Singapore

As Southeast Asia’s leading IP hub, Singapore is a springboard for many foreign companies into larger but less predictable regional markets; domestic filing numbers are also healthy. Government initiatives have given local small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) a boost; in turn, they are ramping up their brand protection efforts. Though securitisation has been more commonly associated with patents to date, trademarks are increasingly being utilised in this context. The legal market remains rock steady, with boutiques and full-service firms excelling in their respective niches. The recent entry of Davies Collision Cave reflects the growing interest of international players in the jurisdiction; more outfits are expected to follow suit in 2017.

Firms: enforcement and litigation

H
Allen & Gledhill LLP
Baker McKenzie.Wong & Leow
Bird & Bird ATMD LLP
Drew & Napier LLC
Lee & Lee

Firms: prosecution and strategy

1
Allen & Gledhill LLP
Amica Law LLC
Baker McKenzie.Wong & Leow
Bird & Bird ATMD LLP
Drew & Napier LLC
2
Ella Cheong LLC
Lee & Lee
RHTLaw Taylor Wessing LLP
Rodyk & Davidson LLP
WongPartnership LLP
Allen & Gledhill LLP
Allen & Gledhill offers power players seeking representation in Singapore a potent blend of experience and outside-the-box thinking. The IP practice at this corporate firm is some 50 members strong; it covers every corner of the trademark field, from prosecution through transactions to litigation. “It’s amazing that they have optimised every strand of IP service. Usually a firm picks what it’s best at and focuses on that, but Allen & Gledhill is really strong across the board.” Thanks to its business nous, which informs its strategic brand management counsel, it provides the “total package” and is thus a favourite of elite financial institutions. Stanley Lai SC is an unstoppable force in high-stakes courtroom battles and a master of IT matters. He has been busy representing a number of big-name clients in a passing-off action brought by Wasco Engineering. Holding the prosecution reins, Pei Lin Low is prized for her holistic approach and long-term thinking; her client catalogue includes names such as Samsung Electronics, Hitachi Asia, Great Eastern Life and Sharp.
Amica Law LLC
An IP house through and through, Amica Law solves complex trademark puzzles with ease. Its non-contentious offering burns especially brightly; the practitioners here take multinational clients by the hand and guide them through the registration maze across Southeast Asia. One interviewee comments: “The team is wonderful to work with, both in Singapore and in neighbouring countries. It is thorough and has a real understanding of commercial realities.” Even competitors line up to praise portfolio-management whizz Jo-Ann See: “She is a pioneer who has established relationships with firms the world over. She really helped put Singapore on the brand protection map.” Other non-contentious stars are Winnie Tham, whose technical knowledge ensures watertight protection for clients; and transactional don Wilson Wong. The team’s enforcement maestro is Jason Chan – he never loses his cool and has recently been representing Vela Operations Singapore PTE on a matter concerning its medical device trademarks.
Baker McKenzie.Wong & Leow
Corporate behemoth Baker McKenzie epitomises the one-stop shop model, offering every conceivable legal service to its blue-chip clientele. It has long been treasured by US brands moving into the region, but has lately attracted the attentions of many enterprising local entities. Having forged strong ties with the customs authorities and border officials, it is a formidable ally in the fight against fakes and recently conducted complex seizures for Unilever, 3M Innovation and Sanrio. Group head Andy Leck was involved in all three: he has an enviable track record in the courtroom and inspires complete confidence in clients. Ascending to the silver tier, Angeline Lee safeguards sweeping portfolios with a deft touch; with deep licensing and franchising expertise, she “takes complicated contracts and translates them into easy-to-understand reports”.
Bird & Bird ATMD LLP
“Bird & Bird offers the best of both worlds. It has a strong understanding not only of the legal and business environments here, but also of the international network that every client dreams of.” Adroit brand management and high-rolling trademark litigation are just the tip of the iceberg for this stellar full-service firm, which leverages its know-how in corporate fields to provide 360-degree counsel. It is perhaps at its best handling issues surrounding new digital platforms. “Thoughtful long-term thinking” has earned portfolio manager Lorraine Anne Tay a dedicated fanbase. With over 30 years’ experience, Alban Kang is one of the country’s most decorated trademark swordsmen, but is also a dab hand at sewing up commercial transactions. One of Singapore’s oldest law firms, Donaldson & Burkinshaw casts a long shadow on the domestic IP landscape. Consistently placed among the top filers, its 40-strong team has established strong relationships with officials at the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore and knows its procedural rules inside out. No industry is off limits, although pharmaceuticals, fashion and food are particularly happy hunting grounds. Gold-ranked Michelle Ng is fabled for her resolutely commercial focus and devoted client care; whether nurturing portfolios for nascent start-ups or multinationals, she leaves no stone unturned. The battle-hardened Chi Duan Gooi brings sangfroid and eloquence to the courtroom, to superb effect.
Drew & Napier LLC
Full-service Drew & Napier has long proved itself an elite player in the corporate sphere – especially on tax issues. When it comes to IP licensing and franchising, it deploys this expertise to help brand owners reap maximum benefit from their intangible assets. With a crack enforcement team on board, it can also doughtily defend their interests in heated disputes. “The balance in the team is amazing – to be so strong at both ends of the trademark scene is exceptional.” Elite litigator Dedar Singh Gill has over 30 years’ experience, and complementary expertise in copyright and designs. He has recently been representing Petra Foods and Delfi Singapore before the Singapore Court of Appeal. Tony Yeo is another weapon in the team’s contentious arsenal; he is president of the Singapore group of the International Association for the Protection of Intellectual Property. Joining the WTR 1000 for 2017, Siau Wen Lim orchestrates successful anti-counterfeiting raids on behalf of some of the world’s most recognisable brands. Meticulous portfolio manager Cecelia Girvin shores things up on the non-contentious side. Finally, the much-respected Yvonne Tang is an online virtuoso who specialises in recovery claims under the Singapore Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy.
Ella Cheong LLC
Famed boutique Ella Cheong plies its trade at the vanguard of the IP space, safeguarding the marks of prestigious international names and exciting new enterprises alike. “A small company can take whichever rights it has to Ella Cheong and the team will find a way to build them into something robust – even surprising.” Its versatile managing director Kar Liang Soh is as cognisant of the issues at play in the high-tech sector as he is of those arising in consumer retail. Complex portfolio management briefs are meat and drink to cosmopolitan teammate Kevin Wong, who regularly lectures in the field; also admitted as a solicitor in England and Wales, he is a favourite among foreign companies.
Lee & Lee
Founded by Lee Kuan Yew, who went on to become prime minister of Singapore, Lee & Lee is a titan of Singapore’s legal scene. It draws on its commercial nous to hammer out the right results on cross-border transactional engagements and also has a precision prosecution practice – a rarity among full-service firms. Recent highlights include spirited representation of Han’s award-winning restaurant chain in regard to naming rights, and diligent handling of sweeping portfolios owned by Ames Group and Euro Group. The scholarly Tee Jim Tan SC is one of Singapore’s most frequently cited legal authors in trademark cases and a revered name across the continent. Yee Swan Boo runs a tight ship on the prosecution side; while the business-minded Zechariah Chan has sewn up many a lucrative trademark transfer in his time. One of the world’s premier patent and trademark attorney outfits, Marks & Clerk Singapore has the international connections and organisational and strategic acumen to make it a prime pick in the region – especially for UK businesses. The likes of Dyson, InComm and Thomson Reuters are just three famous names in its glittering client roster. Also admitted as an attorney at law in California, Candice Kwok is its beating heart and soul. “I’ve been really impressed with how efficiently Candice works, in regard to both the speed with which she has secured registration for our trademarks, and her responsiveness to general queries,” enthuses one interviewee. “She ensures that the protection is watertight, while considering cost considerations and our broader business needs.”
RHTLaw Taylor Wessing LLP
The trademark division at RHTLaw Taylor Wessing knows what it takes to get signatures on the bottom line of high-rolling licensing and franchising IP deals for the firm’s corporate clients. With an extensive network that includes further member firms in Southeast Asia, South Korea and Taiwan, it is perfectly placed to dispatch cross-border briefs with finesse . A frequent legal commentator in the mainstream media, Jonathan Kok is a familiar name to the business community. The “receptive and responsible” transactional whizz“exhibits in-depth knowledge in a significant range of industries”. Of late, he has been managing Carousell’s expanding portfolio. WTR 1000 newcomer Rizwi Wun is a technology, media and telecoms sage with two decades worth of experience to his name. He is a founding partner and is responsible for the firm’s Korean practice.
Rodyk & Davidson LLP
The formal marriage of Singapore’s oldest law firm, Rodyk, and multinational colossus Dentons in April 2016 has created a hybrid with both unparalleled local expertise and abundant resources. Blue-chips with interests in the region have been relishing this new option; especially prized is the comprehensive transactional nous now on offer. With 25 years’ experience, Ai Ming Lee is a real passing-off pro. She specialises in the telecommunications, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology spheres, and works equally closely with SMEs and multinationals.
WongPartnership LLP
“One of the best and most sophisticated firms for downstream IP work”, WongPartnership is a fabulous choice for those seeking ironclad trademark protection in Singapore. Though it can ably handle all manner of brand protection instructions, it is in its element on complex licensing and franchising matters. With a flair for predicting market trends, Chung Nian Lam is “one of the best commercial IP lawyers in the whole region”. Supplementing his trademark practice with data protection and cybersecurity expertise, internet savant Jeffrey Lim is a “private practitioner who understands what in-house counsel want”.

Individuals: enforcement and litigation

Ai Ming Lee - Rodyk & Davidson LLP
Jason Chan - Amica Law LLC
Cyril Chua - Robinson LLC
Chi Duan Gooi - Donaldson & Burkinshaw LLP
Alban Kang - Bird & Bird ATMD LLP
Stanley Lai SC - Allen & Gledhill LLP
Andy Leck - Baker McKenzie.Wong & Leow
Ravi Ravindran - Ravindran Associates
Siau Wen Lim - Drew & Napier LLC
Dedar Singh Gill - Drew & Napier LLC
Tee Jim Tan SC - Lee & Lee
Tony Yeo - Drew & Napier LLC

Individuals: prosecution and strategy

Michelle SH Ng - Donaldson & Burkinshaw LLP
Jo-Ann See - Amica Law LLC
Lorraine Anne Tay - Bird & Bird ATMD LLP
Winnie Tham - Amica Law LLC
Cecelia Girvin - Drew & Napier LLC
Sheena Jacob - Tan Rajah & Cheah
Kar Liang Soh - Ella Cheong LLC
Candice Kwok - Marks & Clerk Singapore LLP
Margaret Law - Margaret Law Corp
Angeline Lee - Baker McKenzie.Wong & Leow
Pei Lin Low - Allen & Gledhill LLP
Teresa O'Connor - Infinitus Law Corp
Kevin Wong - Ella Cheong LLC
Audrey Yap Su Ming - Yusarn Audrey
Yee Swan Boo - Lee & Lee
Chung Nian Lam - WongPartnership LLP
Jeffrey Lim - WongPartnership LLP
Soo Ling See Tow - Colin Ng & Partners LLP
Yvonne Tang - Drew & Napier LLC
Rizwi Wun - RHTLaw Taylor Wessing LLP

Individuals: transactions

Zechariah JH Chan - Lee & Lee
Sheena Jacob - Tan Rajah & Cheah
Jonathan Kok - RHTLaw Taylor Wessing LLP
Chung Nian Lam - WongPartnership LLP
Margaret Law - Margaret Law Corp
Jeffrey Lim - WongPartnership LLP
Joyce A Tan - Joyce A Tan & Partners
Wilson Wong - Amica Law LLC
Audrey Yap Su Ming - Yusarn Audrey
Close

Register for more free content

  • Read more World Trademark Review blogs and articles
  • Receive the editor's weekly review by email
Register now  
Issue 68