ITOH International Patent Office

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.

Silver - Firms: prosecution

From its humble beginnings over half a century ago as a specialist destination for electrical and mechanical patents, ITOH International Patent Office has transformed into a full-service offering covering cutting-edge technologies, from AI to fintech. With an extensive team of 61 patent attorneys, including 14 IP litigation attorneys, along with a handful of patent attorneys qualified in the United States, China and Korea, the Tokyo-based firm is always on standby to meet the IP needs of clients. President Tadashige Itoh is a name for the address book.

Firm Profile

ITOH International Patent Office, established in 1967, specialises in all IP matters. Located in the centre of Tokyo, ITOH comprises 230 staff members, including 61 Japanese patent attorneys (four of whom have passed the US Patent Bar exam), an attorney at law (of counsel), four US patent attorneys, three Chinese patent attorneys, two Korean patent attorneys, 40 patent engineers and 130 administrative staff members.

In recent years, as Japan has been concentrating on strengthening IP rights to increase the country’s prosperity and as the world’s IP systems have become more harmonised, the global protection of intellectual property has become much more important. In the midst of this change, all members of ITOH continue to strive to offer high-quality and prompt services that completely satisfy our international clients’ needs.

In 2020, as well as in previous years, ITOH was ranked as one of the top three IP firms in terms of number of Japanese patent filings.

Areas of specialism

With respect to patents, ITOH has specialised knowledge in all technical fields, with a focus on artificial intelligence (including machine learning), the Internet of Things, quantum computing, information processing, image processing, fintech, materials-informatics, telecommunications (5G, beyond 5G), digital healthcare, biotechnology, automatic control systems, semiconductors, computers, medical, materials, material-informatics, chemistry and others.

ITOH also has great expertise in designs and trademarks. One team at the firm handles design issues exclusively, while another handles trademark cases exclusively.

International experience

Since its inception, ITOH has handled not only domestic applications, but also numerous applications filed by Japan-based clients in other countries across the globe. ITOH’s policy is to have all foreign specifications in English, Chinese and Korean prepared by its in-house patent attorneys and technical specialists, who have extensive knowledge and experience of international patent practices.

ITOH can accurately translate English, Chinese and Korean language specifications into Japanese for filing and prosecuting patent applications in order to secure enforceable patent rights in Japan. ITOH’s patent attorneys and technical specialists are fully versed and knowledgeable in Japanese patent prosecution, enforcement procedures and practices.

With a team of experts who can handle all technical fields, are always up to date on the latest developments in laws and regulations and can draw on knowledge gained through over 50 years of experience, ITOH is equipped to draft and prosecute effective patent applications in order to ensure enforceable patent rights in Japan. As a rule, ITOH conducts interviews with inventors in order to gain a full understanding of their inventions and accurately determine the objectives of clients.

Eight of ITOH’s patent attorneys have previously worked as examiners at the Japanese Patent Office (JPO), giving great insight into the JPO’s practice. In addition, ITOH strategically conducts interviews with JPO examiners so as to avoid file wrapper estoppel issues. Furthermore, 10 of ITOH’s patent attorneys have previously worked in the IP departments of leading Japanese companies such as Sumitomo Heavy Industries, Toshiba, Fujitsu, Hitachi, Ebara and others. This in turn gives ITOH the edge in terms of understanding the IP strategies of companies.

Using their extensive experience and thorough legal and technical knowledge gained over the years, the practitioners at ITOH handle not only patent applications, but also trials before the JPO, lawsuits before the IP High Court against JPO appeal decisions, infringement litigation and expert opinions.

Get unlimited access to all IAM content