Japan’s IP Experts 2023

28 February 2023

Japan’s IP Experts 2023

Japan is well-known for its innovative products, so it is no wonder that its patent applications have remained high over the years. According to the Japan Patent Office Annual Report 2022, there were 289,200 applications for patents and 238,557 requests for patent examinations in 2021, showing increases of 728 and 6,342 respectively from the previous year. Patent applications submitted to Japan from abroad also increased in 2021, and design registration applications from China, in particular, continued to increase rapidly, and exceeded the number of design registration applications from the United States for the first time in 2021. 

Besides patent and design registration applications, Japan also observed an increase in trademark examinations, thanks to the new policy of strengthening and streamlining the examination system to shorten lengthy examination periods. The number of primary examination notifications in 2021 increased significantly by 23.3 percent from the previous year.  

With these encouraging figures, it suggests that there will be great demand for the professional services of intellectual property lawyers in Japan for local and overseas clients. In this issue, we pay tribute to the best of them by presenting this year’s Japan’s IP Experts list. We asked a large number of IP professionals in the region, who are mostly in-house counsel and corporate legal managers, about what they were looking for from their legal service providers, so as to understand better what clients need and want today. Based on these answers, we have compiled our list of the Top 50 IP experts in Japan, lawyers who can best understand what their clients need and provide them with the best practical advice. 

Nowadays, it takes more than a degree from a top-notch university and a couple of decades of practice for IP lawyers to convince clients that they are the best in the field. When looking for IP advice, clients would opt for outstanding lawyers who can also understand how IP impacts the rest of their business, and advise them with practical, real-world, and business-savvy solutions. Not only do the lawyers need to have sound knowledge of the current law, but they also need to perceive coming trends that might affect clients’ business. 

Our list is categorized with the specialized fields of the experts, including patents, trademarks, copyright, enforcement, licensing and franchising, media and entertainment, IT and telecoms, pharma and biotech, and IP litigation. A total of 50 top experts from 37 law firms are presented, including Japan’s largest IP firms and practices, of course. For instance, Nakamura & Partners placed five lawyers on our list (Kei Iida, Yoshio Kumakura, Shinichiro Tanaka, Koichi Tsujii, and Kazuhiko Yoshida), whereas TMI Associates placed three lawyers (Yoshiyuki Inaba, Mitsuko Miyagawa, and Shunji Sato). Seven firms placed two lawyers each on our list: Abe, Ikubo & Katayama (Eiji Katayama and Hiroshi Kobayashi); Anderson Mori & Tomotsune (Akihito Nakamachi and Masayuki Yamanouchi); Asamura Patent Office (Masahiro Asamura and Yoichi Inoue); Hiroe & Associates (Masanori Hiroe and Takenori Hiroe); Mori Hamada & Matsumoto (Atsushi Okada and Yoshifumi Onodera); Shiga International Patent Office (Shinya Jitsuhiro and Yasuhiko Murayama); and Yuasa and Hara (Hiromichi Aoki and Toshiaki Iimura). In addition to the large law firms, as the legal market of Japan keeps on maturing, there are also many competent boutique firms arising. Among our top 50 list, 28 firms are represented by one lawyer. 

Most of the lawyers named to our list have multiple practice specialties. Many of them are litigators, while others concentrate on prosecution work or provide strategic advice.  

All of them have something in common: they are experts in their fields and, in one way or another, they provide extra value for their clients. They are Asia IP’s Singapore IP Experts. – IVY CHOI 

Japan 2023 Firm Patents   Trademarks   Copyright   Enforcement   Licensing & Franchising   Media & Entertainment   IT & Telecoms   Pharma & Biotech   IP Litigation  
Takanori Abe Abe & Partners        •           •         •                                          •           •
Atsushi Aoki Seiwa Patent & Law        •           •              
Hiromichi Aoki Yuasa and Hara             •              
Masahiro Asamura Asamura IP        •                           •                 •
Toshiaki Etoh Tashiro & Etoh Patent Bureau        •                
Tomoyo Fujimoto Shiomizaka             •         •                        •      
Kensaku Fukui Kotto Dori Law Office             •         •                        •      
Yoshiki Hasegawa Soei Patent & Law Firm        •                
Masanori Hiroe Hiroe & Associates        •           •         •                              
Takenori Hiroe Hiroe & Associates        •           •         •                      •        
Kei Iida Nakamura & Partners             •         •                                •                    •      
Toshiaki Iimura Yuasa and Hara        •           •              •                   •
Yoshiyuki Inaba TMI Associates        •           •                        •                 •
Yoichi Inoue Asamura IP        •                
Shinya Jitsuhiro Shiga International Patent Office        •                                      •  
Chie Kasahara Atsumi & Sakai        •           •                                    •             •    
Eiji Katayama Abe, Ikubo & Katayama        •           •              •                      •  
Hirohito Katsunuma Katsunuma International Patent Office        •           •                        •        
Yoshitake Kihara Fukami Patent Office        •                          
Hiroshi Kobayashi Abe, Ikubo & Katayama        •                            •  
Kumpei Kogure Borders IP             •              
Eiichiro Kubota Kubota        •           •              •                   •
Yoshio Kumakura Nakamura & Partners        •           •                          •  
Masatoshi Kurata Suzuye & Suzuye        •                       •    
Masaki Mikami Marks IP             •              •                    •        
Mitsuko Miyagawa TMI Associates                  •         •            •                 •             •
Manabu Miyajima Kyowa Patent and Law Office                  •                       •
Yoshiyuki Miyashita Nishimura & Asahi        •                            •             •    
Hidekazu Miyoshi Miyoshi & Miyoshi        •           •         •            
Masashi Moriwaki Moriwaki IP Law Firm (M & Partners, IP)        •                          •               •             •
Yasuhiko Murayama Shiga International Patent Office        •                
Akihito Nakamachi Anderson Mori & Tomotsune        •           •                               •               •             
Kenichi Nakayama Sugimura & Partners                  •         •                     •
Seiji Ohno Ohno & Partners        •                          •                 •
Atsushi Okada Mori Hamada & Matsumoto        •           •              •                 •             •
Yoshifumi Onodera Mori Hamada & Matsumoto        •           •              •                    •                 •
Katsumasa Osaki Kawaguti & Partners        •                •                                        •           •
Hideo Ozaki City-Yuwa Partners        •                          •                 •
Akihiro Ryuka Ryuka IP Law Firm        •                          •        
Masahiro Samejima Uchida & Samejima Law Firm        •                                 •               •             •
Shunji Sato TMI Associates             •         •            •          
Takamitsu Shigetomi Oh-Ebashi LPC & Partners        •                          •                    •           •
Masayuki Shobayashi Shobayashi International Patent & Trademark Office        •           •                          •  
Yoshitaka Sonoda Sonoda & Kobayashi        •                         •
Shinichiro Tanaka Nakamura & Partners        •           •              •                   •
Hideya Tsuba Tokyo Kyodo Patent Office        •           •              •                    •                 •
Koichi Tsujii Nakamura & Partners             •                     
Kozo Yabe Midosuji LPC        •           •         •            •                   •
Masayuki Yamanouchi Anderson Mori & Tomotsune        •                          •                    •  
Kazuhiko Yoshida Nakamura & Partners        •           •                        •                 •


Japan’s IP Experts is based solely on independent editorial research conducted by Asia IP. As part of this project, we turned to thousands of in-house counsel in Japan, Asia and around the world, as well as Japan-focused partners at international law firms, and asked them to nominate private-practice lawyers including foreign legal consultants, advisers and counsel.  

The final list reflects the nominations received combined with the input of editorial team at Asia IP, which has more than 40 years of collective experience in researching and understanding the legal market in Japan. 

All private practice intellectual property lawyers working at law firms in Japan were eligible for inclusion in the nominations process; there were no fees or any other requirements for inclusion in the process. 

The names of our 50 IP Experts are published here. Each IP Expert was given the opportunity to include their biography and contact details in print and on our website, for which a fee was charged. 

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