Czech Republic

Trademark practice in the Czech Republic is a picture of stability. Well-established local boutiques remain a dominant force, but major international firms continue to expand their activities and their market shares in the country. Young IP shop Šindelka & Lachmannová has made a splash with brand owners of late and as a result earns its debut in the WTR 1000 this year.

Firms

1
Čermák a spol
Rott, Růžička & Guttmann
Traplova Hakr Kubat Law & Patent Offices
Všetečka Zelený Švorčík Kalenský and Partners
2
Baker McKenzie sro advokátní Kancelář
Bird & Bird sro advokátní Kancelář
Korejzová & Spol
Šindelka & Lachmannová
3
CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang, advokátí, vos
Taylor Wessing
Weinhold Legal
Baker McKenzie sro advokátní Kancelář
In addition to a polished prosecution practice – supported by the firm’s peerless international systems – Baker McKenzie’s Czech Republic outlet dispenses shrewd advice for IP-driven licensing agreements; it also has the resources to tackle demanding cross-border trademark disputes, providing cogent advocacy in judicial and administrative proceedings. The pioneering practice has helped to introduce several key concepts into Czech IP law, including landlord liability for sales of counterfeit products; blocking injunctions for internet IP infringement; and preliminary injunctions for the seizure of fake goods. The driving force behind the team – which is made up of one partner, two associates and three paralegals – is tactical sage and hawkish enforcer Jiří Čermák. “He is an experienced practitioner with a user-friendly approach – responsive, knowledgeable and good humoured. Jiří is also very tech-savvy and a go-to guy for online matters.” At his flank, dynamic protégé lawyer Michal Matějka – who makes his debut in the WTR 1000 – is another dab hand on the intersection of trademark and internet law; he is a prolific domain name enforcer and arbitrator. Together they guard brand rights for many household names, including Unilever, Nokia, LVMH and Google; they have been acting for Calvin Klein and Michael Kors in domain name disputes, too. The team also represents several local brands, such as Walmark, whose worldwide rights it administers, and ČSOB, for which it recently agreed an out-of-court settlement.
Bird & Bird sro advokátní Kancelář
Global IP leader Bird & Bird has enjoyed a meteoric rise in the Czech Republic and as one of the country’s elite trademark practices, it offers guidance on all manner of brand rights problems, but really excels in resolving intractable spats. The firm’s local success is largely due to superb practitioner Vojtěch Chloupek, who epitomises Bird & Bird’s “prompt and flexible, service-minded approach” and “knows how to advise rather than merely to report”. “An astute and intelligent litigator who shows great determination to serve clients’ interests”, he works hand in hand with his overseas colleagues to tackle difficult disputes with poise. Patrons commend his ability to seamlessly coordinate transcontinental instructions: “He works systematically and professionally to resolve difficulties that arise in far-flung jurisdictions.” Also national president of the Licensing Executives Society, Chloupek knows how to extract the optimum commercial value from intangible assets, while ancillary expertise in competition law adds a further string to his bow. He recently enjoyed success for Monster Energy – a client through US IP leader Knobbe Martens – in several Czech opposition proceedings; he has also enforced marks for famous fashion houses Lacoste and Gant. House of Fraser and LinkedIn continue to seek his level-headed counsel.
Čermák a spol
“Certainly number one for trademark work”, exceptional IP boutique Čermák offers an attractive combination of extensive experience and razor-sharp subject knowledge. Its revered experts cooperate closely with talented associates to deliver a consistently top-notch service. One peer enthuses: “Very practical, they go straight to the point and get the job done. You don’t want to be on the opposite side to them.” “Especially good in prosecution”, its well-drilled and reliable team is a force to be reckoned with across the soft-IP lifecycle. “Cutting-edge lawyer” Karel Čermák is the lynchpin of the practice. “Academically excellent, he has incredible legal understanding” and manages multifaceted litigation with consummate ease. He currently presides over the Czech chapter of the International Association for the Protection of Intellectual Property. His colleague Lukáš Lorenc is an accomplished practitioner with particular adroitness in dispute resolution; his knowledge of EU and competition law are also key strengths.
CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang, advokátí, vos
A compelling choice for instructions throughout central and eastern Europe – where it has an office in almost every jurisdiction – CMS Cameron McKenna cuts an impressive figure on the Czech legal landscape. Many of its commercial lawyers have a laser focus on trademarks, which they see from a panoramic business perspective, always providing practical – as well as legal – guidance to their clients. Litigation is the strong suit of the firm’s IP practice and collaborating with international colleagues in the cross-border enforcement of world-famous brands is a particular forte. Leading the line is Tomáš Matějovský, captain of the commercial, regulatory and disputes group. He has an impressive track record in all-encompassing disputes in intellectual property and adjacent fields, having pleaded before the highest Czech and EU courts. His recent highlights include defending EURid against an attempted injunction of its domain name.
Korejzová & Spol
Korejzová covers all angles of brand protection: from farsighted portfolio development to multifaceted enforcement campaigns, it attracts a torrent of instructions from large and small companies alike. Managing the creative and solution-oriented side, Petra de Brantes Korejzová is a versatile IP lawyer best known for upholding rights through the canny use of border measures – a subject on which she is a published thought leader.
Rott, Růžička & Guttmann
A longstanding presence on the Czech marketplace, Rott, Růžička & Guttmann continues to capitalise on the wealth of its experience, remaining at the forefront of national trademark law practice. “Excellent across the board”, the nimble IP set can handle any brand-related issue thrown its way, but has a particular flair for contentious matters – especially anti-counterfeiting briefs. A fierce defender of local innovators, it also enjoys a popular following among other EU, Japanese and US brands that are attracted by the firm’s diligent and pragmatic approach. Crucial allies in complicated must-win cases, Vladimir Rott and Michal Růžička also battle vociferously in the fight against fakes, working hand in glove with customs and police authorities. As the former head of trademarks at the Industrial Property Office, Růžička knows precisely how to get rights granted – and how to uphold them.
Šindelka & Lachmannová
Founded in 2015, thriving boutique Šindelka & Lachmannová has rapidly established itself among the Czech Republic’s elite soft-IP practices; it makes its first appearance in the WTR 1000 this year following effusive praise. Despite the firm’s youth, its name partners have an abundance of experience: Karel Šindelka has 18 years’ specialist practice under his belt and his colleague Eva Lachmannová has been tackling branding issues for more than 11 years. “Responsive, resolute, attentive and goal orientated”, Šindelka is “simply unbeatable in this jurisdiction; things always go smoothly when working with him. He is a pleasure to collaborate with and gives clear answers to clients’ questions.” The duo are lauded for their “cosmopolitan outlook and acute understanding of the needs of global companies. They give practical and decisive advice”. Although a one-stop shop, the firm has a special penchant for clearing the market of imitations – often on behalf of blue-chip fashion and electronics brands – and for executing demanding prosecution projects.
Taylor Wessing
Taylor Wessing demonstrates outstanding commercial nous when providing its complete trademark service; working in close collaboration with colleagues in other departments, its IP specialists know how to make intangible assets serve business objectives. The firm’s IP practice has made huge strides since the arrival of Karin Pomaizlová in late 2015. Steeped in experience from stints at other general service outfits, she is well versed in all aspects of brand protection. She never fails to deliver perceptive advice on portfolio development and shows agility in criminal and civil proceedings against infringers; the regulatory and advertising sage draws on a deep well of ancillary knowledge to boot.
Traplova Hakr Kubat Law & Patent Offices
Incisive insight and client handling with a personal touch are the hallmarks of laser-focused, gold-tier practice Traplova Hakr Kubat’s trademark offering. Utilising a profound understanding of its clients’ enterprises, the firm provides assured brand rights management – from filing to enforcement and monetisation – for local start-ups and transnational corporations. Jana Traplová is a potent advocate when conflicts arise; she exemplifies dexterity in national and EU administrative proceedings, as well as when pleading before the courts; her deft touch in licensing negotiations is another forte.
Všetečka Zelený Švorčík Kalenský and Partners
Superb general service outfit Všetečka Zelený Švorčík Kalenský and Partners has an “excellent IP practice, which is among the most active in the country”. Serving up judicious counsel across the brand rights spectrum, the commercially aware firm has earned an especially glittering reputation in disputes. “A clued-up lawyer with deep experience of trademark infringement”, star performer Michal Havlik is an assiduous anti-counterfeiter and boasts a fine-grained understanding of everything domain name-related. Admitted to the Bar in Slovakia – where the firm has an additional office – as well as the Czech Republic, Havlik shows equal prowess championing his clients’ interests on either side of the border; he is also au fait with the latest developments in EU law.
Weinhold Legal
After joining world-leading professional services provider EY in 2015, Weinhold has enhanced its already impressive IP and commercial law ensemble. It now has a truly global reach and can tap into a vast reservoir of legal, financial and economic expertise; unsurprisingly, the firm is highly revered for its work in trademark-led transactions. Also handling filing and litigation briefs with aplomb, its versatile lawyers are impressively sharp in online issues as well; they are widely celebrated for their work at the intersection of IP and IT law. Martin Lukas heads up the department. With a fast-expanding network of 15 offices across the region, Zivko Mijatovic & Partners is ideal counsel for brands with interests dotted across Central and Eastern Europe; with an outpost in Alicante, it also handles EU trademark matters with ease. The firm’s range of IP services is as comprehensive as its geographical coverage: it executes brilliantly on pan-continental prosecution and litigation mandates. Joanna Szota is the key contact.

Individuals

Jiří Čermák - Baker McKenzie sro advokátní Kancelář
Karel Čermák Jr - Čermák a spol
Vojtěch Chloupek - Bird & Bird sro advokátní Kancelář
Michal Havlík - Všetečka Zelený Švorčík Kalenský and Partners
Vladimir Rott - Rott, Růžička & Guttmann
Michal Růžička - Rott, Růžička & Guttmann
Petra de Brantes Korejzová - Korejzová & Spol
Tereza Hrabáková - Havel, Holásek & Partners sro
Eva Lachmannová - Šindelka & Lachmannová
Lukáš Lorenc - Čermák a spol
Michal Matějka - Baker McKenzie sro advokátní Kancelář
Tomáš Matějovský - CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang, advokátí, vos
Karin Pomaizlová - Taylor Wessing
Karel Šindelka - Šindelka & Lachmannová
Jana Traplová - Traplova Hakr Kubat Law & Patent Offices
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Issue 71