Estonia

As in other smaller European jurisdictions, the pressures on the Estonian market have intensified as brand owners increasingly eschew national filings in favour of EU trademarks offering protection across 27 different countries. As a result, a higher proportion of instructions now involve contentious matters and local practitioners are pulling out the stops to win the custom of domestic businesses – often small and medium-sized enterprises. As trademark attorneys are permitted to advocate before the courts, agencies can compete on a level playing field with law firms; the listings reflect this, with an even spread of agencies (or ‘patent bureaux’) and full-service outfits represented. The recent break-up of Tark Grunte Sutkiene’s Estonian office has prompted several moves on the market.

Firms: enforcement and litigation

H
AAA Legal Services
COBALT Legal
Derling
GLIMSTEDT
Law Firm VARUL
Patendibüroo TURVAJA OÜ
Raidla Ellex
SORAINEN

Firms: prosecution and strategy

H
AAA Legal Services
INTELS Estonia
LASVET Patendiburoo OU
Patendibüroo KÄOSAAR
Patendibüroo TURVAJA OÜ
Raidla Ellex
SORAINEN
AAA Legal Services
“Among the best agencies and utterly professional in its approach”, AAA Legal Services offers not only precision filing and prosecution, but also one of the most effective enforcement services in Estonia. Trademark and designs specialist Almar Sehver is “very active and experienced, with an encyclopaedic knowledge of case law”; he is an active participant in a number of industry forums, including the European Communities Trademark Association and the International Trademark Association (INTA). The versatile, clued-up Mikas Miniotas dispatches all manner of trademark briefs with a sure hand; a previous stint at the EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) and fluency in English, Lithuanian and Russian make him a favourite for concerns with pan-continental interests.
COBALT Legal
Having absorbed the Tallinn office of Attorneys at Law Borenius, Baltic powerhouse COBALT Legal is now one of the elite players on the Estonian market. Offices in Latvia, Lithuania and Belarus give the firm real influence throughout the region, while membership of LexMundi affords access to an impressive global network of independent law firms. Its highly qualified practitioners – PhDs abound – provide incisive solutions across the trademark spectrum. Viive Kaur is a refined thinker and an astute counsellor when disputes arise, whether at home or further afield. With a perceptive take on trademark issues, Liina Jents brings valuable ancillary know-how in technology, pharmaceuticals regulations and advertising to the table.
Derling
Full-service Derling makes its debut in the WTR 1000 this year, having snapped up many of the specialists who previously worked for Tark Grunte Sutkiene prior to its dissolution. The firm was already a client favourite – recent marketing research conducted by TNS SIFO Prospera revealed that it enjoys one of the highest customer satisfaction ratings of all Estonian firms; this expansion of its capabilities should only enhance its popularity. “Insightful, practical, personable and able to handle the most complex trademark disputes”, Toomas Taube is “a very experienced specialist litigator and anti-counterfeiter, combining outstanding IP knowledge with well-honed courtroom skills”. A staunch defender of the rights of electronics giants such as Sony and Hewlett Packard, he has also been busy handling delicate transactions for AS Liviko, a regional powerhouse in the food and beverage industry.
GLIMSTEDT
Intellectual property is a central pillar at commercial outfit GLIMSTEDT, whose Tallinn-based team provides an A-to-Z trademark service in close collaboration with colleagues in Latvia, Lithuania and across the Baltic Sea in Sweden. With many years of contentious and transactional practice behind him, the silver-tongued Priit Lätt makes a persuasive case for clients both in the courtroom and at the negotiating table. His commercial nous and holistic approach are underpinned by a dual specialism in IP and tax law.
INTELS Estonia
The “expert attorneys” at Intels in Tartu “are farsighted, proactive and client oriented”, providing joined-up counsel across Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Moldova, Lithuania and Latvia. “Very efficient and always ready to go the extra mile to get the right result”, Riina Pärn marries a knack for finding favourable solutions without ending up in court with an encyclopaedic knowledge of case law when disputes go the distance. She is a polished performer before the Estonian Patent Office, the Customs Board, the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), the EUIPO and courts at all levels; she recently prevailed on behalf of one of the world’s largest electronics brands before the Estonian Board of Appeal.
LASVET Patendiburoo OU
LASVET is a well-oiled filing and prosecution machine, whose talented personnel are hailed as “very professional and true specialists”. Problem solver par excellence Villu Pavelts commands respect for his strategic foresight; he formulates a roadmap for each client and views each case through a shrewd tactical prism. With extensive experience in oppositions and litigation, he is a familiar face in Estonian and European courtrooms and trademark offices.
Law Firm VARUL
Marketplace realignments mean that Law Firm VARUL is now the Estonian affiliate of regional big-hitter Tark Grunte Sutkiene. High-stakes disputes are meat and drink to the team’s elite lawyers, who also know what it takes to get transactions closed and licensing agreements inked.
Patendibüroo KÄOSAAR
One of Estonia’s top-flight trademark agencies, KÄOSAAR has long had the prosecution side sewn up, but has latterly expanded its offering to include services which were previously the preserve of the country’s law firms, such as enforcement and monetisation. Formerly a top player at SORAINEN, Indrek Eelmets makes light work of registration, contract drafting, arbitration and litigation involving both trademarks and domain names. “A great adviser, he is the number one referral guy for me,” comments one peer. He recently won a ground-breaking decision in which the infringer was ordered to pay all of its profits to the rights holder, for the first time in Estonian history. Prosecution maven Aivo Arula has honed his skills completing many thousands of trademark searches. The internationally minded Kalev Käosaar has a distinctly cosmopolitan outlook and is ruthless in his pursuit of counterfeiters. The agency’s founding father is Jüri Käosaar, an elder statesman of the IP scene and a talisman for colleagues.
Patendibüroo TURVAJA OÜ
Over a quarter of a century’s distinguished service for brand owners makes TURVAJA one of the country’s most venerable agencies. The firm wins particularly warm plaudits for its robust performances before the EPO and EUIPO, as well as its professional and well-organised registration offering. Prospective international clients will be interested to learn that the firm works with proficiency in five languages: Estonian, English, Russian, German and Finnish. Making things tick, Urmas Kauler is a superb domestic trademark practitioner who provides consistently farsighted, well-informed counsel.
Raidla Ellex
Premier full-service firm Raidla Ellex is distinguished on the market as the only Estonian outfit with a managing partner whose practice is exclusively focused on IP and IT law. The man in question, Ants Nõmper, is a “very strong specialist, superb in enforcement matters and deeply knowledgeable about the pharmaceutical industry, among others”. Having litigated at all levels, he has played a role in many landmark cases, including the first-ever IP dispute to come before the Estonian Supreme Court. Nõmper successfully defended UK boutique Redd Solicitors against a charge of Community trademark infringement and is currently representing pharmaceuticals giant Sandoz in a dispute with GlaxoSmithKline regarding use of the colour purple on asthma products. Working side by side with him is Mari Must, a clear strategic thinker who has played an influential role in shaping the country’s trademark legislation. The versatile trademark attorney operates seamlessly across the contentious/non-contentious divide. The partnership between Nõmper and Must reflects Raidla Ellex’s USP: its emphasis on combining the talents of trademark agents and attorneys at law, who undertake all case preparation in tandem.
SORAINEN
A compelling option for regional and global brand owners, the full-service SORAINEN provides a cradle-to-grave trademark service from offices in all three Baltic states. Kaupo Lepasepp is a prosecution, strategy and transactions sage with a strong background in intellectual property and other facets of commercial law. He advised mega-brand Google in the registration of its CHROME trademark – work which drew upon his nuanced understanding of contracts and acquisitions. His versatility was further demonstrated in his representation of Hilton Worldwide in a number of infringement disputes. EU law buff Carri Ginter heads the litigation and dispute resolution groups; he has masterminded any number of victories in high-profile cases before the Supreme Court and the European Court of Justice. A major recent addition to the team is fellow courtroom whizz Ants Mailend, whose resolutely practical approach is based on a sophisticated understanding of clients’ business priorities. Fluency in English, French, Russian and Finnish ensures sparkling communication with his international clientele.

Individuals: enforcement and litigation

Indrek Eelmets - Patendibüroo KÄOSAAR
Carri Ginter - SORAINEN
Urmas Kauler - Patendibüroo TURVAJA OÜ
Viive Kaur - COBALT Legal
Priit Lätt - GLIMSTEDT
Ants Mailend - SORAINEN
Ants Nõmper - Raidla Ellex
Almar Sehver - AAA Legal Services
Toomas Taube - Derling
Liina Jents - COBALT Legal
Kalev Käosaar - Patendibüroo KÄOSAAR
Mari Must - Raidla Ellex
Riina Pärn - INTELS Estonia

Individuals: prosecution and strategy

Aivo Arula - Patendibüroo KÄOSAAR
Indrek Eelmets - Patendibüroo KÄOSAAR
Kalev Käosaar - Patendibüroo KÄOSAAR
Jüri Käosaar - Patendibüroo KÄOSAAR
Urmas Kauler - Patendibüroo TURVAJA OÜ
Kaupo Lepasepp - SORAINEN
Mikas Miniotas - AAA Legal Services
Mari Must - Raidla Ellex
Riina Pärn - INTELS Estonia
Villu Pavelts - LASVET Patendiburoo OU
Almar Sehver - AAA Legal Services
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Issue 69