India

The Indian trademark office finally tackled its substantial backlog with a controversial decision that saw the abandonment of 166,771 trademark applications in March 2016, just before the end of the financial year. The move aimed to increase the office’s speed and efficiency, but in practice numerous applications were incorrectly and unjustifiably dismissed. Despite the good intentions behind the decision, the general consensus is that idea and execution were both poor and unfair to many rights holders. However, some have regarded the move as something of a wake-up call for complacent applicants. On a more positive note, practitioners have warmly welcomed the introduction of new commercial courts. Operating under strict timeframes, the courts are expected to reduce the caseloads of other venues and streamline administrative proceedings, allowing more time and attention to be spent on important IP cases.

Firms: enforcement and litigation

1
K&S Partners
Remfry & Sagar
Saikrishna & Associates
2
Inttl Advocare
Lall Lahiri & Salhotra
WS Kane & Co
ZeusIP Advocates
3
Fidus Law Chambers
Legasis
RNA, IP Attorneys

Firms: prosecution and strategy

H
Chadha & Chadha Intellectual Property Law Firm
De Penning & De Penning
DP Ahuja & Co
K&S Partners
Khaitan & Co
Lall Lahiri & Salhotra
Remfry & Sagar
ZeusIP Advocates
Reigning over the Indian IP market, Anand and Anand unquestionably sets the gold standard. “It provides solutions in all aspects of IP law, but is especially well versed in the media and entertainment, information technology and e-commerce sectors.” It serves a host of big-name multinationals and there is no doubt as to the quality of its work. Widely respected for his extensive skill set and affability, “high-flying performer” Pravin Anand’s name resounds across the community. He is “an expert in all manner of enforcement and litigation”, and has helped to mould the Indian legal landscape. Safir Anand heads the trademark and commercial IP department. The trusted adviser to a plethora of Fortune 500 companies, the “prosecution and strategy specialist” can swiftly remedy any non-contentious woes.
Chadha & Chadha Intellectual Property Law Firm
With an A-to-Z offering across the IP spectrum, Chadha & Chadha enters the WTR 1000 this year with panache. While most highly regarded for its patent practice, the trademark department has also chalked up numerous successes of late. The New Delhi-based outfit has nine branch offices and is fully equipped to cater to the diverse needs of both domestic and overseas clients, ranging from start-ups to sprawling corporates. With several noteworthy courtroom victories to its name and a sterling track record in prosecution, the branding unit deftly spans the contentious/non-contentious divide.
De Penning & De Penning
The oldest IP firm in the country, De Penning & De Penning has cultivated “real expertise in trademarks, designs and copyright” over its 150 years in business and boasts a particularly deep pool of prosecution know-how. It runs an efficient, high-volume filing operation and also provides top-notch counsel – not least thanks to the presence of “brilliant strategist” Malavika Vikram.
DP Ahuja & Co
DP Ahuja & Co is an adept regional player with an imposing presence in eastern India. The boutique impresses businesses near and far with its astute portfolio management and repeatedly attracts high-level instructions from international titans of the branding world. Samaresh Chakraborty is the main contact.
Fidus Law Chambers
Fidus Law Chambers’ compact size belies its proficiency and broad capabilities in the IP domain. The firm is the brainchild of Shwetasree Majumder, a nimble practitioner who maintains a tight grip on sizeable portfolios and diligently enforces clients’ rights across borders. She is an equally reliable ally for Indian and international brand owners.
Inttl Advocare
Singled out for its flair for enforcement and litigation, Inttl Advocare is a staunch defender of clients’ intangible assets. “Although it may not match the size of some of the larger firms, its work product is nevertheless extremely strong.” Its New Delhi headquarters can draw on a well of talent and resources spread across its nationwide network, allowing it to assemble bespoke, highly specialised teams to tackle any branding conundrums that arise. Having practised in the discipline for over three decades and served as lead counsel in many landmark IP cases during that time, founding partner Hemant Singh is both an “excellent” and highly respected practitioner.
K&S Partners
Best known for its contentious prowess, K&S Partners has secured favourable results in ground-breaking cases for domestic and foreign power players alike. However, it is also a prolific filer and dispatches prosecution briefs with verve. It frequently advises household names, but is always ready to meet the needs of local rights holders, too, with a handful of strategically located posts across the country. Rajendra Kumar is an authority on geographical indications.
Khaitan & Co
As one of India’s oldest full-service outfits, Khaitan & Co has a wide-ranging knowledge base that its stalwart trademark group can call on at a moment’s notice, to provide holistic IP solutions to patrons’ branding conundrums. Although the “whole team is excellent”, the “meticulous, conscientious, proactive and commercially astute” Shailendra Bhandare stands out. “His professionalism is second to none and he is without doubt one of the most reliable contacts in India, which is not an easy market to shine in.” Krishna & Saurastri Associates is “a strong IP firm that is adept at both contentious and non-contentious matters”. The trademark squad shines brightest on multifaceted litigation, but it also offers sage counsel; a close relationship with the firm’s corporate practice gives its advice a polished commercial edge. Name partners Sunil Krishna and Manish Saurastri are the cornerstones of the brand protection unit. Krishna possesses “deep prosecution experience”, while Saurastri “excels in litigation matters”. The on-point, on-budget counsel of Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan is infused with complementary insight from the firm’s potent corporate and tax departments, making the firm a preferred choice for rights holders with complex commercial concerns. Its ability to get immediately to the heart of any problem resonates particularly strongly with global conglomerates. Those seeking assistance would do well to reach out to Parthasarathy R.
Lall Lahiri & Salhotra
“Lall Lahiri & Salhotra is extremely responsive and for both prosecution and opposition work, it gives advice that is well constructed and easily understandable. For the level of service that it provides, its fees are very reasonable, too.” With industry expertise that cuts across the board, the firm proves an able running mate for a diverse range of brand owners. Under the watchful eye of dynamic strategist and managing partner Rahul Chaudhry, the firm continues to ascend to new heights. Anuradha Salhotra provides valiant support in these efforts; she is an excellent first port of call for disputes and has fronted several headline-grabbing cases. Rounding off the set is prosecution and transactions maven Veena Poolakal.
Legasis
Bustling boutique Legasis is an attractive one-stop shop for clients hailing from around the world. Assiduously covering the trademark spectrum, it is applauded for its speedy response times; an associated IT consultancy provides robust administrative support, which also helps to expedite processes. All manner of branding disputes fall under the purview of revered courtroom veteran Mustafa Safiyuddin. LexOrbis’s formidable patent and trademark attorneys have a percipient understanding of the branding issues facing cutting-edge start-ups. With practitioners who are highly active in the International Trademark Association (INTA) and the Asian Patent Attorneys Association, the team is a magnet for myriad global heavyweights, too. Although it provides sterling advice across the board, the progressive boutique wins most laurels for its up-to-the-minute knowledge of the tech and digital markets. Interested parties should seek out co-founder Manisha Singh.
Remfry & Sagar
Having been in operation for close to 200 years, Remfry & Sagar is an Indian IP institution. “It is well versed in everything from trademarks to copyrights, in both prosecution and litigation.” Helming the group is celebrated practitioner Ashwin Julka, whose unparalleled understanding of all things intellectual property ensures that he is never caught off guard. Samta Mehra, too, has wide-ranging expertise in the field, but has a particular flair for assignment and licensing issues. She also inspires confidence with her design and non-traditional mark know-how and previously chaired the INTA Non-traditional Marks Sub-committee. Another adept operator is Devika Mehra, who cuts a dash on the prosecution of geographical indications. Seasoned advocate CA Brijesh is a go-to for heated spats; his contentious nous has seen him pursue complex cases all the way to the Supreme Court. Fellow crack litigator Vishnumohan Rethinam is a cut above the rest when dealing with oppositions and cancellations; he has an affinity for the confluence of soft IP and online issues. A hub of IP excellence, RK Dewan continues to gain momentum and recently opened several new offices, expanding its network to six cities across the country. Domestic titans such as Tata Consultancy Services flock to its doors for cradle-to-grave brand protection – a testament to the consistently high quality of its work. Its finely tuned prosecution leaves no stone unturned, while its contentious firepower allows it to take any dispute by the horns without breaking a sweat. At the top of the totem pole is Mohan Dewan, who has spent over four decades at the IP coalface; from leading anti-counterfeiting actions to shepherding lucrative transactions to close, he has seen and done it all.
RNA, IP Attorneys
RNA, IP Attorneys is home to a host of talented lawyers who make waves in both prosecution and enforcement, but win particularly lavish praise for their anti-counterfeiting and brand management capabilities. The firm has a decidedly international outlook and is a safe pair of hands for foreign businesses keen to tap the Indian market. Ranjan Narula is “a stellar practitioner whose advice is intelligent, timely and pragmatic”.
Saikrishna & Associates
Many high-powered domestic and foreign brand owners entrust Saikrishna & Associates with the protection of their crown-jewel assets – and for good reason. It exudes confidence on contentious mandates: “Extremely responsive and with a high level of expertise in litigation, it delivers positive results in a cost-effective manner.” The firm’s thriving non-contentious practice also receives ringing endorsements. Main man Saikrishna Rajagopal “has acted in some of India’s most significant IP cases and is a name to note”. A favourite of businesses in the media and entertainment industry, Ameet Datta is another force to be reckoned with in the courtroom. The ISO 9001:2008 certified Singh & Associates dispenses incisive counsel to a diverse array of brand owners; with the support of ancillary practice groups such as transaction and tax, it provides big-picture trademark counsel which reflects the commercial realities. “Singh & Associates is very prompt, its analyses are thorough and its drafts are complete. The firm’s ability to solve problems before the Indian IP office is commendable and its assistance is invaluable. If a previous firm has failed to advance the prosecution of a case, Singh & Associates can be relied on to get the case efficiently moving again.” Daizy Chawla chairs the team. The result of a merger between two successful boutiques, Singh & Singh Lall & Sethi now casts a long shadow on the Indian IP landscape. Its sophisticated take on the IP and IT spheres has earned it the loyalty of numerous prestigious global brand owners, including Samsung and Reckitt Benckiser. Its trademark lawyers are “extremely helpful and very knowledgeable of the law, and are great value”. Heading the “really responsive team”, Chander Lall comes “highly recommended for his enforcement and litigation skills”. He has prevailed before the courts in a variety of mission-critical disputes over the last quarter of a century. Despite its compact size, SS Rana & Co punches well above its weight in the trademark ring. Its dynamic, energetic practitioners are the trusted partners of a slew of domestic and international enterprises, which appreciate its holistic approach to brand protection. Managing partner Vikrant Rana wins extensive accolades; “he is quick, practical and possesses a strong grasp of all the key issues”.
WS Kane & Co
A steady stream of successes in the trademark domain sees long-time market player WS Kane & Co ascend to the silver tier this year. “The quality of its lawyers is particularly impressive in the enforcement and defence of IP rights.” What it lacks in quantity, it more than makes up for in quality, and the firm can go toe to toe with the best of them. Feted practitioner Himanshu Kane is an influential figure in the IP community.
ZeusIP Advocates
ZeusIP continues to raise the stakes in the trademark game; continual year-on-year growth has propelled it up the listings this year. Its perceptive advice encompasses everything from prosecution to multi-layered enforcement briefs, and it regularly handles a prodigious amount of outbound work for large international clients and local brand owners alike. “On all sides it is responsive, efficient and performs at a very high level.” Leading light Gunjan Paharia has attracted a fervent following – “she is one of the brightest legal minds I have ever encountered and certainly a lawyer’s lawyer,” enthused one commentator.

Individuals: enforcement and litigation

Pravin Anand - Anand and Anand
Rajendra Kumar - K&S Partners
Chander M Lall - Singh & Singh Lall & Sethi
Saikrishna Rajagopal - Saikrishna & Associates
Mohan Dewan - RK Dewan & Co
Vikram Grover - Groverlaw
Himanshu Kane - WS Kane & Co
Shwetasree Majumder - Fidus Law Chambers
Amarjit Singh - Amarjit & Associates
Ranjan Narula - RNA, IP Attorneys
Mustafa Safiyuddin - Legasis Partners
Anuradha Salhotra - Lall Lahiri & Salhotra
Hemant Singh - Inttl Advocare
CA Brijesh - Remfry & Sagar
Ameet Datta - Saikrishna & Associates
Neel Mason - Mason & Associates
Vikrant Rana - SS Rana & Co
Ajay Sahni - Ajay Sahni & Associates
Manish Saurastri - Krishna & Saurastri Associates LLP
Sushant Singh - Sushant M Singh & Associates

Individuals: prosecution and strategy

Safir Anand - Anand and Anand
Rahul Chaudhry - Lall Lahiri & Salhotra
Ashwin Julka - Remfry & Sagar
Mohan Dewan - RK Dewan & Co
Sunil B Krishna - Krishna & Saurastri Associates LLP
Ranjan Narula - RNA, IP Attorneys
Gunjan Paharia - ZeusIP Advocates
Shailendra Bhandare - Khaitan & Co
Srijoy Das - Archer & Angel Attorneys
Gowree A Gokhale - Nishith Desai Associates
Devika Mehra - Remfry & Sagar
Samta Mehra - Remfry & Sagar
Ranjan Negi - Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas
Anupam Pandey - IPSHRUB
Veena Poolakal - Lall Lahiri & Salhotra
Xerxes Ranina - Neolegal Associates
Vishnumohan Rethinam - Remfry & Sagar
Malavika Vikram - De Penning & De Penning
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Issue 69