Slovakia

With a young but bustling start-up scene in Bratislava and widespread awareness among local businesses of the importance of protecting IP rights, Slovakia continues to thrive on the filing front. Many promising new entities are receiving investment from abroad or even being swallowed up by multinationals; nifty portfolio management skills and transactional knowledge are therefore widely sought in legal counsel. With long-established local firms and global titans both gunning for mandates, competition is fierce.

Firms

1
Bianchi Malach Tomanova
Brichta & Partners
2
Allen & Overy Bratislava sro
Bird & Bird
Černejová & Hrbek
Fajnorova Bachrata & Partners
Inpartners Group
Rott, Růžička & Guttmann
Taylor Wessing
Allen & Overy Bratislava sro
There are 44 offices around the world flying the Allen & Overy flag. This is a firm that well and truly has the reach and resources required to support brand owners facing cross-border problems. Given the strength of its corporate and M&A practice, it is unsurprising that the trademark team is at its best in the transactional space. However, the service menu stretches from clearance searches to enforcement, and everything is handled with the utmost professionalism and rigour. In Bratislava, the key name is Zuzana Hečko, an internet whizz who has significant experience recovering domain names from cybersquatters. Her business-minded advice immediately puts clients on a sure footing.
Bianchi Malach Tomanova
Bianchi Malach Tomanova is a robust Slovakian outfit with a loyal fan base. It covers the full spectrum of legal services, but is most impressive in the IP space, where its sophisticated, commercially sound counsel continues to win it business. Peter Bianchi and Marcel Baker form the nucleus of the squad. Discerning and meticulous to the last, Bianchi is a regular in proceedings before the Industrial Property Office of the Slovak Republic (IPO SR) and the EU Intellectual Property Office. Another client magnet, Baker is a creative lawyer who knows how to think on his feet; he never lets matters run away from him.
Bird & Bird
Intellectual property has coursed through Bird & Bird’s veins since its founding, and the firm’s commitment to the field shows no signs of letting up. Knowing exactly what makes brand-related counsel constructive – where added value lies – it frames its rigorous technical analysis in the context of wider business concerns and never stops scoping out monetisation opportunities. The IP team in Bratislava is led out of Prague by the extremely capable Vojtech Chloupek.
Brichta & Partners
“When it comes to intellectual property, Brichta & Partners has by far the strongest reputation of any firm in the country. It has a tremendous amount of experience – and that’s something you simply cannot manufacture.” The team’s passion for trademark law shines through in everything it does; refusing to rest on its “pioneering work since the 1990s”, it labours tirelessly to leave new imprints on the country’s case law. Peter Kruzliak and Tatiana Brichtová are two standout members of the practice. Kruzliak complements his first-rate trademark practice with a unique understanding of advertising regulations and is an active member of the enforcement committee at the International Trademark Association. A fluent English, German and Russian speaker, the cosmopolitan Brichtová is a popular choice among foreign entities. She excels in enforcement matters and has a strong track record in organising anti-counterfeiting operations.
Černejová & Hrbek
The loyalty of Černejová & Hrbek’s employees to the firm is striking; all current partners have been working together for 14 years and can therefore practically finish each other’s sentences. This makes for a collegial environment in which information is fluidly shared and second opinions are habitually sought – a recipe that results in excellent long-term brand protection. Thanks to its deep reservoir of commercial knowledge, the team is particularly strong on the transactional side and has handled many major acquisitions of domestic companies by international investors. Peter Stavrovský has a knack for sewing up favourable licensing contracts in no time at all; he never loses sight of the bigger business picture. His teammate Tatiana Žiaková is another M&A sage who serves up sophisticated and resolutely pragmatic counsel, making sure that her clients’ IP rights are never undervalued.
Fajnorova Bachrata & Partners
Fajnorova Bachrata & Partners’ refined sector knowledge and premium, hands-on customer service add up to a robust package. With an offering that runs the gamut from clearance searches and portfolio management to infringement proceedings, it is a stellar one-stop shop for clients’ IP needs. Domain name issues are a notable strength; the set is fluent in all things online. Its inspiring leader Maria Fajnorova is the first port of call for many.
Inpartners Group
A 2002-established network of mutually collaborating independent IP specialists, Inpartners Group is a fine choice for businesses seeking trademark counsel in Slovakia or the Czech Republic. Expertise in domain name, software and geographical indication issues is offered, alongside an impressive knowledge of neighbouring areas such as copyright and unfair competition law. The sharp-witted Romana Záthurecká brings invaluable experience working at the IPO SR to bear on thorny opposition and cancellation proceedings. Eugen Záthurecký has also served at the IPO SR – in his case as director of its legal branch. Under his stewardship, amendments to the Trademark Act were prepared; he thus has an intimate knowledge of its provisions.
Rott, Růžička & Guttmann
Filing international applications under the Madrid System, renewing marks with bespoke IT software and seeking out new ways for rights to be exploited are all in a day’s work for the cosmopolitan and nimble Rott, Růžička & Guttmann. It carries out 200 trademark searches a month in Slovakia and the Czech Republic – to ensure that its clients’ product names will be untouchable – and provides support in an array of languages, including English, German, French, Russian and Japanese. For litigation and anti-counterfeiting assistance, managing director Martin Guttmann is the man to call. When his clients’ IP rights are being infringed, he deploys everything in his vast arsenal to defend them.
Taylor Wessing
Taylor Wessing’s Bratislava office reaps the rewards of the firm’s extensive network – of late, a steady stream of new instructions has been flowing its way from Germany and the United Kingdom, among other jurisdictions. However, it has also been turning heads in the local business community, building up the trademark portfolios of ambitious entities brick by brick. Counting among its ranks arbitrators in the new ‘.sk’ top-level domain name dispute resolution system, it is a force to be reckoned with in the online sphere. Regular communication with officials at the IPO SR keeps it in touch with the latest trends and helps it to effectively predict whether a matter is worth pursuing. The versatile Jan Lazur straddles the contentious/non-contentious divide without breaking a sweat. He has been artfully supporting GA Drilling on strategic matters surrounding its expansion overseas, and representing NATUR-PACK in a lawsuit against its major competitor ENVIPAK; in the latter he obtained a crucial preliminary injunction, prompting ENVIPAK to initiate settlement negotiations. The widely acclaimed Zivko Mijatovic & Partners leverages the resources of its 15-office network to manage expansive trademark portfolios and swiftly put out fires in cross-border conflicts. Clients especially appreciate its provision of a single point of contact – making correspondence simple and frictionless – and its astute handling of multi-jurisdictional matters, adapting arguments that bore fruit in one location for use in another. Spearheading the practice, Joanna Szota is very active in the IP community and a reliable contact.

Individuals

Marcel Baker - Bianchi Malach Tomanova
Peter Bianchi - Bianchi Malach Tomanova
Tatiana Brichtová - Brichta & Partners
Ľuboš Frolkovič - Wolf Theiss
Martin Guttmann - Rott, Růžička & Guttmann
Zuzana Hečko - Allen & Overy Bratislava sro
Tomáš Kamenec - Dedak & Partners
Peter Kruzliak - Brichta & Partners
Jan Lazur - Taylor Wessing
Peter Stavrovský Č - ernejová & Hrbek
Romana Záthurecká - Inpartners Group
Eugen Záthurecký - Inpartners Group
Tatiana Žiaková Č - ernejová & Hrbek
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Issue 71