Finland

No longer the sick man of Europe, Finland has recorded remarkable economic growth lately. This has been a boon to Finnish IP professionals, who are also benefiting from heightened IP awareness among mid-cap domestic companies. Although the situation is improving, the global financial crisis fuelled intense competition for available work in the Finnish legal market, which diversified partly as a result. A number of new players, offering big-firm expertise but with added flexibility and lower costs, have come on to the scene – most notably Properta Attorneys, Ipriq and Dottir Attorneys.

Firms: enforcement and litigation

1
Borenius Attorneys Ltd
Roschier, Attorneys Ltd
2
Backström & Co
Bird & Bird Attorneys Ltd
Castrén & Snellman Attorneys Ltd
Dittmar & Indrenius
Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP
Krogerus
Properta Attorneys Ltd
Waselius & Wist

Firms: prosecution and strategy

1
Berggren Oy
Roschier, Attorneys Ltd
2
Boco IP
Borenius Attorneys Ltd
Castrén & Snellman Attorney Ltd
Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP
Kolster Oy AB
Krogerus
Papula-Nevinpat
Properta Attorneys Ltd
Backström & Co
Compact but mighty business law ensemble Backström & Co maintains a strong focus on intellectual property and continues to build on its reputation for excellence in the contentious sphere in particular. The man in charge is Peter Backström, whose decades of experience stand him in good stead when the thorniest of issues arise. Second to none in litigation, arbitration and licensing, he commands respect as one of the market’s true luminaries.
Bird & Bird Attorneys Ltd
Bird & Bird’s Finnish squad has all the local IP protection and enforcement expertise you could ever need, but has the additional advantage of a hefty international support package. The team is celebrated for its out-of-the-box thinking and willingness to go the extra mile to execute commercial solutions to brand owners’ trickiest problems. Embodying this approach is head of intellectual property Ella Mikkola. Armed with a George Washington University LLM, Mikkola has a wealth of experience acting for US companies; Monster Energy, for example, recently engaged her on a raft of administrative trademark disputes. She provides a superb service at every stage of the brand lifecycle, and has a particularly deft touch when it comes to IP commercialisation.
Borenius Attorneys Ltd
With its large IP unit, impressive cross-border capabilities and A-to-Z trademark practice, Borenius stands tall in the Finnish and international branding realm. Global household names are quick to take advantage of all that is on offer here; Pernod Ricard, for example, instructs the group on trademark, domain name, marketing, contractual, regulatory and anti-counterfeiting matters. Continuous growth of the prosecution practice is an important ongoing storyline for the team, which manages global portfolios for the likes of top domestic entities Karl Fazer and Kesko with panache. Managing much of this work is the “smart and helpful” Lasse Laaksonen, whose knack for extracting the full potential from a brand has won him countless fans. There has been plenty of action on the contentious front, too; consummate litigator Ben Rapinoja has successfully represented Orifarm in a trademark dispute over the packaging of pharmaceutical products and secured a favourable settlement for client Original Buff in its spat with a Finnish clothing retailer. Meanwhile, anti-counterfeiting maven Åsa Krook has been representing Thane International in an important criminal case concerning the marketing and resale of counterfeit electrical appliances. “Åsa is always at the top of her game and is technically very skilled. She maps out strategies clearly and is fast and precise in her work and communication.” The dexterous all-rounder’s practice is by no means limited to the fight against fakes; she recently advised Valio in an IP-rich sale transaction.
Castrén & Snellman Attorneys Ltd
One top-flight international brand owner places Castrén & Snellman “certainly within the top five among the 30 or so firms I work with across Europe”. “Its team is approachable and quick to respond, offers an excellent service and strikes just the right balance in terms of price and quality.” Having recruited fresh talent and attracted new clients into the fold, the IP group has experienced a fruitful year on both the contentious and non-contentious fronts. The prosecution team has been thriving of late, taking care of Finnish trademark work for a leading global consumer electronics manufacturer and a top oil company, among many others; as a result, the firm makes its first appearance on the WTR 1000 prosecution table for Finland this year. Over on the contentious side, the brilliant Sakari Salonen has successfully represented BMW in a case involving the infringement of the automaker’s Community designs for wheel rims; he has also spearheaded sweeping enforcement work for Crocs. “Sakari has a brilliant understanding of his clients’ businesses and products, and knows how best to direct his enforcement efforts. His trademark subject-matter knowledge is deep, but he always gets straight to the point with practical advice.”
Dittmar & Indrenius
Sophisticated transactional and litigation work has been a staple of Dittmar & Indrenius’s full-service commercial practice in the past year. As testament to the firm’s increasing popularity, much of this has been done for new clients such as Burberry, whose famous trademarks the group brilliantly defended in an action against an online retailer. Not limited to deal making and courtroom jousting, the group has also been busy stewarding portfolios for the likes of Colgate-Palmolive, Veho Group and the Finnish National Rescue Association SPEK. Driving the set to ever-greater heights is Henrik af Ursin, who receives effusive praise from brand owners, foreign associates and domestic peers. “He is very easy to work with and has impressive problem-solving abilities. He stands out because he is business minded to the last and gives brilliant, clear advice in a way that is pragmatic and cost efficient.” Although adept across the gamut of branding issues, he is especially renowned for his enforcement work; he serves as president of the Finnish Anti-counterfeiting Group. “The entire team does a great job”, and others worthy of special mention include Gabrielle Dannberg and Inari Kinnunen. Dannberg is a farsighted IP commercialisation specialist, but also frequently serves as general counsel for companies with limited or no in-house legal resources. Kinnunen dispenses sage, wide-ranging advice that spans the numerous ancillary issues affecting trademarks, providing penetrating insight on marketing, consumer and regulatory law.
Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP
Although it recently took a hit when Kukka Tommila and Hanna-Maija Elo left to start a new firm, Eversheds grew substantially as a result of a merger with IPR Partners and remains a key player on the Finnish IP scene. The firm also recruited former Krogerus IP head Tuukka Airaksinen in September 2017 – a move which significantly bolsters its IP protection, strategy, litigation and domain name practices. Together with its subsidiary Heinonen & Co – which administers some 22,000 registrations in total – the firm provides a comprehensive trademark protection and enforcement service locally; the ensemble’s international reach is also virtually second to none among Finnish law firms. Helming the operation is contentious virtuoso Petteri Häkkänen, an erudite professional with trademark and marketing law textbooks to his name. He recently scored a win for Julius Sämann in an interesting trademark infringement case in which a comedy group used similar marks to Julius Sämann’s WUNDER-BAUM for parody purposes. Together with his Heinonen colleagues, he is also acting for Procter & Gamble to protect and defend many of its famous marks.
Krogerus
“Krogerus is a full-service firm with very strong IP and IT practices; in fact, it is one of the best in these fields and you can totally rely on its assistance. Its IP lawyers are quality operators who have broad legal backgrounds – they understand not only trademark law, but commercial law, too, which is great for a multinational company.” The outfit is no stranger to headline-hitting litigation and has remained at the forefront of important cases over the past year; for example, it has been representing Finnish telecoms entity DNA in a heated multi-jurisdictional dispute concerning the alleged infringement of Deutsche Telekom’s EU magenta colour trademark. Krogerus was also one of the first commercial law firms in Finland to set up a prosecution practice, which continues to flourish; its recent assumption of management duties for Lindström Group’s expansive trademark and domain name portfolio pays testament to this. Sarita Schröder helms the trademark practice with utmost proficiency, as brand owners are more than happy to attest: “As a result of her in-house experience, she has developed a practical and business-oriented way of doing things.”
Properta Attorneys Ltd
A breath of fresh air in the Finnish market, Properta came on to the scene in January 2017. It was established by IP doyennes Hanna-Maija Elo and Kukka Tommila, both of whom come in for resounding praise from all corners of the market: “Hanna-Maija has broad and deep IP knowledge and provides straightforward legal advice around all kinds of issue. She handles difficult matters with the utmost professionalism and also represents excellent value for money.” “Kukka is wonderful – an incredible professional who knows trademark prosecution and enforcement inside out. She is a pleasure to work with and never over-charges for her work.” Elo has protected the marks of adidas for decades; among her domestic clients is Pentik, an interior design retailer whose own-brand products are sold internationally. She was recently elected to the board of the Finnish Anti-counterfeiting Group – her second such stint with the organisation, which she helped to establish – and combines prosecution and enforcement expertise in a compelling package. So, too, does Tommila, who has put in regular appearances – and stunning performances – at the Market Court this past year. Making this a three-lawyer team to be reckoned with is senior counsel Marja Tommila, who has accumulated immense branding wisdom over the course of a career spanning more than 40 years. The new platform allows all three practitioners to move nimbly and render an exceptionally personalised service.
Roschier, Attorneys Ltd
With 40 lawyers and IP specialists operating from offices in Finland and Sweden, Roschier is a Nordic branding powerhouse which sources unhesitatingly label a “market leader”. The depth of its bench means that it can handle any trademark-related task you can throw at it; no matter the question, it serves up creative, commercially attuned solutions. All of the practitioners here are of the highest quality, which is readily apparent from the timbre of the feedback they receive. IP head Rainer Hilli, for example, is lauded as “the best available in Finland”: “He is very attentive to clients and quick to respond, and his advice is great value for money – he is not the kind of lawyer who will produce a 10-page memo (or have an associate do so), when he can give the best advice in a two-line email.” Captain of the marketing and consumer law practice, Mikael Segercrantz is dubbed “a top trademark litigator” by foreign associates. He helps a long list of marquee names – including Nokia, Lego Juris, Eli Lilly, Michael Kors and Caterpillar – to face their counterfeiting woes head-on and beat them. One client relates: “We chose Mikael because we didn’t get practical advice from our previous counsel – Mikael is commercial and to the point with his guidance. He is also someone who is willing to be challenged, which we like.” Steering the brand protection practice with precision is Markku Tuominen, a “highly skilled expert of the utmost professionalism”. Demonstrating his transactional nous, he is acting as counsel for Nokia in connection with its exclusive brand deal with HMD Global, which marks the venerated Finnish enterprise’s return to the mobile device arena. With him on this one is the pragmatic Kaisu Korpua, whose main responsibility is managing global IP portfolios for Finnish listed companies. “She understands very complex business needs and challenges, and can always resolve trademark issues with exceptional out-of-the-box thinking. She is reliable, flexible and always available.”
Waselius & Wist
Respected business law firm Waselius & Wist is highly versatile within the IP space and can obtain, enforce and monetise rights with striking proficiency. However, it is best known for its strategic advisory work and astute handling of heavy-duty trademark infringement cases; the team successfully represented Hardware Group Finland in a rare branding dispute before the Supreme Court recently, in which the Market Court’s previous dismissal of infringement claims brought by Abloy was upheld. Taking the lead on this was Bernt Juthström, who is celebrated for his “clever argumentation and presentation in court”. The hands-on partner cultivates close relationships with clients, whose business needs he understands acutely; his previous stint as senior IP counsel at Nokia certainly helps him in this regard. He draws on a deep well of trademark, marketing law and trade secrets expertise to counsel clients holistically.
Berggren Oy
Berggren’s trademark prosecution practice has flourished for over 80 years, and the firm continues to account for a large share of the Finnish market’s filings. Much more than just a filing shop, however, it works hand in hand with clients to extract maximum commercial value from their rights. With nine offices across the country, the group is never far away, which brings comfort to brand owners. Trademark service manager Paula Sailas diligently caters to the portfolio needs of big-name multinationals, and gives branding agencies and start-ups the pragmatic solutions they are looking for. When trouble brews, the versatile lawyer also has the dispute resolution chops to defend her patrons’ interests to the hilt. Design rights ace Hannu Halmetoja knows how to nip infringements in the bud, and has a knack for finding commercially expedient solutions to any kind of branding conundrum.
Boco IP
“The practitioners at Boco IP are incredibly professional and produce consistently high-quality, error-free work. The team understands clients’ business concerns well, and aligns its service with their needs in respect of costs.” According to one domestic client, it is “clearly the best IP agency in Finland”. Leading the charge is Peter Åkerlund, a masterful strategist who is well attuned to the risk tolerance of those he represents. His practice is a broad church, encompassing search and clearance, prosecution, IP contracts and trademark infringement and opposition proceedings. Elina Heikkilä makes her debut in the WTR 1000 this year on a wave of enthusiastic client endorsements: “Elina is incredibly efficient and reliable, and does everything in her power to support your business.” “She communicates clearly and focuses on all the right things, and is able to adapt her way of working to suit your requirements.” She boasts encyclopaedic knowledge of the trademark laws in multiple jurisdictions, and takes responsibility for Boco IP’s international activities.
Castrén & Snellman Attorney Ltd
One top-flight international brand owner places Castrén & Snellman “certainly within the top five among the 30 or so firms I work with across Europe”. “Its team is approachable and quick to respond, offers an excellent service and strikes just the right balance in terms of price and quality.” Having recruited fresh talent and attracted new clients into the fold, the IP group has experienced a fruitful year on both the contentious and non-contentious fronts. The prosecution team has been thriving of late, taking care of Finnish trademark work for a leading global consumer electronics manufacturer and a top oil company, among many others; as a result, the firm makes its first appearance on the WTR 1000 prosecution table for Finland this year. Over on the contentious side, the brilliant Sakari Salonen has successfully represented BMW in a case involving the infringement of the automaker’s Community designs for wheel rims; he has also spearheaded sweeping enforcement work for Crocs. “Sakari has a brilliant understanding of his clients’ businesses and products, and knows how best to direct his enforcement efforts. His trademark subject-matter knowledge is deep, but he always gets straight to the point with practical advice.”
Kolster Oy AB
Never resting on its laurels, Kolster constantly strives to improve its already outstanding trademark offering. Of late, its China desk has been busy facilitating the conduct of business between Finland and the world’s second-largest economy; while its Kolster Market Watch service, launched in 2016, has been vigilantly monitoring the Finnish market for counterfeit goods. The firm has also bolstered its legal unit, enabling it to take on an increasing amount of enforcement and commercialisation work, and opened a new branch office in Kuopio, thus extending its domestic network to seven outposts. Taking the reins of the trademark team is the highly experienced Joose Kilpimaa, who masterminds incisive strategies to carry the day in Market Court and district court proceedings. The man in charge of Asian affairs is client favourite Jani Kaulo. “Jani has rich experience and outstanding communication skills, and provides a more prompt and practical service than attorneys at other firms. He solves problems quickly and efficiently and follows fee schedules strictly. He seems to work seven days a week.” In addition, he spearheads “the most experienced anti-counterfeiting team in Finland”. Although also fierce in the fight against fakes, Ari-Pekka Launne is best known as the senior brands expert within the IP management and strategic consulting arm of the practice.
Papula-Nevinpat
Papula-Nevinpat’s calling card is its ability to seamlessly protect intellectual property across Eurasia; it has more than 150 specialists ready to deploy in Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Belarus and Uzbekistan, as well as in four bureaux across Finland, where it was established over 40 years ago. Although primarily of relevance in a patent context, the firm also has a branch in Munich. Personifying the breadth of the organisation’s trademark services, key contact Jussi Mikkola tackles registration, commercialisation, anti-counterfeiting, administrative disputes and litigation work – and does it all with alacrity.

Individuals

Henrik af Ursin - Dittmar & Indrenius
Tuukka Airaksinen - Eversheds Sutherland Finland
Hanna-Maija Elo - Properta Attorneys Ltd
Petteri Häkkänen - Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP
Rainer Hilli - Roschier, Attorneys Ltd
Åsa Krook - Borenius Attorneys Ltd
Sakari Salonen - Castrén & Snellman Attorneys Ltd
Markku Tuominen - Roschier, Attorneys Ltd
Peter Backström - Backström & Co
Bernt Juthström - Waselius & Wist
Henri Kaikkonen - Inventio Attorneys Ltd
Jani Kaulo - Kolster Oy Ab
Esa Korkeamäki - HH Partners Attorneys-at-law
Kaisu Korpua - Roschier, Attorneys Ltd
Lasse Laaksonen - Borenius Attorneys Ltd
Ella Mikkola - Bird & Bird Attorneys Ltd
Ben Rapinoja - Borenius Attorneys Ltd
Mikael Segercrantz - Roschier, Attorneys Ltd
Kukka Tommila - Properta Attorneys Ltd
Peter Åkerlund - Boco IP
Gabrielle Dannberg - Dittmar & Indrenius
Hannu Halmetoja - Berggren Oy
Elina Heikkilä - Boco IP
Erkki Holmila - Ipriq Oy
Antti Innanen - Dottir Attorneys
Joose Kilpimaa - Kolster Oy Ab
Inari Kinnunen - Dittmar & Indrenius
Ari-Pekka Launne - Kolster Oy Ab
Jussi Mikkola - Papula-Nevinpat
Paula Sailas - Berggren Oy
Sarita Schröder - Krogerus

Individuals: anti-counterfeiting

Henrik af Ursin - Dittmar & Indrenius
Hanna-Maija Elo - Properta Attorneys Ltd
Bernt Juthström - Waselius & Wist
Jani Kaulo - Kolster Oy Ab
Esa Korkeamäki - HH Partners Attorneys-at-law
Åsa Krook - Borenius Attorneys Ltd
Ella Mikkola - Bird & Bird Attorneys Ltd
Sakari Salonen - Castrén & Snellman Attorneys Ltd

Luminaries

Peter Backström - Backström & Co
Marja Tommila - Properta Attorneys Ltd
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Issue 74