IAM Global Leaders 2021

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Welcome to IAM Global Leaders: Interviews with the Pinnacle of the Patent Law Profession, a groundbreaking new publication featuring interviews with many of the world’s foremost private practice patent experts. 

To qualify for inclusion in IAM Global Leaders, individuals must be ranked in the gold tier of the IAM Patent 1000, the market-leading annual directory that identifies the top law and attorney firms and individuals in the world’s most important patent jurisdictions. 

To put the IAM Patent 1000 together, our full-time research team gathers hundreds of written submissions from firms detailing their recent activities, as well as conducting face-to-face and telephone interviews, and exchanging correspondence over a four-month period, with patent lawyers, attorneys and their clients. The detailed data collected forms the basis of the rankings published in the directory. 

All those listed as IAM Global Leaders merit special attention not only because of their expertise and experience relating to creating, protecting, managing, transacting and enforcing critical patent rights, but also for their ability to innovate, inspire and go above and beyond to deliver for their clients.

For this publication, IAM invited these elite professionals to reflect on their professional journey and offer insight and guidance into career development, practice management and market trends. We would like to thank all of those who chose to participate for helping us to produce a publication that we believe will be of immense interest – and help – to patent professionals across the globe. 


Ken Adamo

Law Office of KR Adamo
"It is all about focus and efficiency, true teamwork with in-house counsel and law firm colleagues and open-mindedness about strategy and tactics. ‘Same old, same old’ is no longer acceptable."

Gunnar Baumgärtel

Maikowski & Ninnemann Patentanwälte Partnerschaft mbB
"When it comes to innovations in electronical and mechanical technology, the biggest challenge appears to be the increasingly close connection between classical engineering on the one hand and software/data science on the other."

David I Berl

Williams & Connolly LLP
"I love science and there is no other job that permits one to explore a broad variety of scientific issues in such depth."

Timothy Bianchi

Schwegman Lundberg & Woessner, PA
"One of the most rewarding aspects of my work is when I can combine technology, law and business experience to create an effective and practical IP solution for a client."

Edward Black

Ropes & Gray LLP
"The biggest IP challenge facing US tech companies at present is the tension between the globalisation of technology and political nationalism and isolation."

Arwed Burrichter

"The EPO is much stricter than the USPTO when it comes to allowable claim amendments and added matter."

Héctor Chagoya

Becerril, Coca & Becerril, SC
"Effective patent management and licensing require strategic thinking and the ability to align protection strategies with market needs and the business goals of the patent holder."

Wei Dong

PC & Associates
"Becoming a better lawyer requires a range of qualities, for example, enjoying discussions with good arguments, being willing to fight to the end and devoting yourself to continuous learning."

Michael L Drapkin

Holland & Hart LLP
"It is vital for a patent portfolio to be integrated into the bigger picture of a company’s commercial and strategic goals. Short- and long-term decisions about patents should not be made in isolation."

Ian Finch

James & Wells
"I think that my success comes from the interplay of a number of factors: results; a genuine passion for IP law; a willingness to advance arguments which, although sometimes unconventional, have a sound foundation in the law; a desire to see my clients prosper and to be an integral part of that; and keeping a sense of perspective (and sense of humour)."

Greg Gardella

Gardella Grace PA
"It is all about the team. I have the privilege of working alongside some of the best lawyers, agents and paralegals that I have ever met."

Bruce R Genderson

Williams & Connolly LLP
"Whatever success I have enjoyed is largely due to the brilliance, creativity and hard work of the wonderful lawyers I work with every day and to the productive collaborations, partnerships and friendships I have had with my clients."

Claudio Germinario

Società Italiana Brevetti
"The most challenging emerging technologies at the moment are not in my field of competence (biopharmaceutical), but rather in electronics and telecommunications (eg, AI, the Internet of Things, blockchain and methods to guarantee and improve security in transactions)."

C Graham Gerst

Global IP Law Group
"If Moore’s law and hardware dominated the technology industry for the first 60 years of the semiconductor age, the last 10 have seen software move to the forefront. AI will only increase this emphasis."

Timothy P Getzoff

Holland & Hart LLP
"The ability to simplify the technology and legal framework in a manner that is not only accessible, but also meaningful to the jury, by presenting a narrative that is compelling enough that it wants to find in your favour."

Heinz Goddar

BOEHMERT & BOEHMERT Anwaltspartnerschaft mbB
"My personal advice for a scientist or someone with a technical background wishing to become a patent attorney is to work on their language skills."

Ping Gu

Zhong Lun Law Firm
"I studied computer science when I was in college and I know how easily and inexpensively a rights holder’s technology can be misappropriated."

Edgar Haug

Haug Partners LLP
"Like all top trial lawyers, it is the ability to listen and to explain very complicated and technical subject matter to lay judges and juries."

Markus Herzog

Weickmann & Weickmann Patent und Rechtsanwälte PartmbB
"In my view, the most noble task of a patent attorney is to be a service provider supporting your clients in fiercely competitive markets."

Andri Hess

"In our experience, the European patent licensing landscape does not actually exist. Over recent years, each industry has developed – rarely by formal processes, but simply by practice – its own licensing principles and standards."

David Huang

LexField Law Offices
"In many cases I get to go through the long lifespan of a client’s innovation and patent, from prosecution to monetisation and perhaps enforcement."

David Hughes

Griffith Hack
"I have always had an interest in technology and how it can change lives."

Sherry M Knowles

Knowles Intellectual Property Strategies, LLC
"During my early law firm associate days, I played a lead role in the prosecution of the patent portfolio covering emtricitabine (FTC), currently one of the most widely prescribed medicines for HIV and a cornerstone of Gilead’s HIV franchise."

Yury Kuznetsov

Gorodissky & Partners
"Most of our foreign clients are owners of large IP assets and we are proud that many of these assets are continuously growing thanks to our professional assistance."

Luiz Leonardos

Luiz Leonardos & Advogados
"It has been a personal journey that started in the late 1950s, when I became a lawyer, and turned into a family affair when I joined the law firm as a partner."

Steven Lundberg

Schwegman Lundberg & Woessner, PA
"Schwegman Lundberg & Woessner was founded in response to corporate demand for high-quality patent services, particularly in patent prosecution and post-grant procedures in the United States and worldwide."

Andre Marais

Schwegman Lundberg & Woessner, PA
"Success should be measured by return on investment (ROI) and whether the articulated goals of the strategy are met."

Scott McKeown

Ropes & Gray LLP
"You have to be two-parts engineer and one-part attorney to consistently succeed before the PTAB."

Masaki Morishima

Saegusa & Partners
"I recommend considering Japan as a hub for Asia."

William A Munck

Munck Wilson Mandala LLP
"What makes an attorney world-class is client service. People remember those that take the time to understand them, their business and their business’s legal needs, and those who formulate actionable suggestions that bring value."

Joel Nägerl

Zimmermann & Partner Patentanwälte mbB
"World-class patent litigators must unite technical expertise, legal knowledge, creativity, linguistic proficiency, management and communication skills, and team-building capabilities."

Essenese Obhan

Obhan & Associates
"Law firm leadership must create an environment and culture that encourages everyone to achieve their maximum potential."

Atsushi Okada

Mori Hamada & Matsumoto
"Although I started in traditional IP litigation and transactions (eg, patent, trademark and copyright), my practice now covers a broader range of legal fields in technology and digital economy including AI, fintech, digital health and mobility as a service, as well as global data protection laws."

Carlos R Olarte

"It is easy to get swept up in the initial enthusiasm of any campaign, then get lost in the follow-up and for energy levels to wane after protracted litigation."

Elisabetta Papa

Società Italiana Brevetti
"Listening to the client’s needs and gaining a detailed understanding of its organisation as well as its production and marketing strategies play an essential role in providing tailored services."

Natalie Raffoul

Brion Raffoul LLP
"Educating the AI community remains key – it is often surprised to learn what is patentable or that a patentee can be its own lexicographer."

Andrés Rincón

Cavelier Abogados
"My passion for intellectual property started 20 years ago and has not stopped since."

Paul J Skiermont

Skiermont Derby LLP
"Although it may not be a ‘secret’, in my view the key to success in the courtroom comes down to preparation – and the kind of winning preparation that is required begins long before the courtroom lights are turned on."

Steven Steger

Steger IP, LLC
"Clients have become much more sophisticated and better informed across all sizes of company."

Anita Varma

White & Case
"As a life sciences practitioner, I routinely develop world-wide patent strategies for clinical candidates and the United States and Europe are the two jurisdictions capturing the largest market share in this space."

Christoph Walke

"From a strategical perspective, I observed that even smaller clients were starting to think about patent monetisation rather than mere patent creation for defensive and marketing purposes."

Philipe Walter

"Preparation – it is as simple as that. Take your time and spend budget on both prior art searches and pre-trial preparation."

Yan Wang

Han Kun Law Offices
"As the leader of a full-service IP team with 100-plus professionals, my most important job is to create a healthy ecosystem that attracts talent and helps people to realise their full potential."

Jeffrey S Whittle

Womble Bond Dickinson
"Any secret to my success goes to my clients. They provide interesting work that challenges me and ensures that I stay abreast and develop my understanding of national and global legal and business changes."

Martin Wilming

Hepp Wenger Ryffel AG
"Plausibility is sometimes talked about as if it were a requirement for patentability on its own. But as case law at the EPO Boards of Appeal evolves, plausibility will be given the importance that it deserves."

Lili Wu

Han Kun Law Offices
"As a leading IP lawyer, you always need to be sharp to the legal issues and markets."

IAM Global Leaders