India

Although India has historically been an unattractive IP jurisdiction to foreign investors due to its convoluted web of bureaucracy and dearth of attractive policies, the government is now keen on making meaningful reforms in the patent sphere. Since the Indian Patent Office hired a round of new patent examiners last year, it has taken the initiative and made an aggressive start on clearing the backlog of applications that had hitherto sat on its examiners’ desks. Office actions are now being issued more quickly – which, in a notoriously slow jurisdiction where patent prosecution used to take upwards of years, must be considered significant progress. This push is helping to restore IP owners’ confidence in India, as demonstrated by the country’s rise from 44th to 36th place in the 2019 Global Intellectual Property Index. On the contentious front, India’s first post-trial SEP infringement decision was issued in 2018 (with Koninklijke Philips emerging victorious against local DVD-player technology infringers), while Monsanto recently won the right to have the Delhi High Court reconsider its case in a high-profile Supreme Court patentability action concerning its genetically modified cotton seeds.

Firms: litigation and transactions

Firms: prosecution

Anand and Anand 

When it comes to patent litigation and transactions, Anand and Anand is in a league of its own. The firm’s 80 practitioners – said by one market source to be “the leading patent attorneys in India by some distance” – use their strategic skills to tackle a fast-flowing stream of contentious matters on behalf of their predominantly overseas clientele. Always on the lookout for growth opportunities, the side recently initiated a joint venture with competition law boutique Gaggar & Associates to help it manage FRAND cases and complex patent suits – where both firms’ expertise intersects. The technically versatile Archana Shanker leads the patent department. During more than 25 years in intellectual property she has racked up quite a résumé  – and is now representing Monsanto at the Supreme Court in one of the biggest IP cases nationwide. After 40 years of representing global conglomerates in landmark IP cases, eminent litigator Pravin Anand has earned a stellar reputation both at home and abroad. He has recently achieved yet another milestone success, winning India’s first-ever SEP infringement decision for Philips after a drawn-out battle lasting almost 10 years. The firm is equally outstanding on the non-contentious side. With biotech specialist Neeti Wilson at the helm, clients can rest assured that their patents will be drafted to the very highest standards.

Chadha & Chadha Intellectual Property Law Firm 

Chadha & Chadha provides high-end professional services in all aspects of intellectual property, administered by “a young and knowledgeable team that is service-oriented and collegiate”. “Efficient and trustworthy”, the firm offers practical and tailored advice; one client commented: “I would recommend it without hesitation for patent work.” The patent agency is beloved by its clients, which is unsurprising given its remarkable 98% patent prosecution success rate. Chadha & Chadha is home to 39 patent attorneys, agents and engineers who ply their trade from 10 different offices. It recently welcomed six new associates and some large new clients, including L’Oréal and Safran. As helmsman of the patent prosecution and disputes teams, Tarun Gandhi debuts in the IAM Patent 1000 2019 riding on a wave of effusive market praise. “Tarun understands how to partner with global companies and the attorneys that support them, so working with him is smooth and seamless. He is extremely responsive and gives thoughtful, nuanced advice that recognises the interests and values of the biotech and pharmaceutical industries.” The “energetic and positive” Chetan Chadha, who takes charge of the firm’s international practice, is the ideal choice for those looking for IP services in the electronics, telecoms and IT sectors.

De Penning & De Penning

The oldest IP boutique in India, Chennai-based De Penning & De Penning remains an important player in patent prosecution. Since founder George Alfred De Penning filed India’s first patent in 1856, the firm has been constantly refining its IP services and expanding its Indian reach to encompass New Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai. The exceedingly knowledgeable David Solomon caters to a broad range of companies. With a background in engineering and over two decades’ experience in IP law, he particularly excels in drafting and prosecuting mechanical, automotive, software, telecommunication and pharmaceutical patents.

K&S Partners

Having set up shop as a three-member IP boutique 25 years ago, K&S has since blossomed into an impressive IP hub that is “internationally well-known for its patent prosecution practice”. Home to over 100 customer-centric professionals who “promptly adapt to meet any increase in patent demand and bandwidth”, the largest filer of Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) applications in India also enforces IP rights in neighbouring countries. The partnership is a first choice for large multinationals of the calibre of L’Oréal, Noboru KANEKO and Eli Lilly. In the biotech space, patent practice commander Ravi Bhola stands out for his in-house experience – as does Deepa Kachroo Tiku, who possesses a unique background in research, science and law. On the pharmaceutical front, Amrish Tiwari is a wizard of patent prosecution and enforcement before the High Court of Delhi and the Supreme Court of India, where leader of K&S’s patent and design litigation practice Sanjeev Kumar Tiwari also makes regular successful appearances.

Khaitan & Co

Full-service law firm Khaitan & Co stands out for its holistic IP advice, which draws on the firm’s other practice areas to complement its extensive IP offering. With quality over quantity as its motto, the patent practice’s 15 technically savvy core members go above and beyond to satisfy the needs of their diverse clientele, including  the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) and Reliance Industries. The firm’s “responsive and efficient service” translates into a smooth client experience, which lawyer and electrical engineer Adheesh Nargolkar is particularly well known for providing. Clients are keen to highlight his personable nature. “If any issue emerges, I trust him to talk to me straight away. He talked a good talk when we met and has not let me down ever since.” “Adheesh always replies within minutes, despite inconvenient time differences. His service is extremely valuable.”

Khurana & Khurana, Advocates and IP Attorneys

In little over a decade, Khurana & Khurana has managed to plant its flag in eight Indian cities and six different Asian countries. With 80 technical experts who cover virtually every area, the firm is well qualified to offer “sound advice and highly attentive service” to clients from all industries. Its forte is patent prosecution, with corporate giants including Cadence and Huawei queueing up to access its filing services, although its technically diverse litigation practice is gathering some notable clients too. Software expert Tarun Khurana provides “delightful work” on both contentious and non-contentious matters. His 15 years of experience in core technology and higher education stand him in good stead to advise leading companies on their most intractable IP problems.

Krishna & Saurastri Associates LLP

Krishna & Saurastri has 60 years’ experience of dispensing excellent counsel to domestic and international companies across the full spectrum of IP matters. The firm’s principal strength lies in patent prosecution and opposition proceedings, but its practitioners are also adept at drafting – especially in the life sciences and engineering fields. Krishna & Saurastri’s IP transactional capabilities are vested in its commercial practice, which is located in the firm’s Mumbai headquarters. Supported by advanced IT systems and fully staffed branch offices in four other cities, the outfit exercises complete control over the quality of the work it produces. It also provides excellent value for money – which attracts myriad clients from government agencies, research institutions and universities. Senior partner Manish Saurastri specialises in developing outstanding prosecution strategy. He leverages over two decades’ experience to ensure that IP owners will find their rights protected wherever they go, from the patent office to the Supreme Court.

Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan 

Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan has the highest number of ranked individuals in this chapter – which, along with its multiple endorsement by domestic and international peers, is a testament to its sublime patent prosecution services. “It is a highly professional organisation with a team that goes into the most minute details, explaining their views with justification whilst suggesting and advising amendments to drafts.” The firm offers great scientific capability, an excellent knowledge of intellectual property and a keen instinct for commercial considerations: “its service is outstanding, and contact with its practitioners is very useful for training our in-house scientists and senior leaders.” “A top-notch law firm in India and beyond, it has the most knowledgeable experts, who give their best to every project. I don’t remember ever having a query that was not resolved. We truly value its dedication to clients.” With an excellent understanding of the Indian IP space and good international exposure, the firm is cost-effective compared to others of similar calibre. The team prides itself on never having missed a major deadline, and works seamlessly with in-house personnel. Filing, prosecution, national phase applications and infringement advisory all fall within the full-service outfit’s remit, but original drafting is its most distinguished feature: Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan is one of the few Indian firms drafting international patents that are filed overseas following US and PCT guidelines. Founder and name partner Varadachari Lakshmikumaran, who oversees the practice, is the firm’s key litigator and has become a familiar face in the courtroom after three decades representing multinationals and Indian corporates in high-profile lawsuits. Principal partner Parthasarathy R is also a formidable litigator. He brings high-level experience in various Indian government positions to the table. Biochemistry maven Malathi Lakshmikumaran is the shining star of the firm’s prosecution group. Her technical knowledge is unquestionable; she has published extensively over the past 30 years, and has more than 100 original contributions to the field in her name. Prashant Phillips and Ankur Garg are new to the rankings this year. Phillips is a versatile drafter with expertise in software, telecoms, electrical engineering and electronics patents; Garg operates in similar technical areas, but also boasts a niche in wind energy which adds an extra dimension to his practice.

Lall & Sethi

Lall & Sethi is culturally sensitive to jurisdictional differences across South Asia, which means that its IP work is always ideally tailored to the context in which it is required. The firm’s patent attorneys are dedicated to the drafting and prosecution of patents across every technical area, and are ably supported by a top-grade IP management system and organisational structure. Head of patents Anju Khanna is a name for the address book.

Legasis Partners

Working from five offices spread across four cities, full-service law firm Legasis Partners supports its clients with aplomb in every type of patent matter. The partnership’s prolific practitioners have been drafting and prosecuting for more than a decade, in which time they have filed more than 2,000 patent applications in 68 jurisdictions. Boasting a patent team crammed with a diverse range of technical experts, Legasis is ever-ready to handle inventions in every technical field. Managing partner Suhas Tuljapurkar and senior vice president of IP rights Amit Koshal are best placed to assist interested parties.

LexOrbis 

“In a very short space of time, the firm has emerged as a top leader in the Indian IP space.” One of the country’s most highly recommended and highly rated full-service IP firms, LexOrbis provides exemplary service that delivers punctual and outstanding results. This market leader in drafting counts giants like Samsung, Ericsson, Philip Morris International and the Indian Oil Corporation Ltd among its clientele. It also has outstanding contentious acumen, demonstrated by its role in one of the most closely followed legal disputes in India this year: representing Nuziveedu Seeds Ltd in a patent validity suit against Monsanto before the Supreme Court – a rarity, since India’s highest court does not usually hear IP cases. Managing partner Manisha Singh is unusually positioned as an IP drafter and enforcer. Endorsed for her “good quality work, excellent communication skills and timely services”, the “energetic leader” possesses a two-decade-deep well of contentious and non-contentious experiences from which to draw.

Obhan & Associates 

In just 12 years, founder Essenese Obhan has steered his eponymous outfit Obhan & Associates to an enviable position in the Indian IP market, establishing a fantastic reputation for “proactive guidance” and “consistently high-quality work” in the process. Known for its deep expertise, the full-service law firm is often tasked with high-value patent litigation suits. By way of example, it is involved in Nuziveedu Seeds Ltd’s ground-breaking battle against Monsanto before the Supreme Court, a precedent-setting matter valued at $57 million. Its non-contentious quality is demonstrated by the fact that massive corporations, including TATA Chemicals Ltd and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, entrust their patent portfolios to the firm’s practitioners. These astonishing achievements are largely down to one “very talented IP professional”. A mechanical engineer and lawyer by training, Obhan also has substantial experience in the pharmaceutical, software and telecoms sectors. He is a man for all seasons, able to operate adroitly in any IP-related setting.

Rahul Chaudhry & Partners 

Rahul Chaudhry & Partners may have changed its name recently, but its meticulous approach to non-contentious patent work remains intact. Formerly known as Lall, Lahiri & Salhotra, the IP boutique boasts superb drafting capabilities, which are sustained by its experienced team of 25 with extensive technical expertise in the engineering, chemistry and biotech fields. When not fighting tooth and nail at the patent office to assert the IP rights of their clients, the firm’s patent agents take special care to file ironclad applications for protection both domestically and internationally. With the recent switch to a completely automated IP management system now complete, the firm promises even higher quality strategic solutions to all IP matters. Managing partner Rahul Chaudhry is a client magnet; a practitioner of immense ability whose patrons trust him implicitly to deliver the goods.

Remfry & Sagar

As Remfry & Sagar approaches its 200th year, it continues to maintain an imposing presence in the Indian IP scene. After bolstering staff numbers by 20% in the past year, the full-service outfit opened a new branch in Bengaluru to help it to better serve its 8,000 clients across 70 countries. Its patent prosecution and litigation offerings both receive the highest praise from their loyal following of multinationals. “The firm consistently produces excellent and reliable work. We’ve been collaborating for more than 15 years and there are no surprises in timeliness and cost.” “The practice has good oversight of junior associates and a proactive work ethic. In the same vein, its work quality is always high – practitioners provide a detailed explanation of what needs to be done and when, and do a good job of explaining things up front, which allows us to make reasoned decisions. It is much more consistent than what I’ve seen at other Indian firms.” Not only does India’s oldest IP firm work for top-dollar clients including Google, Alibaba and Accenture, but it is actively involved in developing the country’s IP policy as a key partner of the government’s legal initiatives. Known especially for his trademark prowess, managing partner Ashwin Julka also adds value to every patent matter he touches by dint of his 20 years’ legal experience. Head of life sciences Ranjna Mehta-Dutt prosecutes pharmaceutical, biotech and chemical patents with flair – when she is not busy protecting plant varieties before the National Biodiversity Authority. She is currently serving as vice president of the Indian chapter of the Asian Patent Attorneys Association. Ascending to the apex of the litigation and transactions table this year, Pankaj Soni comes highly recommended by the market. “He is excellent at managing his team, conversant in a wide range of technologies, and extremely responsive to any questions or concerns.” Armed with experience gained representing clients on the US federal court circuit, he is the only individual in this chapter to be admitted to practise in the United States.

RK Dewan & Co 

Equally strong domestically and internationally, RK Dewan & Co is a popular choice for Fortune 500 companies, Indian businesses and independent inventors alike. Its narrative this year has been one of continuous expansion: 15 new patent associates joined the 60-strong patent team, a new office in Bangalore opened its doors and the Chinese outpost in Dalian celebrated its first anniversary. Amidst an increase in incoming work from Israel and China, the partnership remains a popular choice among domestic clients, which still provide around 70% of its work. The firm handles a diverse range of patent matters. It specialises in filing and prosecuting applications at the Indian Patent Office, drafting under PCT guidelines in more than 125 countries and litigating in courts across India. Despite its impressive workload, clients remain highly satisfied. “I appreciate its professional approach; practitioners respond very quickly with very accurate, complete and precise information. They also do not skimp on sending communications and reminders to keep us fully updated.” “I value the personal connections they have made with us.” “They impress us with their knowledge of biotechnology, as well as their rare level of pragmatism.” Trial lawyer Mohan Dewan is a master of all trades. From litigating complex patent infringement suits at the Delhi High Court to drafting and prosecuting, there is no limit to his ability. His colleague Niti Dewan is also a qualified medical doctor. Together, they are busy managing the patent portfolio of Reliance Industries Limited, as well as prosecuting patents on behalf of large conglomerates including Tata Consultancy Services and Mahindra Group. The formidable duo “have exceptional technical knowledge, and really take the time to prepare the best work product for their clients – they are very professional, competent and responsive”. Cambridge-educated Disha Dewan is a relentless litigator, often to be found in the Delhi District Court. She is currently busy representing Adventure India and Bilcare Ltd in key patent infringement suits.

S Majumdar & Co

In the 20 years since its founding, S Majumdar & Co has grown into a dependable IP boutique with a rock-solid reputation for never letting its patrons down. Based in five strategically chosen cities, the firm’s 40 practitioners are always available to clients for patent prosecution, opposition, litigation and transactional proceedings. Specialising in the fields of pharmaceuticals and chemistry, founder Subhatosh Majumdar leads the legal team. He is actively involved in the Indian government’s attempts to raise awareness of intellectual property among business owners, and gives his time generously to the cause of promoting good patent practice.

Singh & Singh 

A familiar name in the Indian litigation and transactional spheres, Singh & Singh has developed “extensive litigation experience and a specialised understanding of patent law, which helps it to handle complex and cutting-edge legal issues” in the Delhi High Court and the Supreme Court of India. The “valuable advice” that the “trustworthy and dependable” IP boutique provides is “a great comfort” to domestic and foreign multinationals seeking sterling rights protection in the courtroom and at the drafting desk. The outfit’s 20-strong ensemble enforces patents across a range of industries on behalf of the likes of TLM Ericsson, Dolby International AB and Reliance Life Sciences. Saya Choudhary and Bitika Sharma are the stars of the show. A tenacious litigator and the go-to person for SEP infringement litigation in India, Choudhary has her clients’ “utmost respect” for her stellar track record – she has handled multiple landmark cases over the course of her career. High-profile matters are handled with ease by Sharma too, who makes her debut in the IAM Patent 1000 this year. A chemistry expert, she is currently engaged in enforcing biotech patents for Monsanto Technology LLC at the Supreme Court.

SKS Law Associates

New Delhi-based SKS Law Associates is home to a much-admired patent practice that is particularly renowned for its commercially aware, honest advice. The firm excels, especially when drafting and filing patent applications, but is also adept at regulatory matters and licensing agreement negotiations. The team consists of a group of highly specialised technical experts trained in the veterinary and pharmaceutical sciences, who work alongside legal masterminds able to swiftly navigate multiple courtroom matters simultaneously. Founder Sunita Sreedharan powers the side onwards. The former captain of Anand and Anand’s life sciences group holds an LLM in IP law from George Washington University Law School, and is trusted to advise the government on agriculture-related issues.

SS Rana & Co

Home to a group of “very responsive, accurate and competent attorneys”, SS Rana & Co helps its clients to manage their IP issues superbly from its headquarters in New Delhi and its six other Indian branch offices. As a registered advocate-on-record with the Supreme Court, the ISO 9001/27001-certified IP and corporate law firm can also take on contentious cases with ease. Managing partner Vikrant Rana is a good first port of call.

Subramaniam & Associates

Subramaniam & Associates has made quite a name for itself over the last two decades. Peers are quick to acknowledge its quality and versatility, which comes by virtue of the fact that the firm’s patent agents are almost all dual-qualified – and therefore well positioned to understand IP matters from all angles. The partnership is particularly known for its biotech and pharmaceuticals prosecution expertise, with the “very respected” Hariharan Subramaniam flying the flag. Armed with a background in medicine, the life sciences, physics and chemistry, he has opened up new frontiers in Indian IP policy. Having practised for four decades, he is now a domestically revered figure, who currently presides over the Indian chapter of the Asian Patent Attorneys Association as president.

Other recommended experts

Mechanical engineer Samaresh Chakraborty of DP Ahuja & Co breaks into the IAM Patent 1000 rankings this year. The patent department head is a measured advocate and seasoned litigator, who is often to be found before the Calcutta High Court. Calab Gabriel of Lex IP Care remains an energetic whirlwind, a source of sage advice on patent strategy. Since founding Groser & Groser in 1994, the esteemed Francis Stewart Groser has kept a watchful eye on developments in the field, while prosecuting and drafting chemistry and electronics patents with a gimlet eye. Over at Rajeshwari & Associates, founder Rajeshwari Hariharan translates her training in biotech and law into fantastic litigation strategies – which are gratefully received by a host of generic pharmaceutical players. Although known primarily for his copyright practice, Saikrishna Rajagopal of Saikrishna & Associates has been making waves in the patent litigation space of late. “He’s a good counsel who understands matters quickly and cross-checks with the court expertly, speaking with gravitas and putting arguments across succinctly”, in the words of one competitor. Experienced IP attorney and patent agent Vivek Singh heads up the patent filing and prosecution practice at Sagacious Research. His “vast working experience concerning patents, impressive style and leadership qualities” draw plenty of praise from his clients. “He is always ready to provide the most pertinent, innovative, long-term and cost-effective solutions to IP issues. Not only does he have the greatest work ethic, but he is also cooperative, insightful, and easily approachable in times of need.”

Individuals: litigation and transactions

Individuals: prosecution

  • Ravi Bhola - K&S Partners
  • Chetan Chadha - Chadha & Chadha Intellectual Property Law Firm
  • Samaresh Chakraborty - DP Ahuja & Co
  • Rahul Chaudhry - Rahul Chaudhry & Partners
  • Disha Dewan - RK Dewan & Co
  • Mohan Dewan - RK Dewan & Co 
  • Niti Dewan - RK Dewan & Co 
  • Calab Gabriel - Lex IP Care
  • Tarun Gandhi - Chadha & Chadha Intellectual Property Law Firm
  • Ankur Garg - Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan
  • Francis Stewart Groser - Groser & Groser
  • Ashwin Julka - Remfry & Sagar
  • Tarun Khurana - Khurana & Khurana, Advocates and IP Attorneys
  • Malathi Lakshmikumaran - Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan
  • Subhatosh Majumdar - S Majumdar & Co
  • Ranjna Mehta-Dutt - Remfry & Sagar
  • Adheesh Nargolkar - Khaitan & Co
  • Essenese Obhan - Obhan & Associates 
  • Prashant Phillips - Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan
  • Manish Saurastri - Krishna & Saurastri Associates LLP
  • Archana Shanker - Anand and Anand 
  • Manisha Singh - LexOrbis 
  • Vivek Singh - Sagacious Research
  • David Solomon - De Penning & De Penning
  • Sunita K Sreedharan - SKS Law Associates
  • Hariharan Subramaniam - Subramaniam & Associates
  • Deepa Tiku - K&S Partners
  • Amrish Tiwari - K&S Partners
  • Neeti Wilson - Anand and Anand