South Korea: Foreign

Firms

Covington & Burling LLP

Covington’s Seoul bureau renders 360-degree commercial support to clients. The local team is made up of US and UK-qualified lawyers, but many of these have Korean backgrounds and speak the language, so communication is never less than crystal clear. Liaising closely with colleagues in the United States – and particularly a DC-based contingent of specialist International Trade Commission (ITC) litigators – the firm does sterling work navigating Korean patrons through US patent infringement actions to a successful close. Scott Schrader is a key liaison for those interested. An experienced advocate, he handles must-win, technically complex patent suits with sangfroid.

Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP 

Finnegan has an expansive footprint in Asia, with bases in Seoul, Shanghai, Taipei and Tokyo. With all the trappings of a top IP boutique in the United States – where many consider it to be the best – it is in pole position to soothe Asian companies with US patent protection and litigation headaches. In Seoul, Charles Suh is the man in charge. A fluent Korean speaker, respected IP strategist and experienced US district court and ITC litigator, he is someone in whom total trust can be placed. Recently, he has been engaged in an ITC action against BLU Products and CT Miami acting on behalf of LG Electronics.

O’Melveny & Myers LLP

O’Melveny planted its flag in Seoul in 2012 when the Korean legal market opened its doors to foreign firms. The move made a great deal of sense given the outfit’s strong ties to local companies, including Samsung Electronics. Back in the United States, IAM Patent 1000-listed Ryan Yagura of the Los Angeles office has been representing the chaebol in some exciting actions; greatly narrowing the scope of Image Processing Technology’s suit against the company – reducing the case from 26 asserted claims to just five – was a highlight.

Paul Hastings LLP

The Paul Hastings brand is a strong one in Korea and has been for 20-plus years. The firm leapt at the chance to establish its brick-and-mortar presence as soon as the opportunity arose and has become even more intimate with its local clients since then. Notable also is the extent to which the firm assists non-Korean companies in doing business on the peninsular. From an IP perspective, the backbone of the practice consists of US patent litigation representation for Koreans across all forums, including the US Patent and Trademark Office’s Patent Trial and Appeal board, where Paul Hastings has carved out a reputation for brilliance. For a local contact, look to Jong Han Kim, an expert in international litigation regularly consulted by Samsung Electronics and SK hynix.

Ropes & Gray LLP

Ropes & Gray has the distinction of being the first foreign legal consultant office to open in Korea and its immediate entrance on the local stage pays testament to its unwavering commitment to its Korean clients. Intellectual property is a central plank of the Seoul office’s practice; with local experts acting in harmony with US trial lawyers, the set makes great things happen in do-or-die patent actions. Seoul founding partner David Chun specialises in high-tech and IP litigation – the more complex the better. He can now be found in the firm’s Silicon Valley office.

Other recommended experts

Mayer Brown’s Jamie Beaber is a lodestar for Korean companies litigating in the ITC. Thriving under time and commercial pressure, and utterly committed to his clients, he has led on dozens of Section 337 investigations and cultivated an outstanding track record of results.

Individuals

  • Jamie B Beaber - Mayer Brown LLP
  • David Chun - Ropes & Gray LLP
  • Jong Han Kim - Paul Hastings LLP
  • Scott Schrader - Covington & Burling LLP
  • Charles H Suh - Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP