IAM Research

The Patent 1000 focuses exclusively on patent practice and has firmly established itself as the definitive 'go-to' resource for those seeking world-class legal patent expertise.

Gold - Firms: prosecution

“Aoyama & Partners is a leading full-service patent firm in Osaka. Their advice is practical and service is of very high quality – very responsive, with fast turnaround.” “I have always been of the opinion that they are one of the best, if not the best patent law firm in Japan. What we value most is their dedication, professionalism, kindness and in particular, their language skills.” On the back of such effusive feedback from foreign associates on its “very strong patent practice”, Aoyama & Partners rises to the gold tier of the prosecution table. Home to an ever-growing army of patent attorneys – the side recently added another nine to a total of over 100 – group is kept busy prosecuting a rising volume of Japanese patent applications. Making his way up the prosecution table, Hiroshi Tamura wins accolades for being “a very good strategist” and “an excellent communicator who understands the deepest technical and legal nuances.” He is increasingly involved in advising on multi-jurisdictional oppositions involving medical devices. “Hiroshi is indeed outstanding: his English is almost as good as his Japanese. He is a very good engineer, with excellent technical skills. And he works for his clients with an extremely high level of dedication. In several instances, he has worked until and after the middle of the night to provide highly-valued contributions that culminated in us winning the case.” “Hiroshi is the best Japanese lawyer I have ever met. Sometimes, he provides ideas that we have not even thought of. He is truly experienced in overseas cases.” Fellow co-CEO Norihito Yamao is another patent expert, especially in the fields of metallurgy, materials science and solid-state chemistry. “Undoubtedly a leading figure in patents in Japan, Norihito provides very sound legal advice and we are highly impressed.” Sanae Genba and Masayuki Okunishi, experts in the fields of chemistry and material processing respectively, deserve a mention too. “An extremely hard working and knowledgeable lawyer, Sanae facilitates productive meetings with Japanese clients, while Masayuki assists in uncovering difficult-to-find Japanese prior art and providing excellent validity analyses.”

Firm Profile

AOYAMA & PARTNERS was founded in 1965. From its early days, the firm has worked on many international cases thanks to its strong capabilities in the pharmaceutical field, and has been involved in numerous IP lawsuits both inside and outside Japan. The AOYAMA of today is a general patent attorneys’ firm whose members are specialists in a range of technical areas, including mechanical, electrical, chemical and life sciences, as well as in the design and trademark fields. This enables us to respond to the diverse needs of our clients. Using our own proprietary computer systems, developed in conjunction with a software company, we engage in painstaking deadline management, earning a great deal of trust from our clients.

Experience and specialisms

We are one of Japan’s largest IP law firms, with a total staff of approximately 300 professionals, including over 100 patent attorneys. We cover all sectors ranging from mechanical, electrical, chemical and life sciences, to designs and trademarks. This give us the capabilities to tackle all manner of IP-related tasks, including applications, trials and litigation, both inside and outside Japan, in partnership with IP law firms in various countries. We also provide comprehensive IP services, including supporting universities and SMEs, doing research and making patent appraisals.

International experience

AOYAMA has a huge wealth of experience through our handling of patent applications in approximately 150 countries and being engaged in numerous lawsuits (several hundred Japanese lawsuits and about 100 international lawsuits). We have been involved in many cutting-edge cases since our firm was established, while expanding our areas of expertise from life sciences technologies (which are prone to international disputes) to chemistry, electro-mechanics and IT technologies. In 2017 our legal department for handling litigation, disputes and IP consultation (among other things) was re-organised and keeps extending its capabilities.

Hand-picked teams

We generally assign at least one patent attorney to each client to act as liaison, to ensure that we can provide a service that has a personal touch and is consistent. We always back up our contact people with teams that are made up of a flexible mix of personnel so that we can best serve our clients taking account of each case’s particular circumstances. Our team approach enables us to handle urgent tasks and international IP litigations better, and it even allows to provide our clients with support for large-scale projects, such as ventures into new fields of technologies. A particular case may cross over into multiple technological fields, and it is at times like these that AOYAMA’s strength can really make a big difference as we have the capability to form cross-disciplinary teams to handle such cases. As a rule, we form teams with a mix of attorneys from different generations as we find that doing so enables us to build long-term and seamless relationships with our clients.

Highly secured docketing system

Based on the knowledge and know-how we have built during our 50 years-plus of experience, we have built and introduced a uniquely customised docketing system. All of our procedures, deadlines, progress and more are recorded in the system by formality specialists not only for our Japanese cases, but also for all the countries where we file applications. As all procedures are docketed in the system, they can be listed and printed out in a timely fashion to provide reminders to all members involved in each case. We have a business continuity site at a remote location from our offices, enabling us to quickly and easily recover in the wake of a disaster.

Worldwide network

We boast a global network consisting of many general law firms and IP law firms from the world over that we have developed over 50+ years. We have the capability to rapidly obtain IP information from all over the world, and immediately reflect such information in our daily work. We can provide our clients with work that is up to date and top quality with respect to law changes and new procedures both inside and outside Japan.

Get unlimited access to all IAM content