IAM Patent 1000 insights

The firms that produce the most individual plaudits in IAM’s annual guide to the leading professionals

The Patent 1000 is IAM’s longest-running effort to identify and recognise leaders in the patent profession – specifically in private practice – on a truly global basis. Individuals working in law and patent attorney firms make up a huge proportion of the overall IP community, with every other part of the ecosystem – from corporate IP management to policy work and dealmaking – relying on the high volumes of prosecution, enforcement and transactional work that they handle.

Producing our annual qualitative analysis of each jurisdiction’s IP legal market is a monumental full-time task for our research department. The 2021 results were published just a few weeks ago, with extensive guides to more than 70 separate jurisdictions.

The Patent 1000 presents only those firms and individuals that deliver top-quality services. In many jurisdictions, it also includes a gold band featuring practitioners and groups that, based on market and client feedback, are at the very pinnacle of the profession.

While there is no substitute for the 360-degree view provided by the Patent 1000’s comprehensive jurisdiction chapters, this Special Report takes that data and looks at it through a unique lens. Specifically, we have asked which firms produced the highest number of ranked individuals across a selection of key patent jurisdictions.

A few caveats apply here. First, these are, by and large, the big players. We know well that there is plenty of leadership within smaller practices and the diversity of firms included in the Patent 1000 report is a testament to that. Second, we have included individuals ranked across all categories: prosecution, litigation and transactions. This means that firms capable of handling all types of work are more likely to feature prominently.

Warnings aside, all the featured practices are doing something right to achieve not only a collective ranking but also multiple plaudits for their top practitioners. They are therefore places where high-quality work and leadership allow individuals to stand out and earn recognition – and the market has taken note.

Here, we have considered the top five firms by Patent 1000 individual representation across a range of jurisdictions. In some cases, this number has varied where we judged it to make sense based on the stratification of particular markets.

The data is then supplemented by a roundtable discussion of law and patent attorney firm leadership featuring managing partners from 13 of these top firms.


The biggest Patent 1000 contingents from the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands

Gold-band prosecution firms dominate the list of the United Kingdom’s Patent 1000-ranked individuals, although litigation outfit Bristows also boasts a deep bench of leading professionals. The 150-member firm Hoffman Eitle is Germany’s top contributor of individual listings with an impressive 12 names, including practitioners featured across all three tables: infringement, prosecution/nullity and transactions. Litigation boutique HOYNG ROKH MONEGIER flexes its continental strength with a strong showing in Germany, plus the (tied) largest Patent 1000 contingent in both France and the Netherlands. Finally, Italy saw five individuals each honoured at four different firms – an equal number from the prosecution and litigation teams.

Figure 1. England

FirmRanked individuals
Carpmaels & Ransford16
Potter Clarkson15
Boult Wade Tennant LLP13
Marks & Clerk13
Mewburn Ellis LLP13

Figure 2. Germany

FirmRanked individuals
Hoffmann Eitle12
Vossius & Partner Patentanwälte Rechtsanwälte mbB11
Bardehle Pagenberg10
Hogan Lovells10

Figure 3. France

FirmRanked individuals
Plasseraud IP7

Figure 4. Netherlands

FirmRanked individuals
Arnold & Siedsma9
VO Patents & Trademarks6
De Vries & Metman5

Figure 5. Italy

FirmRanked individuals
Bird & Bird LLP5
Società Italiana Brevetti SpA5
Studio Torta SpA5
Trevisan & Cuonzo5


The biggest Patent 1000 contingents from Australia, China, India, Japan and South Korea

Maohua Huang heads China’s most decorated private practice IP department for red circle firm King & Wood Mallesons. In Japan, International Association for the Protection of Intellectual Property President Koichi Tsuji leads the country’s largest slate of Patent 1000 members at Nakamura & Partners, while South Korea’s private practice leaders are clustered in two storied firms: Kim & Chang and Lee & Ko. A trio of Indian IP specialist firms boast the deepest benches in that country. Meanwhile, in the fiercely competitive Australian market, prosecution shop FB Rice and litigation firm MinterEllison share the top spot with nine ranked professionals each.

Figure 6. China: domestic

FirmRanked individuals
King & Wood Mallesons7
Linda Liu & Partners5
Wanhuida Intellectual Property5
Fangda Partners4

Figure 7. Japan: domestic

FirmRanked individuals
Nakamura & Partners6
Abe, Ikubo & Katayama5
Anderson Mōri & Tomotsune5
Shiga International Patent Office4
TMI Associates4

Figure 8. South Korea

FirmRanked individuals
Kim & Chang11
Lee & Ko8

Figure 9. India

FirmRanked individuals
Anand and Anand5
K&S Partners5
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan5

Figure 10. Australia

FirmRanked individuals
FB Rice9
FPA Patent Attorneys8
Phillips Ormonde Fitzpatrick8
Corrs Chambers Westgarth7

North America

The biggest Patent 1000 contingents from Canada, California, New York, Texas and Washington DC

Smart & Biggar and Gowling WLG – two elite Canadian firms with all-around IP offerings – each propelled 20 or more practitioners into the Patent 1000 this year. Finnegan’s DC area practice has become a seedbed of talent, with 26 individuals included in the 2021 rankings. The top California contingent of Patent 1000 representatives is led by Fenwick & West LLP, where Rajiv Patel is IP chair and Michael Sacksteder heads the litigation practice. Fish & Richardson’s strong Texas presence is a key driver behind its national prominence, while Quinn Emmanuel’s national litigation co-chair Edward DeFranco highlights a New York-leading complement of 10 ranked individuals.

Figure 11. Canada

FirmRanked individuals
Smart & Biggar21
Gowling WLG20
Bereskin & Parr LLP17
Borden Ladner Gervais LLP17

Figure 12. US: California

FirmRanked individuals
Fenwick & West LLP20
Knobbe Martens17
Morrison & Foerster LLP12
Fish & Richardson10
Perkins Coie LLP10

Figure 13. US: DC Area

FirmRanked individuals
Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP26
Fish & Richardson17
Sterne Kessler Goldstein & Fox PLLC16
Latham & Watkins LLP10
Rothwell, Figg, Ernst & Manbeck, PC10

Figure 14. US: New York

FirmRanked individuals
Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP10
Desmarais LLP9
Leason Ellis LLP9
Venable LLP8

Figure 15. US: Texas

FirmRanked individuals
Fish & Richardson11
Baker Botts LLP10
Haynes and Boone LLP8
Norton Rose Fulbright9
Thompson & Knight LLP6

Rest of World

The biggest Patent 1000 contingents from Brazil, Mexico, Russia, South Africa and Turkey

Five firms from Brazil saw five or more individuals recognised in the Patent 1000, a testament to the depth of the legal market in South America’s patent hotspot. Turkey is a jurisdiction where two firms stand above the rest, making them a training ground for the country’s IP talent – founder Mehmet Gün leads seven Gün + Partners practitioners named in the guide this year. In South Africa, Adams & Adams’ strength is on display, with 13 of the firm’s patent experts earning inclusion. Dominant prosecution firm Gorodissky & Partners, where Yury Kuznetsov helms the patent practice, stands out in Russia. Sergio Olivares Jr and Javier Uhthoff-Orive captain Mexico’s two biggest delegations in this year’s issue.

Figure 16. Brazil

FirmRanked individuals
Dannemann Siemsen9
Kasznar Leonardos7
Gusmão & Labrunie6
Daniel Law5
Montaury Pimenta, Machado & Vieira de Mello5

Figure 17. Mexico

FirmRanked individuals
Uhthoff, Gómez Vega & Uhthoff SC4
Becerril Coca & Becerril SC3
Clarke Modet3

Figure 18. Russia

FirmRanked individuals
Gorodissky & Partners7
Baker McKenzie5
Gowling WLG4

Figure 19. South Africa

FirmRanked individuals
Adams & Adams13
Spoor & Fisher10
Von Seidels7

Figure 20. Turkey

FirmRanked individuals
Gün + Partners7
Deriş Patents and Trademarks Agency6

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