, engineers and translators. Clients come from domestic companies and MNCs in South Korea, Taiwan, China, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore in the fields of electronics, telecommunications, software, optics, mechanical engineering, semiconductors, electronic materials, chemicals and biochemistry. 

Led by president Atsushi Aoki, Seiwa Patent & Law is an international patent and law firm located in Tokyo. The firm provides all kinds of IP matters to both domestic and overseas clients. It is a partnership comprising about 300 members, including approximately 100 patent attorneys and attorneys-at-law. 

Located in Tokyo, Shiga International Patent Office was founded in 1965 by Masatake Shiga, and has grown into one of the leading patent firms in Japan due to many technical experts from China, South Korea and several English-speaking countries. President Yasuhiko Murayama is a key contact.

Headquartered in Tokyo with offices in Kyoto and Fukuoka, chairman Ryuichi Shitara leads Soei Patent & Law Firm in providing patent, trademark and design protection services to engineers, inventors and designers.

For more than two decades, Washington-based Sughrue Mion has maintained an office in Tokyo with bilingual and bicultural staff members. All of the resident attorneys are US-qualified and provide counselling in areas such as patent prosecution, litigation, licensing, negotiation, validity, infringement, export control and foreign filing licenses. 

Led by managing partners Kenji Sugimura and Koji Sugimura, Sugimura & Partners is an IP specialist firm which represents both Japanese and international clients pursuing patent, design, and trademark protection in Japan. Its clientele ranges from single inventors and startups to well established academic institutions and multinational corporations from all sectors of the global economy. Top practitioners include Tetsuo Tsukanaka, Yuko Muramatsu, Kenichi Nakayama and Osamu Suzuki. 

Yoshiyuki Inaba, Mitsuko Miyagawa and Toyotaka Abe are key practitioners at TMI Associates. The firm was named Asia IP patent firm of the year for Japan in 2019; its clients range from venture businesses to well-established high-tech companies. It also liaises with government agencies and has increasingly had opportunities to advise on policy. Besides copyright services, it also handles patent, utility model, design, trademark, trade secret, unfair competition, action plan, antitrust as well as licensing matters. 

Founded in 1902, Yuasa and Hara is one of the oldest and largest law and patent firms in Tokyo. The firm was named Asia IP copyright firm of the year for Japan in 2019 and is a pioneer in multidisciplinary practice, consisting of a legal division, a patent division, a trademark & design division and an accounting division. Kozo Yabe, Kazuhiro Nakata, Hiromichi Aoki and Toshiaki Iimura closely cooperate with each other to provide complete and multiple IP services to both domestic and foreign clients.

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