Japan: Foreign

Firms: litigation and transactions

  • Highly recommended
  • Hogan Lovells
  • Morrison & Foerster LLP
  • Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP
  • Recommended
  • Baker McKenzie (Gaikokuho Joint Enterprise)
  • Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP 
  • Foley & Lardner LLP
  • Jones Day
  • Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP
  • Paul Hastings Foreign Law Joint Enterprise

Baker McKenzie (Gaikokuho Joint Enterprise)

A crucial cog in the firm’s sprawling global network, Baker McKenzie’s Japan office is home to 13 foreign-registered and domestic lawyers, foreign counsels and benrishi (patent attorneys) capable of taking on all manner of IP briefs. The firm is known for leveraging its close relationship with large local patent firms to to provide the very finest contentious and commercial representation to major global industry leaders. Pharmaceutical and healthcare patrons are especially eager to enlist the outfit’s sparkling courtroom and licensing prowess, the quality of which is underpinned by practitioners’ deep technical quality and ability to make the right strategic and cultural judgements every time.  Driven solely by his clients’ business interests, Kei Matsumoto is a cross-border specialist whose ability to operate seamlessly in both US and Japanese cultural settings makes him ideal for global mandates.

Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP 

Finnegan first set foot on Japanese soil 30 years ago and has since then built up an illustrious set of domestic clients who rely on the firm for myriad IP matters. The compact but mighty squad eagerly prosecutes patents and counsels clients within Japan, while collaborating seamlessly with its elaborate overseas network for complex litigation cases. Naoki Yoshida bears aloft the team’s standard. Dividing his time between the Tokyo and Silicon Valley offices, the “well-respected” mechanical and electrical engineer has an ardent Japanese following of clients who value his ample US patent litigation experience. He and Atlanta counterpart John D Livingstone are renowned masters of Hatch-Waxman litigation and US International Trade Commission (ITC) proceedings. They are currently busy representing Kaken Pharmaceutical Co against more than 15 competitors attempting to market generic versions of its anti-fungal drug project, JUBLIA – a project they took on after successfully deterring a generic pharmaceutical company from entering the market before Kissei Pharmaceutical’s patent rights for RAPAFLO expires.

Foley & Lardner LLP

Foley & Lardner has been navigating the local IP, legal and business landscapes on behalf of top US and Japanese corporations in Tokyo since 2003. With a surfeit of dual-licensed, multilingual personnel on the ground, the office is able to cover high-stakes commercial transactions and complex litigation without breaking a sweat. Managing partner Etsuo Doi is a bridge between East and West. Due to his unique bilingual skills and bicultural work experience, the former eBay in-house counsel is well placed to offer the very best IP counsel to major Japanese rights holders.

Hogan Lovells

Hogan Lovells deservedly sits at the apex of our litigation and transactions tables, as its market feedback makes clear. “It is a premier firm which understands our business and responds to the reality we are facing. Not only does it bring a multinational perspective, but it consistently and reliably produces high-quality work.” Ever perceptive to cultural differences between jurisdictions and businesses, the team keeps a watchful eye on technical accuracy and always infuses its legal arguments with scientific knowledge. Such an approach is embodied by life sciences aficionado Frederick Ch’en, who holds a doctorate in medical sciences from Oxford University. One client is effusive in their praise. “Unlike most litigators in Japan, Frederick knows the science – there is no technology he cannot readily understand, which saves everyone a ton of time. Instead, he gets down to legal work immediately. His arguments are concise, accurate and easy for the lay person to comprehend. He also takes a very business-oriented approach and comes up with solutions that fly in reality. His timeliness, ready availability and willingness to work in advance are truly valued. He is my go-to patent attorney in Japan.” Ch’en is also comfortable acting in the transactional sphere, as shown by his work as part of a cross-border team dispensing commercial IP advice to eBay. His colleague Hiroto Imai makes his sophomore appearance in the IAM Patent 1000. As a patent attorney who has passed the Japanese bar, he combines his engineering education, Magic Circle legal training and two decades of IP experience to offer elite cross-cultural patent litigation.

Jones Day

Jones Day has been a fixture on the Japanese market for 30 years now and continues to go from strength to strength. Since its 2002 merger with domestic counterpart Showa Law Office, the firm has been able to boast rarified local legal capabilities and the ability to reach Japanese clients wherever they may be. In addition to its renowned full-service Tokyo offering, which serves corporations from all industries and jurisdictions, the outfit keeps a team experienced in US federal circuit and district court proceedings on standby to adroitly manage any contentious or transactional IP matters its global clients might face. After practising in Los Angeles for almost a decade, US litigator Maxwell Fox turned his attention to Japan. He is one of few US litigators fluent in Japanese and possesses a balanced practice, which covers both jurisdictions. Most recently, he has been providing sterling representation to Daikin Industries, Ltd and Daikin America, Inc in a patent infringement suit before the Delaware District Court. Another familiar face before US district courts is Shogo Asaji. Endorsed enthusiastically by his Japanese peers, the mechanical engineer earns a spot in the guide this year; he recently negotiated a settlement for Kyowa Hakko Kirin Company Ltd, in a key patent infringement suit regarding its POTELLIGENT therapeutic antibody technology.

Morrison & Foerster LLP

The largest international law firm in Japan has twice as many ranked individuals as its competitors, and for good reason. Morrison & Foerster offers its Japanese and overseas patrons the complete range of IP services (minus US prosecution), which are expertly carried out by an ensemble of 12 partners and 28 attorneys who collectively possess stunning expertise in contentious and transactional IP proceedings alike. The partnership’s intimate and long-term client relationships mean that it is often required to direct complex global litigation strategy and emerge victorious. Partner Max Olson ascends to the top tier of our litigation table this year, on the back of his various fantastic performances before the US ITC and district courts. Japanese-qualified lawyer Chie Yakura ably fulfils the needs of many global corporations, who depend on her local expertise to settle multi-jurisdictional IP litigation battles in Japanese courts. With two LLMs (from Columbia Law School and the LSE) as well as an LLB from Kyoto University, she is well versed in different areas of law and handles legally complex cases with ease. She recently settled a patent infringement action on behalf of Israeli advanced driver systems innovator Mobileye. MoFo is equally remarkable when it comes to transactional work. Captain of the technology transactions group Stuart Beraha has a proven track record in complex, multi-jurisdictional IP monetisation matters for the world’s leading industry players. He is known as an amiable practitioner who avoids unnecessary legalese. His colleague Masato Hayakawa is often busy working on a plethora of cross-border IP transactions. His experience practising in the firm’s San Francisco Office for several years adds an extra dimension to his cultural and commercial awareness.


Virginia-based Oblon recently celebrated its 10th anniversary in Tokyo. Its client-centric patent prosecution, litigation and strategic services remain highly sought after, especially by high-flying Japanese corporations in the chemical and pharmaceutical sectors who appreciate the outfit’s sensitivity to cultural and judicial differences. One domestic client harbours no doubt as to the firm’s positive qualities. “They are very important to our company. Few firms in Japan fully understand how Japanese clients think, but they are very cooperative, and we rely on them heavily.” Life sciences litigator par excellence Yuki Onoe is a key link in the Oblon chain who rides a wave of fervent praise into the new prosecution table. “Her being Japanese is a huge advantage. Given her excellent understanding of the needs and intentions of Japanese companies, as well as the differences in culture, communication and ways of thinking between Japan and the United States, she frequently acts as a bridge to facilitate communication. She always rises to the challenge, regardless of the difficulty and complexity of the case, and responds with a precise and smooth analysis of US patent laws.”

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP

Full-service US outfit Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP set up shop in Toyko over two decades ago and has since built a fantastic reputation working across the full spectrum of legal work. The firm’s exceptional set of foreign-qualified attorneys at law and Japanese-qualified bengoshi are perpetually ready to engage and adept at quickly forming cross-border teams in order to tackle complex multi-jurisdictional patent disputes and transactions. It is small wonder that many prestigious domestic conglomerates bring their most intractable patent conundrums to the group.

Paul Hastings Foreign Law Joint Enterprise

Paul Hastings’ Tokyo office is strapped in for a busy year. The firm is set to be busy fending off adversaries on behalf of top-dollar US and Japanese clients, as well as advising them on their IP licensing strategies. Not only is the partnership fully equipped to practice before US federal, district and ITC courts, it also enjoys an exceptionally strong life sciences and technology practice that can leverage specialist patent expertise from anywhere in its stunning global network. Bilingual capability and bicultural experience are both hallmarks of the outfit’s Japanese team. Electrical engineer and attorney at law Hiroyuki Hagiwara brings a unique blend of international experience to the table, gained both in private practice at Ropes & Gray and in-house at Hitachi. Fantastic market feedback propels the “very talented” practitioner to the top of the tree. Hagiwara and his right-hand man, Kyotaro Ozawa, are currently busy representing and advising mobile gaming company Gree in patent matters both contentious and non-contentious. US-qualified Ozawa is an enthusiastic scholar of applied and computational mathematical sciences, who joined the firm after a stint at Ropes & Gray’s New York office.

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP

Tokyo’s sole litigation-only US firm has a name synonymous with quality and a truly imposing presence in the courtroom. Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP is frequently involved in the biggest, most sensational cases worldwide before the ITC and US district courts because blue-chip corporations know they can rely upon the outfit to light the way to outright triumph or a favourable settlement. The firm’s client list is indeed impressive and includes such prestigious names as Mitsubishi Electric, Qualcomm Inc, Samsung Electronics and Sony. Tokyo-based partner Ryan Goldstein is a fearless courtroom sharpshooter who excels in patent litigation in the electronics, automotives and consumer goods arenas. Clients are effusive in their praise. “Besides developing and managing a small but very strong team for patent litigation, he always thoroughly understands litigation strategy and implements the best action plans.” “He speaks Japanese fluently and has an office in the country, so we can communicate easily with him. This is very important for us, especially when the case is especially complicated.” Having joined the team after almost two decades at Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP, partner York Faulkner is ideally poised to tackle US litigation trials in the life sciences space.

Individuals: litigation

  • Ryan S Goldstein - Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP
  • Hiroyuki Hagiwara - Paul Hastings Foreign Law Joint Enterprise
  • Max Olson - Morrison & Foerster LLP
  • Shogo Asaji - Jones Day
  • Frederick Ch'en - Hogan Lovells
  • Maxwell A Fox - Jones Day
  • Hiroto Imai - Hogan Lovells
  • Kyotaro Ozawa - Paul Hastings Foreign Law Joint Enterprise
  • Chie Yakura - Morrison & Foerster LLP
  • Naoki Yoshida - Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP

Individuals: prosecution

  • Yuki Onoe - Oblon
  • Naoki Yoshida - Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP

Individuals: transactions

  • Stuart S Beraha - Morrison & Foerster LLP
  • Frederick Ch'en - Hogan Lovells
  • Etsuo Doi - Foley & Lardner LLP
  • Maxwell A Fox - Jones Day
  • Hiroyuki Hagiwara - Paul Hastings Foreign Law Joint Enterprise
  • Masato Hayakawa - Morrison & Foerster LLP
  • Kei Matsumoto - Baker McKenzie (Gaikokuho Joint Enterprise)