Masayuki Shobayashi

Ranked in Japan: Domestic
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Thanks to founder Masayuki Shobayashi’s close connections to the JPO, Shobayashi International Patent & Trademark Office boasts the highest number of former JPO personnel – 24 – among local patent firms. Working alongside the team of 67 patent attorneys spread across 11 departments, these seasoned patent practitioners navigate the Japanese patent landscape with ease. The patent firm was also recently the first in the country to be welcomed as a WIPO GREEN partner. While Shobayashi has his eye on expanding IP portfolios and asset management, former IBM in-house counsel Satoshi Watanabe and licensing group captain Hiro Takahori advise on IP transactions. Biochemist Yuichi Niiyama deserves a mention too: “Yuichi’s strong expertise in the healthcare industry gave me a very good impression when we worked together on a technical due diligence matter.”

Masayuki Shobayashi's Profile

Masayuki Shobayashi is the founder and president of eponymous IP law firm Shobayashi International Patent & Trademark Office (SIPTO).

Mr Shobayashi has served as a university professor and incumbent deputy chair for the Japan Patent Attorneys Association. He is also an author and academic authority on Japanese intellectual property with numerous publications on IP issues. Mr Shobayashi regularly lectures on law, technology and the Japanese Patent Bar.

Due to Mr Shobayashi’s close connection with the Japan Patent Office (JPO), SIPTO currently employs the highest number of former JPO employees (ie, judges, directors and patent examiners) in Japan. This ensures that SIPTO provides the highest level of expertise in IP law, unrivalled by any other IP firm in Japan.

SIPTO’s expertise also extends to IP searches, analysis and valuations, and the sale and purchase of IP rights. Mr Shobayashi handles one of Japan’s largest caseloads for IP due diligence on investments and IP valuations for finance (specifically for IP mortgage finance).

Mr Shobayashi focuses on expanding IP portfolios and asset management, IP valuation appraisals and the management and consulting practice of SIPTO. In addition to his clientele of national and international companies, he promotes and specialises IP rights for business models, providing routes of monetisation and protection for the next generation of entrepreneurs.

With a diverse focus and the highest level of expertise, Mr Shobayashi continually aims to spread this reputation throughout the global market, from sole entrepreneurs to international companies.

Firm Profile

Established in 1998 by Masayuki Shobayashi, Shobayashi International Patent & Trademark Office is one of the fastest-growing IP law firms in Japan. With approximately 300 employees – including 70 patent attorneys and 24 former Japan Patent Office deputy commissioners, administrative judges, executive chiefs, directors of examination and patent examiners – Shobayashi employs more former Japanese IP judiciary staff than any other IP firm in Japan, enabling it to provide the highest level of expertise in prosecution, research, litigation and legal advice. With 11 specialised departments in chemistry, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, mechanics, optics, electrical engineering, information technology, trademarks, designs, litigation and consulting on international IP protection, Shobayashi aims to provide tailored IP services for clients ranging from individual inventors to multinational companies seeking to create a commercial presence in the Japanese market.

Aiming to provide comprehensive services, Shobayashi has two offices in east Japan (Marunouchi and Ueno, Tokyo) and one in west Japan (Osaka), with the first international office in Nanjing, China. In addition, Shobayashi continues to expand its services with an experienced Chinese patent attorney and US and UK attorneys to provide legal advice on global expansion into Asia, North America or Europe.

In 2011 Shobayashi further expanded its services with a specialised research department to provide IP analysis services for companies and financial institutions. The firm’s IP judiciary expertise helps determine the most efficient path to patent grant, including conducting patent landscape analyses for technical trends and assessing the commercial strength of a client’s IP portfolio, running freedom-to-operate searches to determine the existence of potential infringing technology and patent invalidation searches for the potential existence of any technology or intellectual property that may invalidate a client’s intellectual property.

In 2012 Shobayashi established a licensing, valuation and IP transactions department, including a diverse team of IP analysts certified by the Association of IP Education (AIPE), tax accountants, chartered financial analysts (CFAs), foreign attorneys and former leaders of industry. A former licensing executive leads the licensing team with experience in generating over $200 million in annual royalties for electronic patents and the sale of an electronics IP portfolio at auction for $6.6 million. Employing most of the very few AIPE-certified IP analysts in Japan, Shobayashi is also one of only a few IP firms in Japan with the in-depth expertise to value individual intellectual property or entire IP portfolios by evaluating Big Data for technological trends, the market situation of competitors and the overall business environment. The consulting division combines the industry and market expertise of former general counsel of multinational corporations and the financial expertise of CFAs and accountants to detect problems and obstacles; provide countermeasures; identify mechanisms for business growth and monetisation; and propose IP strategies for global development and expansion, along with the utilisation of intellectual property to the client’s long-term advantage. Further, Shobayashi has successfully completed more than 200 IP due diligence exercises for licensing and M&A transactions, and IP advisory services in open innovation for entrepreneurs, as well as IP strategies for established companies.

Shobayashi’s distinct capabilities have led to acquiring an equally diverse clientele of automakers and auto-parts manufacturers, research companies, chemical manufacturers, private and national universities, food

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